Wolf spiders Hogna carolinensis

Availability: These need to be ordered and will be available after spring break.  After you have a cage and supplies, contact Liz (eegraham@life.uiuc.edu) to schedule a pickup time (right after class is convenient). We will provide you with an adult spider and a plastic container. We will also check with you to see that you are familiar with all precautions involved in spider rearing.

A special warning: wolf spiders are extremely active predators that do not take well to handling by humans. When threatened, these spiders can run very fast towards shelter (cracks, crevices, shirt sleeves, etc.) and can easily escape a human handler. In addition, a nervous or threatened spider may bite you. For most people, the results are similar in pain level to a bee sting. However, this spider's venom can cause allergic reactions or necrotic lesions in some people. You may be one of the unlucky few. Don't learn this the hard way. Do not handle your spider with bare hands!

Housing: Provide your wolf spider with a one to two gallon container lined with three inches of loose, slightly moist, potting soil on the bottom. Make sure it is completely enclosed and has a lid! Clear plastic juice containers placed on their sides allow adequate space for the spider and good visibility for observations. Wolf spiders usually dig burrows to hide in during the day and come out to hunt at night. When selecting a place for the cage, keep in mind that spiders are sensitive to vibrations. Keep the cage moderately moist and warm. Spiders should be housed separately to avoid cannibalism.

Food: Wolf spiders require appropriate sized prey items -- the upper limit readily tackled by these predators seems to be any insect about the size of the spider. Wolf spiders will hesitate to attack large prey items and may refuse them outright. Adult wolf spiders will readily attack large insects such as crickets. Add the food item to the cage - the spider will attack it if it is hungry. If the spider does not attack the prey right away, simply leave the prey item in the cage with appropriate food. We often provide our spiders with crickets, which are fed on oranges while in the wolf spider terrarium. Do not try to remove the prey by hand! Use foreceps or a small stick to move prey if necessary. Provide your spider with a small water source so they don't dry out in the low humidity of your apartment.

Notes: Wolf spiders can live over three years. Your spider will probably outlive your project. Keep in mind that we will accept spiders at the end of the rearing period for future use as demonstration specimens.