Do Wolf Spiders Eat Other Spiders? (Cannibalism Evidence)

Wolf spiders will eat smaller spiders. They usually don’t hunt spiders that are of the same size or larger than themselves.

A wolf spider hunts its prey by pouncing and ambushing. If that doesn’t succeed, it will run down its prey and catch it.

The wolf spider will pin down another spider in an attempt to inject its venom into the prey. The venom will paralyze the prey, and the enzymes that are included in the venom will liquefy the smaller spider.

Do Wolf Spiders Eat Other Spiders

Do Wolf Spiders Eat Other Spiders?

Wolf spiders sometimes eat other spiders in their habitat. They will go for smaller spiders in size or spiders that don’t have good defenses against them.

Sometimes, if the opportunity is right, wolf spiders might even go after larger spiders in size. This includes brown recluse spiders and other wolf spiders.

Female wolf spiders might sometimes eat male wolf spiders in an act of sexual cannibalism, which has been confirmed by a study done by the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.

Wolf spiders are opportunistic when they hunt. They like to wait for the right opportunity to strike. They will stay hidden and wait for their chance to attack another animal. This makes them especially effective against smaller spiders and baby spiders, who are not as well protected as larger spiders.

Wolf spiders like to use their strong eyesight when they hunt. This feature gives them a good advantage over many other spiders who don’t have such good eyesight. Thus, they will be unable to detect a lurking wolf spider as easily, so they will become more susceptible to getting eaten by one.

To eat another spider, the wolf spider will use all of its hunting skills. The most important thing for them is patience, which allows them to surprise their prey. Once they strike, they will aim to pin down the spider and inject the venom. This is why they prefer to attack smaller spiders, as they are easier to hold down and paralyze.

Related: A List of Spiders that Eat other Spiders


Do Wolf Spiders Eat Brown Recluse?

Yes, wolf spiders will also eat brown recluse spiders, but that does not happen very often.

The wolf spider grows larger than the brown recluse, which is why they will sometimes attack this species.

A wolf spider might grow to up to 2 inches in size, while a brown recluse might only be 1 inch large. This size discrepancy gives the wolf spider an edge over the brown recluse spider.

However, wolf spiders are reluctant to attack brown recluse spiders, and will only do so in times of urgency and need. 

The first reason they may avoid a brown recluse spider is that the brown recluse has strong defensive mechanisms. They are very good at hiding, so it would be very hard for a wolf spider to spot a brown recluse and stalk it. The brown recluse will typically spend its days hidden behind objects and in darker spots, which makes them harder to see.

The second reason why wolf spiders don’t attack brown recluse spiders as their primary prey is their venom. This venom is potent enough to kill the wolf spider, so if this spider attacks the brown recluse, it has to be very careful not to get bitten. Otherwise, the attack might turn into a disaster for the wolf spider.

Wolf spider attacks on brown recluse spiders are rare. The wolf spider will prefer to attack smaller, baby brown recluses because they don’t have their venom well-developed yet. Rarely, they will go after adult brown recluse spiders if there are no other foods available.

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Do Wolf Spiders Eat Black Widows?

Sometimes, wolf spiders will also attack and eat black widows. But because of the potent venom of the black widow, the wolf spider will prefer other types of food instead.

The venom of the black widow is one of the most potent types of venom out of all spiders. When a black widow attacks another target, the venom that it injects can harm and kill animals that are much larger than the spider itself.

Wolf spiders are also larger than black widows. The black widow might only reach about 1-1.5 inches in size, while the wolf spider will be 2 inches large or even larger. This size advantage allows the wolf spider to attack and pin down the black widow if needed.

However, if a wolf spider decides to attack a black widow spider, it will also need to be careful not to get bitten. That’s why the wolf spider likes to ambush black widows if it attacks them. This will allow them to avoid having the venom injected, which will result in the death of the wolf spider.

As with brown recluses, wolf spiders will only attack and eat black widows if there are no other, easily available foods around.

Related Article: Do Wolf Spiders Make Webs?

Will Wolf Spiders Eat Each Other?

Yes, wolf spiders will eat each other. This happens most often with sexual cannibalism when the female wolf spider eats the male after breeding.

Sexual cannibalism is quite common with many spider species. This phenomenon will usually see the female spider attack and eat the male spider after breeding. The same happens with wolf spiders – however, it doesn’t happen as frequently as it does with other spiders.

Adult wolf spiders might also sometimes attack smaller, baby wolf spiders. They might turn to the baby wolf spiders from another spider lair if there is a food shortage. They will attack the unguarded lair once the guardian wolf spider is not around, which allows them to catch baby wolf spiders easily.

Related Article: What do Wolf Spiders Eat?


Wolf spiders will eat other spiders. They prefer to eat smaller spiders that don’t have the best defenses to cope with their attacks. The wolf spider will pin down the smaller spider to inject the venom, which will paralyze the spider.

Sometimes, the wolf spider might go after the more dangerous spider species such as black widows and brown recluses. However, they will only turn to them if there are no other types of prey around.

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