The Not So Itsy Wof Spider Went Up the Hole And Stuck Its Head Right OutThe Hole Truth And Nothing But The Hole Truth
Exactly which species our local residents may be, we have no idea. There are a LOT of varieties of these things, and it turns out that getting a positive identification isn’t always that easy. We do think our Wolfie (as we began calling her) is probably a female. In some versions of burrowing wolf spiders, the male generally wanders around hunting all day while the female tends to stay in or near the “home hole”. Wolfie could and did disappear downhole in a flash at the slightest alarm, and she never moved farther than the outside edge of the turret while we were watching and snapping pictures.
Besides being naturally fascinated with her “ugly beauty”, we did want to know if Wolfie was poisonous. The answer: Yes. Furthermore, apparently all true spiders are venomous to one degree or another. One online source indicated that the venom injected in the course of a wolf spider bite will not kill a human being. I beg to differ. The same source indicated likewise for a brown recluse bite, and one of those did long term damage to my wife’s right hand in 1999. Not the level of Death Incarnate associated with a five foot long diamondback rattlesnake, but not a friendly head butt from your favorite kitty cat, either.
The good news is that the wolf-named arachnid is not usually aggressive toward humans. The very good news. One look at just about any relevant photos should be enough to make us want to stay on the good side of our eight-legged brothers and sisters.
Weirdly enough, the entire burrow was seemingly abandoned less than twenty-four hours after our photo sessions were completed. Pam first noticed that she hadn’t seen Wolfie lurking in the entrance to her burrow for some hours. Add a couple hours more, and she had me take a look at the tunnel with my own two eyes. Rather, she had me take a look at where the burrow used to be. It’s undoubtedly still there, but you’d never know it. The entrance has been covered back over with what looks like the same material used to form the original turret. There’s a tiny pinhole remaining, so maybe she is still there but laying eggs or something. Or maybe she’s moved on to another location, closing her house door behind her and locking it against squatters and/or vandalism. I’m not able to snap a shot of that right now because the camera lens drive is jammed and the entire camera nonfunctional, but you wouldn’t see much anyway.
On the other hand, if you do see a perfectly round hole going almost straight down into the ground with a little water dam, a little turret, built up around the entrance, you’ll know what’s going on: Your friendly local wolf silk spinner has decided to hang out in your vicinity for a while.
The Best Shots We Got, Blurry Or Not
Mommy And Babies
Update, July 2010: A friend of ours (who can be found at TinasArk dot com) got some unbelievable photos of a mother wolf spider in the hole with her many babies–who clearly love Mommy!
Not only that, she shared them.