Wolf spiders are common household arachnids that can occasionally find their way into bedrooms. If you’ve ever woken up with an itchy, red bump, you may have wondered – can a wolf spider bite me while I’m sleeping?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Wolf spiders can and do sometimes bite sleeping humans, but it is quite rare. They are not aggressive and prefer to flee rather than bite.

In this comprehensive article, we will look at wolf spider behavior, the likelihood of being bitten in your sleep, what to do if you find one in your bedroom, and how to discourage them from entering your home in the first place.

Wolf Spider Behavior

Hunting Habits

Wolf spiders are formidable hunters with excellent eyesight. They do not spin webs to catch prey like many other spiders. Instead, they actively hunt insects and other small invertebrates on the ground. Wolf spiders use camouflage and stealth to ambush their prey.

They often hide in leaf litter or under rocks and wait patiently for an unsuspecting insect to come along. Then they pounce!

At night, wolf spiders rely more on their sense of touch than eyesight. They can detect the vibrations of prey walking along the ground. Wolf spiders have specialized sensory hairs on their legs to help detect such vibrations.

This attunement to touch helps the wolf spider be an effective nocturnal predator.

Defensive Biting

Wolf spiders will bite in self-defense if threatened. Though rarely aggressive, a scared wolf spider may mistake a passing human hand or foot for a predator and bite. Wolf spider bites are generally not seriously harmful to healthy adults. They are comparable to a bee or wasp sting in pain level.

Apply an ice pack to reduce swelling from a wolf spider bite. Clean the bite area thoroughly with soap and water to prevent infection. Over-the-counter pain medication can relieve discomfort. Seek medical care if bite symptoms seem severe or persist longer than a few days.

Nocturnal Nature

Wolf spiders are mostly nocturnal creatures. They do much of their hunting at night when insects are active and vulnerable. During the day, wolf spiders usually rest hidden under logs, rocks, leaves, or other natural shelters.

Females spend more time in concealment during the day because they carry an egg sac with them. Protecting her egg sac is a mother wolf spider’s top priority! She carries hundreds of future spiderlings inside and cannot risk exposing them to predators.

Likelihood of Being Bitten in Your Sleep

Rare But Possible

Wolf spiders don’t often bite humans while they are sleeping. Their bites typically occur when a spider gets unintentionally disturbed or touched by a sleeping person. According to spider experts at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, there are only a few confirmed reports of wolf spiders biting people in their sleep.

That said, wolf spiders actively hunt for food at night, when humans are often asleep. So encounters can occur if a wandering spider gets on or under bed sheets. One study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology found that out of 130 confirmed wolf spider bites, 7% happened when the victim was asleep.

Bites Are Defensive, Not Offensive

Wolf spiders don’t seek out human targets to bite. Instead, they bite instinctively as a defensive reaction if they get unintentionally squeezed or crushed between a sleeping body and a mattress. Their venom-injecting fangs swing into action to fend off a perceived attacker.

So while uncommon, bites during sleep tend to happen if someone rolls over onto a wolf spider in bed.

Spider experts agree that wolf spiders only bite when provoked. The spiders don’t carry any infectious diseases and their venom poses little medical risks to healthy adults. Wolf spider bites are comparable to bee stings in terms of severity. The puncture marks heal within a week or less.

Certain Conditions Increase Risk

Wolf spiders live outdoors but often wander indoors accidentally. So sleeping areas bordering woods or thick vegetation pose increased likelihood of spiders getting inside a home and onto a bed.

Bites also happen more frequently during warmer months when wolf spiders are most active hunting prey. Late spring through early fall is prime time for incidents. Untidy rooms or houses provide more dark hiding spots spiders seek out.

Furthermore, homes with insect or rodent problems give wandering wolf spiders additional food sources, so increased spider activity and human contact chances. Ultimately avoiding clutter, crevices, and cracks spiders use cuts down on bite risks day or night.

Proper sealing of doors and windows also limits points of entry inside.

What To Do If You Find One in Your Bedroom

Remain Calm

Finding a wolf spider in your bedroom can be startling, but try to remain calm. Remember that wolf spiders are not aggressive towards humans and will only bite if they feel extremely threatened. Take some deep breaths and assess the situation before deciding your next steps.

Catch and Release Outdoors

If you feel comfortable doing so, carefully catch the spider and release it outdoors. You can use a cup and stiff paper to trap it against a wall or floor. Slide the paper under the cup to contain the spider, then take it outside and release it in a safe spot away from your home.

Wolf spiders are an important part of the ecosystem and help control insect populations.

Clean the Area Thoroughly

After removing the spider, thoroughly clean the area where you found it. Pay close attention to corners, crevices, and clutter where spiders could hide. Use a vacuum cleaner and duster to remove spider webs and debris.

You can also use an essential oil spray or solution of vinegar and water to clean surfaces. Eliminating food sources like insects can discourage spiders from entering your bedroom.

To prevent future spider encounters, consider sealing any cracks or gaps leading into your home. Install weatherstripping around doors and windows and repair holes in screens. Reducing clutter can also discourage spiders by eliminating places for them to hide.

With some simple prevention measures, you can hopefully avoid waking up to a wolf spider in your bedroom again!

Discouraging Wolf Spiders from Your Home

Seal Cracks and Crevices

Wolf spiders often invade homes when they find cracks, holes, or other openings where they can squeeze through. To discourage these creepy crawlers, inspect the interior and exterior of your house and seal any gaps with caulk or weatherstripping.

Pay particular attention to potential entry points around windows, doors, pipes, vents, and the foundation. This helps block spiders and other nuisance pests from sneaking inside.

Remove Clutter

A cluttered home offers great hiding spots for wolf spiders. Reduce the appeal of your home to these arachnids by cleaning up piles of boxes, papers, clothes, and other clutter. Store items neatly in closets, cabinets, and sealed containers.

A tidy environment removes places for spiders to nest undisturbed.

Use Repellents

Certain scents drive wolf spiders away, making natural repellents useful deterrents. Try placing cotton balls soaked in peppermint, citrus, or eucalyptus oils along baseboards or other areas where you spot the spiders.

You can also plant mint, garlic, onions, or chrysanthemums around your home’s perimeter. Their smells repel wolf spiders looking to come inside.

Keep Them Well-Fed Outside

One reason wolf spiders enter homes is hunger. Ensure these predators have plenty of food outdoors so they’re less inclined to venture inside. Letting fallen fruits, vegetables, and pet food remain in your yard gives spiders a ready food source.

You can also set up a compost pile away from your home’s foundation. Ample prey outside means fewer spiders searching for food indoors.


While being bitten by a wolf spider as you sleep is unlikely, it can happen on occasion. Understanding their behavior and taking preventative measures can help ease your mind and reduce encounters.

With proper identification and calm handling, wolf spiders found indoors can be safely removed and released outside. And by making your home less hospitable to them, you can discourage these timid arachnids from taking up residence in your bedroom.

While startling, wolf spider bites are extremely rare and generally harmless. Knowing what to do if you find one nearby will help you rest easy at night.

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