What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Big spiders on my patio
April 24, 2010
I keep running into these spiders. All winter long they wait outside the door for a chance to get in. I have a huge fear of bugs, especially spiders. What is this one and is it harmful? I have children that like to play with bugs and I don’t want them getting hurt.
Scared of Spiders
East Tennessee

Possibly Carolina Wolf Spider

Dear Scared of Spiders,
While many spiders are scary, very few are actually dangerous to humans or pets, unless your pets are cockroaches.  This looks to us like a Carolina Wolf Spider, Hogna carolinensis, based on comparison to a photo posted to BugGuide, though it does not have the orange chelicera that are mentioned as an identifying feature on the BugGuide information page for the species.  Perhaps one of our readers with more skill in the identification of Wolf Spiders will assist in the confirmation of this identification.

Carolina Wolf Spider, we believe

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

3 Responses to Carolina Wolf Spider, we believe

  1. mygsd3 says:

    This does appear yo be the Carolina Wolf Spider which is the largest spider in the U.S., & it seems they all appear to have small differences, I was told by an Entomologist that the eyes are what really describe a Wolf Spider, 2 We live in New England, & have found an unbelievable amount of spiders in our home, outside as well but we live in a heavily wooded area rich in bugs so this is normal, but the scream factor was very high as I don’t like being surprised at 1am in the bathroom! This past year was the “Spider Year”, & found huge Wolf Spiders with babies on their back, dragging egg sacks out of the drain, even a large female that was just over 2″, mostly legs. So we caught her, & decided we’d send her into an Entomologist but a male showed up about 3 nights later, he was very active & about 1″ so we sent him in, alive inside a pill bottle. We were told that the only time we really should worry is when we have many spiders, & toddlers that like to play with them as they can be rough & are at greater risk of being bit when they are. We actually kept the female, & learned she was only afraid of us but when presented with a bug or spider, she ate the spider first every time which is a good thing as there are worse spiders & bugs out there! We actually became somewhat fond of her, & was sad when she died about 6-8 wks later, & felt a little better about them, we’ve always been clean but now we make sure we vacuum everything, move things around in the basement when doing so, & use cleaning products where we don’t want them, no need for toxic bug sprays or exterminators, spiders are extremely sensitive to any chemicals! I’ve seen & heard the Carolina Wolf Spider is more aggressive, & can punch a painful bite but then again, you haven’t been bitten yet, right? As long as they’re outside, & not in, I would follow the advice I was given, it seems to work, & they eat far worse things! Best wishes! :))

    • bugman says:

      Thank you for your extensive comment. We have a slight correction regarding the Carolina Wolf Spider being the largest spider in the U.S. We disagree with that statement. Several spiders that we believe would be considered larger include Tarantulas in the southwest, the Golden Silk Spider in the southeast, the imported Huntsman Spider found in the south and certain Fishing Spiders or Dock Spiders in the northeast that carry the egg sac in the chelicerae or jaws instead of dragging it behind on a silken thread the way the female Wolf Spider transports her egg sac.

  2. Steve says:

    Could this be Tigrosa georgicola? This species gets fairly large, and is generally quite dark overall, with a clear yellow median stripe on the cephalothorax. Hogna carolinensis looks too light colored to me, and it also often has orange chelicerae.

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