Do Wolf Spiders Jump or Swim?

Written by Jeremiah Wright
Published: November 21, 2022
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You probably already know that wolf spiders rely on their running and hunting skills rather than spinning webs to catch prey. But do they only run, or can they also jump? Moreover, will a wolf spider jump at humans? What about swimming? Can they survive underwater? We’ve found the answers!

What Are Wolf Spiders?

Wolf Spider, Animal, Animals Hunting, Arachnid, Arachnophobia

Wolf spiders are scientifically called



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Wolf spiders are scientifically called Lycosidae spiders. They are relatively small spiders, having an average body length of 0.4-1.38 inches. The Carolina wolf spider (Hogna carolinensis) is scientifically considered the largest spider in the family, reaching up to 1.5 inches in body length. However, some other species reach similar sizes, too. 

These arachnids have brown bodies with various patterns involving light brown, dark brown, and black. They have long legs that help them attain a considerable running speed and excellent eyesight that facilitates hunting and predation. Their keen eyesight is linked to the eight eyes arranged in three rows.

Wolf spiders are called this way because they’ve evolved so much that they don’t depend on spinning webs to catch prey! They prefer chasing the prey or ambushing it from the mouths of their burrows.

Another interesting wolf spider characteristic is the way females carry the egg sacs. They attach them to their abdomens and carry them around, keeping the abdomens raised so as not to drag the sacs on the ground.

Do Wolf Spiders Jump?

Yes, wolf spiders can jump. If they chase or ambush prey, they’ll pounce on it, meaning jumping on the insect. Afterward, they hold the prey with their legs, bite it, and inject their venom. They can even roll the prey into a ball and swallow it whole. However, if you asked us how far wolf spiders can jump, we wouldn’t be able to provide a 100% accurate answer, as this depends on the species and how large the spider is.

Moreover, some wolf spider species may jump during ballooning, a kind of aerial dispersal where the spider climbs something, releases a web into the air, and is carried by the wind for long distances. You’re probably wondering if wolf spiders do this, as they don’t usually spin webs. Well, the truth is, there’s no way to find out. It would be impossible to learn everything about the almost 3,000 wolf spider species, but we’re almost sure at least one is fond of ballooning!

Do Wolf Spiders Swim?

Tiger Wolf Spider

The hairs on wolf spiders’ legs and bodies help them float and move in the water.


Yes, wolf spiders swim! The hairs on their legs and bodies help them float and move in the water. However, they aren’t as good at swimming as they are at jumping! They can only survive under the water for a few seconds. On the other hand, they swim just fine above the water. A study even shows that Lycosa singoriensis wolf spiders can continuously swim for seven days!

You’re probably wondering if wolf spiders can drown, right?! Well, even if they don’t have lungs similar to people’s, they have what scientists call “book lungs,” which still need a constant supply of oxygen to function properly. That’s why wolf spiders won’t choose to swim when they have the option not to. Moreover, wolf spiders probably won’t swim too far, even if they go into the water, as they’re pretty small.

But again, there’s still no scientific confirmation for these statements. These are just deductions based on their physical characteristics.

Will a Wolf Spider Jump at You?

rabid wolf spider

Wolf spiders are excellent runners and jumpers.

©Brett Hondow/

As we’ve already established, wolf spiders are excellent runners and jumpers. However, if they stumble upon humans, their first reaction will be neither jumping nor biting. In fact, these spiders are shy creatures that prefer running away rather than confronting people. They may only jump if they feel cornered or threatened. Moreover, since they are nocturnal creatures, they only come out at night, so the chances of a wolf spider jumping at you are extremely low.

Even if, by any chance, a wolf spider jumps at you and bites you, there’s no need to worry, as wolf spider venom is too mild to harm humans. The bite can only cause mild pain, itching, and swelling that should pass within a few days. However, some people may develop allergic reactions or get secondary infections. In these cases, they have to seek immediate medical attention.

What Is the Fastest Moving Spider?

Some sources state that the fastest-running spiders are those in the Solifugae family. They are called camel spiders, sun spiders, solifuges, and wind scorpions. These spiders are larger than other arachnids, reaching 5 – 6 inches in length, including legs. They are believed to reach a speed of 10 miles per hour, almost half the speed of the fastest human sprinter.

Other sources say that the fastest-running spiders are Moroccan flic-flac spiders, also called cartwheeling spiders. Their scientific name is Cebrennus rechenbergi, and they are part of the Sparassidae family. Research shows that cartwheeling spiders can double their walking speed if they feel threatened. They use their forward and backward flips in movements that resemble flic-flac movements in acrobatics. These arachnids can reach around 4.5 miles per hour.

Another fast-running spider is the giant house spider in the Agelenidae family. It is said to achieve speeds of up to 1.2 miles per hour.

Compared to camel spiders and flic-flac spiders, wolf spiders run pretty slowly. However, if we were to compare them with giant house spiders listed in many lists as reaching top speeds among spiders, we’d say wolf spiders are much better! Their maximum speed is around 1.36 miles per hour!

However, considering the world’s hundreds of thousands of spider species, we can only guess which one’s the fastest! People will never know what lives in our planet’s deep forests and other ecosystems!

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Katarina Christenson/

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About the Author

I hold seven years of professional experience in the content world, focusing on nature, and wildlife. Asides from writing, I enjoy surfing the internet and listening to music.

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