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What does the wolf spider eat?

Wolf spiders are the arachnids of the wild. They are born hunters. The Wolf spider is not a single type of spider; instead, it consists of multiple species.

Going after their prey has earned them the “Wolf” surname. These species of spiders are very active and will chase their prey, unlike other spiders, which set out a web trap for hunting, or tarantulas which wait for prey to arrive at the doorstep before they attack it to make it their meal.

Wolf spiders are carnivores, and they mainly eat other insects & invertebrates. A large wolf spider may eat a small vertebrate like a reptile or amphibian. It’s more about the opportunity and what comes their way.

Wolf spiders are even seen attacking and eating tiny frogs, reptiles, and palmetto bugs. Wolf spiders generally build burrows in the ground to nest and hunt.

A wolf spider eating a frog

People often feed red runner roaches to pet wolf spiders which they fondly enjoy.

A wild wolf spider is often found preying on the following insects:

  1. Other Spiders. A female spider will even eat a male spider after mating. In extreme food shortage, a mother wolf spider can even eat its spiderlings. Attacking other species of spiders is very common and widely reported.
  2. All types of beetles. Beetles are typically found in grassland, and keep crawling on the ground, making them the main food source for wolf spiders.
  3. Crickets are also among the top source of food for wolf spiders.
  4. Other insects include Ants, earwigs, worms, roaches, etc.

A wolf spider normally jumps on top of its prey and bites it to paralyze it before consuming it.

Before you read further, here is a list of hand-picked books to learn more about the world of spiders and bugs.

Common Spiders of North America by Richard A. Bradley
Common Spiders of North America by Richard A. Bradley
  • Field Reference with technical details
  • Great Illustrations
Spiders: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature
Spiders: Amazing Pictures & Fun Facts on Animals in Nature
  • For Kids 5-7 Years
  • Amazing realistic photos
Field Guide to Insects and Spiders: North America
Field Guide to Insects and Spiders: North America
  • Scientific Details
  • Spiders and other common bugs

How does the wolf spider eat?

Wolf spiders have got excellent eyesight with help of their 8-eyes. This allows them to find their prey when it’s relatively dark.

A wolf spider will first try to understand the nature of its prey. Then, it will try to avoid going after meals that are difficult to catch or may attack back.

Once it’s near its prey, it may try to understand more about it with the help of touch. Once the wolf spider determines it safe to consume it, which it does in a blink of an eye, it will proceed to attack.

A wolf spider will grab its prey using its front two legs, like a quick pounce. After that, the wolf spider will inject venom into it using its fangs to liquefy the internal organs, making it easy for wolf spiders to consume their prey.

Once the prey is dead and ready to be consumed, the wolf spider will use its powerful jaws called chelicerae to cut it down into small pieces.

MYTH ALERT: Spiders only suck Juices out of their prey. FALSE.

The venom will also help make the prey more digestible. Wolf spiders won’t eat dead, dry insects if you keep them as pets.

Here is an excellent video of a wolf spider attacking a cricket after a proper analysis. Also, note how the spider is not consuming the cricket right away.

How often does a wolf spider eat?

A wolf spider usually needs to eat a quarter of its body size daily. If a wolf spider is praying on tiny insects, it will need to eat more often to secure its dietary needs. However, if it’s a large prey, a wolf spider will keep consuming it slowly and may hunt again after a day or two.

If you have a pet wolf spider, you should feed it a quarter of its body size pray every day or half of its body size every two days. To keep your pet spider more active, feed it with tiny insects multiple times a day. It will be a fun activity for both of you.

What does a Baby Wolf Spider Eat? 

Baby wolf spiders pose the same eating habits as adult wolf spiders, except they can’t prey on more giant insects.

Baby wolf spiders will prey on small insects. They will also consume parts of prey already neutralized by the mother spider, which she will offer to her offspring.

Do baby wolf spiders eat their mom?

No, baby wolf spiders don’t eat their moms. However, some species of spiders do pose this behavior but that is more like the mom offering herself to the young rather than the babies attacking their mom.

The mother spider will act like prey in the web, simulating the babies’ attacking instincts. The mother will push herself into the babies to further trigger an attack. Once the babies inject venom into their mom, it will start liquify internally to be consumed by the young ones.

Here is a video of a Lace Weaver Spider being eaten alive by their young ones.

Do wolf spiders eat other spiders?

As discussed earlier, wolf spiders are excellent hunters with strong eyesight. They will hunt other small insects and arachnids, whichever comes into their habitat.

Before I answer if wolf spiders eat other spiders, you should understand how wolf spiders behave together.

If you keep two wolf spiders in a small container, you will find one dead in a day or two. This is because these spiders can not live together in a colony structure.

So, if they can’t live together with their types, attacking another spider to consume it is not a question.

Yes, wolf spiders attack other spiders to consume them, but this does not mean they will always be successful. A wolf spider will even attempt a kill on larger & more venomous spiders resulting in it being consumed itself.

Wolf Spier eating another spider
Wolf Spier eating another spider

However, it will easily overcome small spiders, despite them being more deadly like a brown recluse spiders. But that comes with its risks. So let’s discuss it in more detail.

Do wolf spider eat brown recluse?

Brown recluses are pretty small spiders in comparison to wolf spiders. However, both Brown Recluse and Wolf Spiders are fast, but usually, wolf spiders will eat a brown recluse due to its faster attacking instinct and larger fangs.

Here is a size comparison of a wolf spider and a brown recluse.

Wolf Spider Size

Although the brown recluse spider is more venomous, the larger size of a wolf spider is more advantageous.

Here is a small video of a wolf spider eating down a brown recluse spider.

What does a Carolina wolf spider eat?

Carolina wolf spiders will eat like every other wolf spider. But, since these are the largest wolf spiders in the united states, they can pray on large insects, small invertebrates, and arthropods.

Carolina wolf spiders will hunt down other spiders, grasshoppers, beetles, crickets, flies, worms, etc. These spiders are often seen inhabiting home basements, giving them access to roaches and other pests to hunt.

What does the Kauai Cave Wolf Spider eat?

The Kauai Cave Wolf spider is a little different than other species of wolf spiders. These wolf spiders don’t have eyes and are also known as “No-eyed Wolf Spiders.”

The Kauaiisn’t spiders mostly feed on an endangered species of amphipod known as the Kauai Cave Amphipod. These land hoppers are the primary source of food for Kauai Wolf Spiders.

These species of wolf spiders are also endangered.

Why isn’t my wolf spider eating?

If you have a pet wolf spider and it’s not eating, these are a few possible reasons.

1. Your Wolf Spider is in pre molt phase

Just like other species of spiders, wolf spiders also molt. Although, they will molt only once or twice in their lifetime.

During the pre-molt phase, a wolf spider will stop eating food. This can happen for a month or two, and it’s a normal spidery thing.

So you should not worry if your wolf spider has stopped eating.

2. Your Wolf Spider is preparing to lay down an egg

When a female wolf spider is about to lay down eggs, it can stop eating. This is due to the hormonal changes taking place in its body.

Thit’sider will be back on track after she is done laying down its eggs.

3. Your wolf spider is old

If your wolf spider gets old, it will lose its appetite before its passes out. Wolf spiders have a max life span of 2 years.

So it’s part of a life cycle where the wolf spider will stop consuming food when it’s near the end of its life cycle.

Note that a wolf spider can survive for more than a month without eating and around a week without drinking.

While your wolf spider is not consuming food, it can be found consuming more water in that duration. This is because spiders fulfill their hydration needs from the prey they consume, and they will need little water to survive while they are actively consuming other insects.

Note: If you find your wolf spider not eating, then you should not stop feeding it. Keep feeding it quick and live insects to keep him active. It may start eating again anytime.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can a wolf spider eat a Grasshopper?

Grasshoppers are a group of insects widely found on the ground surfaces with plenty of greenery. Since wolf spiders are widely found across grasslands, grasshoppers are the primary food source for wolf spiders.

Grasshoppers are nutritious, large in size, and fairly easy to hunt down for a wolf spider. However, a Wolf spider will typically wait for them to arrive at the opening of ground burrows they make to hide as they are fast and hard to chase.

2. Do wolf spiders eat fleas?

Wolf spiders will eat fleas if you feed them, but they won’t hunt for them. Wolf spiders won’t look for fleas because they are small and hard to reach as they are hidden in a blanket of the fleece of a mammal. Besides that, the mammals won’t let a spider near them.

Wolf spiders typically prey on quick-moving insects of a reasonable size. However, fleas are slow, tiny, and hard to reach, making them an unattractive meal for a wolf spider.

3. Does a wolf spider eat its young?

Wolf spiders are one of the few species of spiders that provide ultimate parental care to their babies.

A female wolf spider will carry its spiderlings on top of its back for a few weeks before they are strong enough to hunt alone in the wild. So, generally, wolf spiders will not eat their young. However, a mother wolf spider may consume its young in extreme food shortage scenarios—part of a basic survival instinct.

4. Does a wolf spider eat meat?

Spiders, including wolf spiders, don’t have chewing capabilities; instead, they inject venom inside their prey which will liquefy them internally. This helps digest its prey.

Besides that, the moment of its prey will trigger a wolf spider’s attacking instinct, which helps them transition into feeding mode.

Feeding raw meat to a wolf spider won’t trigger these scenarios, and it will be hard for them to eat it. So, just throwing small pieces of meat at a wolf spider won’t work, and your pet wolf spider will not eat it.

However, you can try feeding a pinch via a pair of tweezers while making it look like it is moving to trigger its attack mode. You can also hang it with a thin thread and feed it like bait.

5. Does a wolf spider eat while carrying an egg sac?

A mother wolf spider will eat while it is carrying an egg sac. However, it can show aggressive behavior during that period. In rare cases, a moth wolf spider can stop eating or consume very little while carrying an egg sac. A wolf spider can survive up to a month without eating.

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