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What do Wolf Spiders Eat? (These 7 Animals)

Wolf spiders prefer to eat insects such as flies, mosquitoes, crickets, cockroaches, and other smaller insects. They also eat other invertebrates such as ants. Larger wolf spiders are capable of eating reptiles and amphibians including frogs and lizards.

what do wolf spiders eat

The diet of the wolf spider will also depend on the size of the spider. Female wolf spiders can catch larger prey because of their size, while males might only be able to eat insects. Wolf spiders prefer to mash up their prey into a ball and inject venom to create a more palatable meal.

These are the most common foods that wolf spiders eat.

Foods that Wolf Spiders Eat

1. Flies

Flies are the most popular type of meal for wolf spiders. The most important reason for this is the relatively easy availability of flies in the habitat of a wolf spider.

Wolf spiders have a very diverse habitat. They’re found in grasslands, wooden areas, but also near water sources, which is where flies prefer to live as well. This spider species will hunt flies by catching them, so they need to have fast reflexes and good eyesight to catch flies.

2. Ants

Wolf spiders like to catch ants because they’re not as hard to catch as flies, for example. Ants can be found on the ground, which makes it an easy type of prey for wolf spiders.

Wolf spiders are one of the fastest spider species out there. Their unique hunting style resembles closely the style of a wolf, which is where they got their name from.

They prefer to ambush their prey and surprise it. If needed, the wolf spider will chase down the prey with its fast movement, which is what often happens when they go after ants.

3. Mosquitoes

Yes, wolf spiders will also eat mosquitoes, although not as often as other types of insects.

The primary reason for this is because some mosquito species move around quite fast, making it slightly tougher for the wolf spider to catch them. Remember, most wolf spider species don’t create webs, which makes it especially tougher for them to catch flying species.

The most important technique for hunting down mosquitoes is using the element of surprise. A wolf spider will wait patiently for a mosquito to fly by before pouncing on it.

4. Crickets

Crickets are nocturnal animals that hide in grass and between rocks. They don’t have the strongest defences in the world, so they need to bury themselves in the ground to help them find some cover – but even that will not be effective sometimes.

Wolf spiders are very good at finding these cricket burrows. They’re also prepared to wait for several minutes or even hours outside a burrow like that before they can pounce. Crickets make for an easy and nutritious meal for wolf spiders.

5. Grasshoppers

Even though grasshoppers can jump pretty high, they are also not very good at defending themselves against other predators.

They’re ground-dwelling animals as they spend most of the time on the ground. But wolf spiders need to be meticulous in their pursuit of grasshoppers because if this insect suspects the wolf spider is trying to capture it, it will jump away.

Grasshoppers are also good at camouflaging themselves, which might make it slightly harder for wolf spiders to get them. However, if the spider can surprise the grasshopper, it is one of the favourite meals for the wolf spider.

6. Cockroaches

A cockroach is another popular type of food for wolf spiders. Wolf spiders are very good at controlling cockroach populations, and some pest control experts even argue that wolf spiders might be used for exterminating cockroaches in your home.

The primary reason why wolf spiders are so effective in hunting cockroaches is that they’re much faster and agile than these insects. Cockroaches often have primitive defenses that are simply not powerful enough for wolf spiders.

They also don’t have the best decision-making skills, so they might get themselves into trouble when they don’t need to, while the wolf spider is superior intellectually to a cockroach.

7. Reptiles and Amphibians

Now, the majority of wolf spiders like to rely on insects for food, which can be especially true for male wolf spiders. However, males tend to be smaller than female wolf spiders, which means that females might be able to go after larger species.

Sometimes, females will hunt reptiles and amphibians as well. They’re capable of hunting animals that are several times larger than them, which is mainly thanks to their powerful venom that will cripple the larger animal.

The primary mechanism for capturing these larger animals will also be ambushing. Wolf spiders will either dig deep holes near the living areas of these animals or ambush them on the ground and inject venom as quickly as possible.

Some of the most common larger animals that wolf spiders hunt include:

  • Frogs
  • Lizards

Now, which animals wolf spiders hunt will also depend on the habitat. Some frogs might be abundant in the habitat of wolf spiders while others might not be available at all or rarely.

Related: Are Spiders Predators?

FAQ

Do wolf spiders eat their young?

Wolf spiders will sometimes eat their young, which has been confirmed by studies done by scientists. However, it is still not very clear why wolf spiders will do this. The most probable reason for this is a lack of other food sources around them.

Do wolf spiders eat their mates?

Female wolf spiders will sometimes consume their male mates, but it will predominantly happen with smaller male spiders. If the male mate is relatively large, then the female wolf spider will not consume the mate. However, if the male is smaller, then the likelihood of the female consuming the mate increases significantly.

Do wolf spiders eat brown recluses?

No, wolf spiders will not eat brown recluse spiders. That’s because brown recluses are more potent than wolf spiders. The opposite will often happen – brown recluses will sometimes prey on wolf spiders.

Conclusion

Wolf spiders are adaptable creatures in terms of their diet. Their preferred type of food are insects of all types, but particularly the insects that can be caught with relative ease. Wolf spiders are one of the best spider predators around.

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