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Wolf Spider vs House Spider – Similarities & Differences

The wolf spider is hairier than a house spider, and it is usually much larger than the domestic house spider as well. The wolf spider can reach sizes of up to 35 millimetres, while the house spider can only reach the size of about 11 millimetres at most.

Wolf Spider vs House Spider

These two species are often mistaken because they’re some of the most common species that enter our homes.

Wolf SpiderHouse Spider
Scientific NameLycosidaeTegenaria domestica
ColorGrey, Black, or Brown with dark stripes on abdomen Grey, Black, or Brown with dark stripes on abdomen
DietMostly insects Mostly insects
SizeUp to 35mmUp to 11mm
HairVisible hair on bodyLittle visible hair
WebRarely uses webs at allLarge Funnel Webs
Hunting AbilityActive hunter / stalkerPassive hunter / trapper
VenomWeak venom – not dangerous to humans Weak venom – not dangerous to humans

Disclaimer: This is information for entertainment and educational purposes only. Do not approach a wild animal and keep your distance. Only professionals should handle wild animals. Seek professional help immediately if you have been bitten or otherwise harmedConsult your local wildlife authority for the right advice for your situation and locality.

Let’s compare wolf spiders to house spiders and look at their similarities and differences.

Similarities

Let’s first take a look at some of the similarities between the wolf spider and the house spider.

1. Color

Firstly, you might commonly mistake the wolf spider and the common house spider because of their similar colors. They are often grey, black, brown, or a combination of those colors, which can make them difficult to distinguish between.

Both species share similar markings and stripes on their abdomen. Usually, these stripes are black or brown on a slightly lighter-colored body.

At first sight when you look at the colors, you might even mistake the two spiders.

wolf spider
Image: Wolf spiders and house spiders look remarkably similar.

2. Habitat

Secondly, both of these spiders are hiders. They will wait for their prey will staying as hidden as possible, because they both use ambushing to great extent.

The wolf spider, in particular, is one of the best hunting spiders in the world, as it hunts at night with its excellent eyesight.

Common house spiders (Tegenaria Domestica) like to hide under furniture and in corners of your home, too. It is quite a shy spider and once it spots you, it will try to run away as quickly as possible.

3. Diet

Wolf spiders and house spiders share a similar diet. They both feed on insects and other smaller bugs and animals they might find in their habitat. However, they have different hunting techniques.

Differences

So now that you’ve seen the similarities between the two species, let’s take a look at the main differences.

1. Size

Wolf spiders are significantly larger than the common house spider.

The wolf spider can grow to up to 35mm in size, while the common house spider will only grow to about 11mm. If you don’t know what spider you’re looking at, if the spider is larger than a nickel, then you’re probably looking at a wolf spider.

2. Hairs

Another notable difference between the two is also that the wolf spider has much more hairs than the common house spider. It will use these hairs to sense its surroundings and get a better sense of its prey, while the common house spider doesn’t have this feature.

The Tegenaria Domestica, on the other hand, is far more reliant on its web. It will use the web to capture its prey but also to sense if there are other animals out there.

3. Web-Making

The common house spider, or the Tegenaria, is sometimes also called the barn funnel-weaver because of its ability to create large funnel webs. These webs are used to attract the prey and suck it into the funnel, after which the spider will apply its venom to kill the prey.

On the other hand, the wolf spider will make little to no webs at all. It will not use webs for hunting, because it will rather rely on its ambushing skills and its excellent eyesight. 

Despite that, the wolf spider might still make some silk structures around its habitat. It will use these structures to protect its home and to make the environment friendlier for the spider to go around.

4. Hunting Technique

The hunting technique is another difference between the two that is closely related to the web-making capacity of the two spiders.

Namely, the wolf spider will not use its web to hunt its prey, while the common house spider will rely on its webs quite heavily. That’s because the funnel web is effective at capturing the prey, which will trigger the spider’s senses and cause it to strike the prey and kill it.

The wolf spider, on the other hand, has excellent eyesight and it will also use its hairs and its exceptional agility to hunt. Wolf spiders can also see at night, allowing them to hunt at dusk and be at their most active at that time.

Which is More Venomous?

Both wolf spiders and common house spiders carry venom, but neither species’ venom is potent enough to pose any threat to humans.

Both species will use their venom to hunt their prey, which is mostly insects and other smaller bugs and animals. For that reason, the venom doesn’t need to be very potent to kill the prey, so it will not cause a great deal of damage to humans.

None of these two are particularly dangerous to use because they like to hide from us and avoid us, but they also don’t have potent venoms. You’ll find both in hidden corners of your home.

Both animals are also quite shy and will run away from you if they spot you. So if you spot a common house spider or a wolf spider in your home, you don’t need to panic, because both of these spiders are not particularly dangerous to humans.

Conclusion

The wolf spider and the common house spider can be quite similar at first sight, mainly because they have similar colors on their bodies. However, if you analyze the two closely, you’ll see that there are some differences between them.

The wolf spider is larger and it doesn’t make funnel webs like the common house spider. Also, the wolf spider has more hairs on its body when compared to the common house spider.

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