How This Article Was Inspired
This article was conceived when I happened to read a very interesting article written by my fellow hubber who calls herself Moonlake. In her article titled: “The Story of The Little Christmas Spider -- Video Tutorial On How To Make A Spidero,” Moonlake wrote, “We had huge spiders on the lake. They would hatch under our dock. We called them dock spiders. I could look out the window and see them sunning themselves on the dock they were that big.”
I know that Moonlake lives in Northern Wisconsin. I was born and grew up in Central Wisconsin and I had never seen a “huge spider,” in all the time I lived there. The biggest spider I had ever seen was perhaps the size of a fifty-cent piece. They seemed big to me at the time because I had never seen a Texas spider at that point, but huge?
I questioned Moonlake about those “huge spiders” in the comment I left on her article, and she told me about dock spiders, something I had never heard of before. I asked several friends and they had never heard of them either. However, I, and all my friends, were, and are, landlubbers. That is the only reason I can think of why none of us had ever heard of dock spiders before. We never had lived near any body of water and that is the primary habitat for dock spiders.
So of course I had to research dock spiders, and sure enough, I found photos of dock spiders, sometimes called wharf spiders, or fishing spiders, exactly as Moonlake described -- sunning themselves on a pier! And they were big. Yes, if I had never lived in Texas I would probably have described them as huge. From the photos and information I found on dock spiders, they do indeed get very large.
During the course of researching this article I learned that dock spiders sometimes live quite a ways inland. I think what we used to call “field spiders” when I was growing up may be the same thing. Except for the giant size, our field spiders looked exactly like the photos of dock spiders I found in the course of my research. They were the biggest of the spiders in my environment growing up on a small farm way out in the sticks in central Wisconsin.
Most of our field spiders were not much larger than a fifty-cent piece, but on rare occasions I saw some that were perhaps one and a half to two inches in diameter, including leg span. The ‘field spiders’ that were truly out in the fields near the marshes and in the woods were larger than those closer to our house. It has been my experience that spiders living in the ‘wild’ get much larger than more domestic spiders.
In any case, thanks to Moonlake (be sure to read her article too), I decided to research dock spiders and share the information I found.
Spiders In Relation to Other Arthropods
Spiders, insects, and crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, water fleas, woodlice, etc.) are all arthropods. The general characteristics of arthropods are that they have exoskeletons (hard outer bodies), and jointed legs.
Spiders are specifically arachnids. Arachnids include scorpions, false scorpions, ticks, mites, and daddy long legs, as well as spiders. Unlike insects, spiders have no antennae or wings, only 2 body segments (insects have 3), 8 legs (insects have 6), and fangs (insects have mandibles or jaws).
The main difference between spiders and crustaceans is that crustaceans are aquatic (live in the water at least part of the time) and have 2 sets of antennae. Some spiders, like the fishing spiders (dock spiders) I am going to tell you about do live near the water and even dive into it chasing prey.
False Scorpions -- resemble true scorpions but have no tail and are only 1 to 7.5 mm (0.04 to 0.3 inch) long. False scorpions occur worldwide except in cold regions. Most live under bark or stones; some are found in books and old chests. They molt (shed skin), brood their young, and hibernate in silken nests. (Encyclopedia Britannica).
Dock Spiders, Warf Spiders, Fishing Spiders, or Raft Spiders
Also called dolomedes, these large, dark colored spiders with white markings on their legs, make their homes in the upper Midwest of the United States, and in Canada. They hang around bodies of water like lakes, ponds, swamps (marshy areas), and slow moving streams, but as previously stated, do sometimes move quite a distance from these bodies of water into fields and woods.
Dock spiders, are more commonly called fishing spiders, maybe because they can dive under the water and ‘fish’ for their food. They eat insects, tadpoles, small fish, small vertebrate animals, and they can skate on the water as well as dive under it for a meal! (University of Minnesota Extension)
With their legs spread out, dock spiders can cover an area up to 4 inches in diameter. Some people confuse dock spiders with wolf spiders but they are not the same and with careful inspection the difference in their appearance can be discerned.
Some people also confuse dock spiders with spider crabs, such as you see in the photo on the right. They are not the same thing. Spider crabs get considerably bigger.
Another Dock or Fishing Spider
Dock Spider - short video
Wolf Spider's Eyes Glow In the Dark
Wolf spiders easily blend into their favorite habitat as a rule and so they are not readily noticeable. Like most spiders they have 8 eyes, but 2 of them are bigger than the other 6. Their eyesight is considered exceptional and useful to their hunter lifestyle. The eyes of dock spiders (also 8 of them) are arranged differently and I have provided photos of both so my readers can compare them.
Wolf spiders are hunters and generally nocturnal and can be discovered at night because light reflects off their retinas just as it does with deer and cats. People hunting for them can find them in grassy or woodsy undeveloped areas by shining a flashlight towards them. They like a variety of different habitats, grassy, woods, near water, etc., so they can be anywhere. (Be sure to watch the short video provided showing how their eyes can shine at night.)
Many spiders do not spin webs and wolf spiders are among that group. They do spin silk to make a door to their burrow that is usually in the ground. If they are inclined to wait for prey to step near the door to their borrow or where they are hiding they will often spread their silk on the ground (or the floor if they’re inside) in order to catch insects that wonder onto it unawares and then they get stuck. Wolf spiders are said to have an exceptional sense of touch also.
While wolf spiders live all over the United States and in many other countries, I never saw one before moving to Texas. Indeed, I have never before seen so many spiders of all kinds in my life, as here in Texas. Spiders seemed most prevalent when I lived in West Texas, which is very dry and on the edge of desert conditions.
So I think wolf spiders and spiders generally like a warmer climate. I also think they are more likely to survive winters in warmer climates and live to grow bigger the longer they live. Wolf spiders can live up to 5 years.
A wolf spider bite can be painful and is described as similar to a bee sting, and will usually swell up and itch. Some people who are allergic to their venom may have additional reactions and more severe than most. While it was widely believed that a wolf spider bite would cause necrosis, that is now disputed, and researchers say untrue.
Wolf spiders are generally harmless and eat lots of undesirable insects.
Wolf Spider With Babies
Wolf Spider Invasion
My husband and I had lived in Texas for only a short time when wolf spiders of almost every size started appearing several times a week everywhere in our apartment home. At first they were a put-off to say the least. They were hairy, and a tan color that matched the carpet making them hard to see, and they could move. They did not just run. The larger ones galloped!
When I say larger, I mean about three inches or so in diameter, legs and all. Being a landlubber originally from Wisconsin, that was large from my perspective, but wait until I tell you about the day I met their momma!
After a while I got used to the wolf spiders showing up unexpectedly on a shelf, on the stereo, on a counter, or a doorframe. They seemed to be less nervous about me too, though their judgment was somewhat flawed.
Back then I hated spiders of every kind and none were safe inside my home. Even though I calmed down after a while and no longer went berserk when I happened upon one of these spiders, I still killed it. I just did not make such a big production out of it. I was much more relaxed and laid back as I found an acceptable object and squashed the spider. They were less inclined to run for their lives with my new attitude and so they remained more convenient to eliminate.
The wolf spiders in their various sizes continued to appear with regularity for almost a year before I met their mama. Something that happened everyday that I thought was odd -- there would be a small pile of cockroach husks on the floor under the dining room table every morning. You know, the hollowed out bodies of cockroaches. I wondered where they were coming from. I cleaned them up every morning, and the next morning, there would be a new pile of them again.
There was only one large window in our living room, a small window in each of the bedrooms, and a small window in our dining room. So our apartment was fairly dark even when the relentless Texas sun was shining as it did everyday.
I never wore shoes inside our apartment and to this day do not wear shoes when I am at home. Now I wear socks most of the time, but back then I went barefoot.
Wolf Spider With Egg Sac
Woman Holding Mama Wolf Spider With Babies
Wolf Spider Mating and Hunting Habits
“Wolf spiders, who use their eyes more than many other types of spiders, use visual cues in mating. The males signal their interest to females by waving their pedipalps (short limbs near their mouths) in special patterns or banging them together.
After mating, female wolf spiders lay several dozen eggs or more and wrap them in silk, creating a large egg sac about the size of a pea. The female keeps the egg sac close; if she is a nomadic species, she will carry it with her under her abdomen everywhere she goes.
Tunnel dwellers leave their egg sacs in the tunnel when hunting, but bring it outside during the day because the warm sun helps the eggs develop faster.
If the female is separated from the egg sac, she will search furiously for it. Mothers are known to exhibit aggressive behavior when carrying their egg sacs.
“Wolf spiders are members of the family Lycosidae. They are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some will wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow.”
Memoir of a Huge Wolf Spider
Wolf Spider Hiding In My Home
An Eency weency spider's been prowlin'
Round my home so long,
Had I known she was living here,
Think I'd have been long gone!
Scrunched up in the hallway,
Sleeping in the dark.
Not the slightest concerned when
My foot must have nudged her park.
The eency weency spider
Isn't so eency any more,
The eency weency spider
Is blocking the door!
I'd like to save it as a specimen
Inside a jar,
But this eency weency spider
Is as big as my car!
She was the size of a pencil point
When she entered on this scene.
Now she looks like she's on steroids,
Big and hairy as a wolverine.
To think I almost picked her up,
Believing she was string,
Oh my God I still have daymares
When I think of that huge thing!
© C. E. Clark
Mama Wolf Spider?
One afternoon as I was going from our spare bedroom where my office and exercise equipment were, to the master bedroom, then to the living room and kitchen, going about my daily chores, I noticed what appeared to me to be a very loose pile of twine.
Some people may not know what twine is, but growing up on a farm, it was a cheap kind of binding string used for wrapping bales of hay and for other rough purposes. See the photo at right for an idea of what it looks like. You may be familiar with it and just call it by a different name. I have discovered from living in five different states in five different regions of the country, that words, names, and phrases can be regional.
I had received packages in the mail that sometimes had some twine securing them, but I could not remember having received such a package recently. It appeared to be a short piece of twine loosely curled up as though it had been dropped there after being removed from a package. I did not usually drop package materials onto the floor and forget about them, and so I thought it odd the twine was just lying there in a loose coil. It was in the hallway between the bedrooms and bathroom and it was fairly dark, because I did not bother to turn a light on, and no light entered the hall from other sources.
I nearly reached down to pick the twine up with the intention of putting it in a garbage can, but something stopped me from doing that. I walked past that loosely coiled twine several times that afternoon; my bare foot usually no more than a half-inch away from it, if that.
Several times that afternoon when I looked down and saw that twine I hesitated and thought I would just bend down and pick it up and toss it in the trash, but each time something made me stop and think, “Oh, I’ll just do it next time.” Very odd, because I am not one to put off such a simple task.
Truthfully, I think my guardian angel was watching over me, because it just was not like me at all to put off dealing with such a small chore that would take hardly any time at all to dispense with. As it turned out, it was a good thing I had not followed through with that chore.
Now when I think back about that afternoon and what would have happened if I had reached down and picked up what I thought was twine, my blood curdles just a little. I have daymares -- the opposite of nightmares, because I am awake when I think of them.
Nothing happened until evening when my husband came home from work. It was about 6 PM and I was in the kitchen on the phone with someone. My husband had gone for his after-work shower, but became distracted. He came into the kitchen and asked me, “Did you see that big spider in the hallway?”
I hate when someone tries to talk to me while I am on the phone trying to listen or talk to someone else. Trying to talk to two people at once is annoying at best. When I understood what he was saying to me I figured it was just one of those three inch wolf spiders. So that he would stop talking to me right then I told him to just kill it. He asked if I was sure he should do that, and I thought he must surly have lost his mind. Why would I not mean he should kill the spider like dozens of others both of us had killed previously? I answered affirmative, “Just kill the spider.”
When I was finally off the phone I went into the living room and my husband was standing there and he asked me if I wanted to put the spider in a jar or something to keep it. We had not done that with any of the others and I did not know why we would want to do it with this one. We were both in the process of getting ready to go out for dinner and so the spider was still not particularly of interest to me. I could not understand why he kept on about the spider.
“It’s pretty big,” he said. “I threw both of my work boots at it and hit it, but it’s only stunned.” My husband was a contractor and wore steel-toed boots, and they were heavy. What he said did not make sense to me, but it finally got my full attention. Why would he need to throw his boots at one of those three-inch spiders? Why would the boots only stun one of those spiders if it were hit?
“I’d better get it out of here before it comes to,” he said, and went to get our dustpan. It was a normal sized household dustpan.
My husband brought the spider on the dustpan for me to see before he threw it outside into a pasture on the other side of the parking lot where horses were kept. We were on the edge of undeveloped land, and that may be where the spider came from and why it was so huge. This is Texas and who has not heard that everything in Texas is bigger?
The body of the spider was mainly tan with a huge dark brown stripe running its length, just like in the pictures provided here. Its body had to be at least five inches long and about two, or a little more, inches in thickness. It had a very hard exoskeleton. The steel-toed boots thrown hard against it had little affect, although it was at least unconscious.
Lying unconscious on the dustpan, all of the spider’s legs were hanging beyond the edge of the dustpan at least three and a half inches. The body of the spider was quite a ways back on the dustpan towards the handle and at least three inches of its legs were on the dustpan in addition to the parts that were hanging off.
Now I wish I had taken a picture, because people who study and work with wolf spiders swear they never get bigger than five inches in diameter at the most.
This spider would have been bigger than a dinner plate if it had been standing with its legs all extended. Apparently it was resting with its legs all scrunched up close to its body as spiders do when they are resting and do not want to be bothered and are not much interested in things going on around them. It had been dark in the hallway so I could not really see how big it was even in that scrunched up position. It was the legs I had seen in the near dark that to me resembled twine.
There is no way to know for sure how long it had been living in our apartment, but it seemed unafraid of us. It had made no effort to run as I walked so close to it that afternoon.
I suspect if the spider had been standing and alert, its legs fully extended, it would have been bigger in diameter than a charger plate; the sort of plates used as a base under a dinner plate at a very formal event. Charger plates are generally about thirteen inches in diameter. Oh Lord, and can you imagine how tall it would have been standing at full attention?
To say I was ready to go home that very minute would be an understatement. Home meaning back up North to Wisconsin where I had never seen such a huge spider up close and personal in all my years there. To my knowledge, there are no spiders that big in Wisconsin. The dock spiders are big, but not that big.
Nothing I could think of in our apartment was big enough to put the spider in as a trophy to show off. We had no jars that big, and unfortunately it did not occur to me to take a picture of it.
When I think of how close my bare feet were to that huge spider as I made several trips past it in the hallway, I shudder. Had I picked it up, likely it would have wrapped its legs around my hand and forearm and it would have been horrible trying to get it off. I would likely have been bitten. I was home alone. What a great horror film eh? But this was not a film . . .
Biokids University of Michigan
Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences: Wolf Spiders
Wikipedia on Wolf Spiders
Dock Spiders or Fishing Spiders
University of Minnesota Extension
Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine
University of Wisconsin Milwaukee – Bug of the Week, Fishing Spider
Thousand Islands Live.com on Dock Spiders
© 2014 C E Clark
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on September 09, 2020:
Jason Thurston, thank you for checking out my article. The "glowing" description was used by the guy who made the video and he placed that word on the video. I only use it with his permission and I have no way to edit it. Regarding the word "glowing" that he chose, you will have to discuss it with him.
Thankfully, I have never encountered a wolf spider in the dark. The huge one in my apartment was enough for a lifetime. I've never seen a spider's eyes shining in the dark that I am aware of, and it's not on my bucket list. :) The only shining eyes I've seen at night belonged to deer.
I do hope the creator of the video's choice of a descriptive word didn't prevent you from enjoying the article. I appreciate your taking time to leave a comment and sharing your thoughts. Stop by anytime . . .
Jason Thurston on September 06, 2020:
The eyes reflect light, not the same as glowing. I've never seen a spider's eyes glow. This reflecting is not something special about the wolf spider, many spiders eyes reflect light, as do moths eyes. Put on a headlamp and walk around at night looking at the grass and when you see what looks like diamonds and walk up to it you'll find that it's usually either a spider or a moth.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 24, 2018:
Peggy Woods, thank you for checking out the spiders! As I said in the text here, I regret not even taking a picture. I remember my husband wanted me to save it in a jar or take a picture and we were on our way out for dinner so I didn't want to take the time. We didn't have a container big enough anyway, and hubby said it wasn't dead, only stunned, so I didn't want to take the chance it would revive while I was hunting for something to put it in. I don't think even one of those huge pickle jars they have for parties would have been big enough, but we didn't have one so it didn't matter. So he released it in the undeveloped lot next door, and we went on our way.
The small wolf spiders can run pretty fast so I can only imagine that the one in our apartment could do even better. Have thought about it from time to time all these years and I think it must have been living in our apartment for a while to get so big, although they can get pretty big in the "wild." I think it had it made in our apartment. Plenty to eat and no dangers to harm it so long as it remained out of sight. It blended in well with our carpet. It wasn't afraid of me and that makes me think it was used to me. Horrible thoughts really.
Can't wait 'til winter. This summer has been just too hot. Hope you are managing to stay cool down there in Houston.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 21, 2018:
I have yet to see any spiders of that size pictured here and have to say that it is just fine with me. We seldom seem to get spiders in our home but if and when we see them, they are tiny. If we can capture them we put them outside.
Hope you are staying cool up there in Texas. It is certainly hot this year!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on August 09, 2017:
Gloria Siess (GarnetBird), thank you for stopping by and commenting. I had to check out your wind scorpion since I've never heard of them before, and I have to say they look pretty formidable.
Gloria Siess from Wrightwood, California on July 28, 2017:
Amazing photos/ I once encountered a spider called a Wind Scorpion here in the San Bernardino Mountains.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 08, 2016:
Bob McAndrews, The Spider Hunter, thank you for your comments. Coming from someone like you I consider it high praise indeed.
I did take a couple of minutes and checked out your "AN INTRODUCTION TO MY SPIDER CHANNEL." Those spiders do work fast when they wrap up their prey. I think you have a great idea for a channel on YouTube and I hope people will check it out.
You might want to check out the sound on that intro video. It may be just my computer as I'm having some problems with it lately, but check it out for yourself and make sure it's not my computer. The sound started out excellent but then got impossible to hear. It's a very interesting video and I think a lot of people would enjoy it. I hope my followers will check it out, but like I said, there seems to be something weird going on with the sound. Thanks again for stopping in!
Bob McAndrews on November 12, 2016:
Well done post and I enjoyed not only the story line, but all the wonderful pictures and facts concerning our amazing spider "friends" we share this planet with! Thanks, Bob The Spider Hunter, from West Michigan. I also have a spider channel on You Tube, you or others may enjoy.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 02, 2016:
Moonlake, thank you for stopping by! Good to see you again. You were the inspiration for this article when you enlightened me that some of these large spiders actually live in Wisconsin. I never knew that before. Spiders are generally good and take out some of the critters that we like even less, but the bigger they get the scarier they get it seems. I still have daymares (not nightmares) when I think of that giant wolf spider that was living in my apartment, who knows how long? :)
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 01, 2016:
Paul Kuehn, thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing this article with your followers and on FB. Spiders inject venom into their prey with their fangs and that venom causes the insides of the prey to liquify. The spider then sucks that liquid from the prey and leaves an empty husk of the outer body/exoskeleton of the prey.
moonlake from America on January 30, 2016:
Every time I look at the dock spider on the guys back it gives me the creeps. I like spiders but I can just see that big thing crawling down inside his shirt. Shared on Facebook.
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on January 29, 2016:
Thank you very much for sharing your story about dock spiders and your encounter with the giant wolf spider. I thought that spiders only drank the blood of their prey. Is that true? I am sharing this with HP followers and on Facebook.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 19, 2015:
Shyron, thank you for taking time to comment on this article. Wolf spiders are very good for keeping other even less desirable things at bay. The bigger they are the bigger the prey they're able to eat. Thank you for the votes and she also.
No, I really can't sleep when it's so hot, but otherwise all is moving along. Glad July is already half over and I'm look forward to Dec. 1, when it should cool off for a few weeks.
Hope you are in a cool place and watching the grass grow through the window instead of from the seat of the riding mower. Take care . ..
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on July 18, 2015:
I saw a huge "Wolf" spider yesterday at the end of the trolley rail, I know because it looks just like one of your pictures.
I hope you are comfortable safe and cool.
Blessings and Hugs.
Voted up, UAI and shared.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 10, 2015:
Safitri, thank you for your inquiry. I'm sorry to take so long to respond, but I only found your question in my spam folder this morning -- along with the comments of many other people. I have sent you an email to the email address connected to your HubPages account. Hopefully I will have answered your question in that email.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 28, 2015:
The brown recluse lives all over the U.S., but they don't get very big and they're timid, which is why they have the name they do. They're usually in out of the way places, same with black widows. These wolf spiders aren't poisonous, but I'm sure the bigger they are the more a bite would hurt and sting. Thank you for your kind compliment and for the vote and share.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on March 27, 2015:
Excellent article! This is the time of year when people are starting to get outside again. I think we all need to have a healthy respect for the spiders that surround us ... almost invisible, but still dangerous. Fabulous photos. Voted up and shared.
Safitri on January 21, 2015:
First of all I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick qesituon that I'd like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Thank you!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 07, 2015:
DeborahDian, thank you for checking this article out! Be sure to read about my meeting with Ms. Wolf Spider if you didn't get that far. It was quite an experience. It still creeps me out after all the years that have passed since this happened.
Deborah Carr from Orange County, California on January 05, 2015:
What an interesting article this is about giant spiders. Some of the photos are incredible ... and make the hair stand up on the back of my neck! I love this article. My husband has a bit of arachnophobia, so this article really creeps him out! LOL
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 27, 2014:
Ladyguitarpicker, thank you for taking time to read this article and share some of your experiences with large spiders. I'm not surprised to hear about monster spiders in the South because spiders love heat, usually dry heat, but some don't mind humidity either. There are far fewer big spiders up North.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that 2015 will bring good fortune, good health, peace, and happiness!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 22, 2014:
Pstraubie48, thank you for reading and commenting on this article! It can be difficult for some people to read because spiders are scary creatures no matter how nice some of them may be.
No almost about it. I DID have an encounter I'll never forget. I used to think Wisconsin was safe from these huge spiders until Moonlake set me straight!
Merry Christmas Patricia!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 19, 2014:
Peggy W, thank you for sharing this article! Hope you are enjoying all this Christmas season has to offer!
stella vadakin from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619 on December 18, 2014:
I grew up in the North and never saw spiders like Fl. has either. My Son lives in Texas and one of those big ones were in the sink in the bathroom. I did not wash my hair. We have a new green one in Fl. they bite hard. It not only bit me but black and blued my finger. I am still trying to figure out from where these came . Wonderful Hub. Merry Christmas
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on December 18, 2014:
delia-delia, thank you for reading this article and for taking time to comment. I especially appreciate your sharing your own experiences with these spiders. Wolf spiders are actually good spiders, not poisonous, though sometimes their bite can cause necrosis. They keep the other bugs down and the bigger individuals will actually kill mice (mainly the babies) and other somewhat larger unwanted creatures.
No, the bigger ones are not my idea of a cuddly pet even though, as you say, they are hairy. The one in my apartment wasn't afraid of me and acted like it was used to me. That worried me a little . . . just how long had we been roommates?
I was born and grew up in WI and never saw a spider bigger than a 50-cent piece, legs spread and all, however Moonlake and my research point out that warf spiders live there and if you live near a body of water, you may meet one of those eventually.
Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays!
Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on December 18, 2014:
O yes...you almost had an encounter you would never forget!!! It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck to think of it. I can admire spiders for their beauty but I do not like to share my space with them.
I cannot imagine having one on my face like the man in the one photo does!!!!
Well done...so thorough and thanks to Moonlake for giving you the idea for this, Au Fait
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 18, 2014:
Hi Au fait,
Hope your holidays are going well. Not many days left to this year! Will once again share this good hub of yours.
Delia on December 14, 2014:
OK, I had to read this, but flashing past the photos...when reading I put my hand up to block them. I encountered a Wolf Spider when we moved to Missouri from California. I was at the barn cleaning my horses stalls, when I pulled back the stall door I noticed a feeling of fur ...when I looked, there were these hairy legs sticking out of the door crevice. Oh hell, did I freak out when the spider came out! As this huge hairy spider moved across the floor. I took a shovel and asked God to forgive me over and over while smashing it to pieces, because I would never come back to the barn... and then I noticed what looked like hundreds of baby spiders coming out of the smashed spider. So you can see the scene of me going crazy...I also noticed at night when I'd check on the horses a wolf spiders eyes would reflect. We also had black snakes, including coral snakes, barn cockroaches that flew and roaches in the house ewwwww! I was not a happy camper. It was a flashback when we lived in the Mojave desert and the scorpians ...now that we live in S. Wisconsin and as I get older, I'm more kind and throw the critters out. So far I have never seen a spider of that size here in WI.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on October 17, 2014:
Peggy W, thank you for tweeting, G+ing, and sharing this article! I hope I never see another huge spider or a tarantula again up close again.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 13, 2014:
Fortunately the only spiders we have seen in Houston are tiny in comparison. Will share this on HP, G+ and give this a tweet.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on July 25, 2014:
PegCole17, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. I didn't realize until my husband came home from work and tried to kill the spider that it was there. It was only after the fact that I realized how close I had walked barefoot to the thing. It was too dark in the hallway to identify it and that is why I described it as looking like loosely coiled twine. It blended in well with the carpet in the darkness.
Yes, wolf spiders are plentiful in Texas. But they are not poisonous and eat a lot of nastier bugs. I don't mind them so long as they don't get bigger than my car. :)
Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 22, 2014:
I live in Texas and wow, I've seen some whoppers, but that one you described really sounds like a monster. That would have sent me screaming especially if I'd run across it barefoot.
Those pictures you've used with the spiders crawling on people are really creepy. I took some photos of wolf spiders on my front porch with their round ball-shaped burrow. Yipes. They seem to be everywhere.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on June 16, 2014:
Shyron, thank you for checking this article out again. Wolf spiders are plentiful in Texas. At least they aren't poisonous. Take care . .
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on June 13, 2014:
Au fait, I don't tend to get to chummy with spiders, but I had to come here to read this again as I am at my computer and I see a hugh spider outside on the screen and wondered what kind it is. As it crawled slowly up the screen, I wondered if it could see me, so I touched the glass inside and it fell, so I guess it can. From your article I think it is a wolf.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on May 01, 2014:
Thank you Peggy W for pinning this article. I hope to never see another huge spider like the one in my apartment when I first moved to Texas either.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 26, 2014:
Will pin this to another one of my boards titled "Do you know this?" so that others may learn about these types of spiders. We have had some cute Daddy Long Legs in our garage...but NOTHING this size, thank heavens! :)
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on April 05, 2014:
CraftytotheCore, thank you for sharing your experience with dock spiders. I think sometimes that the really big spiders cause people to harm themselves in their hysteria to get away from the spider, rather than being directly harmed by the spider . .
CraftytotheCore on April 04, 2014:
I got over my fear of spiders after vacationing in Maine one summer when I was a kid. We went out on a canoe and there were "dock" spiders in the canoe. I remember I was at the front of the canoe and suddenly these giant spiders came crawling up around from my feet. I took my sunglasses off and wacked them as hard as I could in to the lake. My sister jumped up and almost tipped over the entire canoe.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 31, 2014:
rebeccamealey, thank you for stopping by. I agree, spiders have their good purpose (most of them anyway), but I prefer they keep their distance. ;) Especially the ones so big that they block my escape door!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 29, 2014:
Thank you for stopping by Shyron, and for the votes and share, and for all you do. I do hope everything will come out the very best possible for you and that your spirits will be raised enough to come back and go to it again.
If at first you don't succeed, try and try harder. Find new ways to find new readers. It's not easy because people don't want to be bothered with reading nowadays.
One of these days it won't be just cursive schools aren't teaching anymore, it will be reading. People will get so lazy they will listen to recordings instead of learning to read the written word.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 25, 2014:
Good to know you won't forget us here, Sam. Hope the job goes well and that you like it. Will respond to your mail in a day or so. It's the first time I've heard about the subject you mentioned so I'm cogitating on it.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on March 25, 2014:
I have a huge respect for spiders, but I don't want any big woolly ones on me! Very interesting!
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on March 25, 2014:
I came back to share this again, because it is so imformative and useful.
Voted up, UAI, shared and pinned again.
Sorry I was not here yesterday and tomorrow I will go away
But I will be back the very next day.
There is nothing to say
Maybe on Friday they will find the way.
samowhamo on March 22, 2014:
Don't worry Au Fait I am not leaving HP I just wont be on it as much as I usually am because of my upcoming job but I will be on it when I have time.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 22, 2014:
Take care Sam. Don't forget us here at HP.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 21, 2014:
Nice to meet you too, Jodah! So glad you took some time to stop and read this article and that you enjoyed it. Appreciate your sharing about the spiders in Australia too. Thanks for the up vote and the follow!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 19, 2014:
Silva Hayes, thank you for taking time to share your daughter's experiences with big spiders/scorpions. Here in N. Texas most scorpions are fairly small, but their sting is still pretty painful. I know people here in town who have them in sections of their yards.
I have 'daymares' when I think how close I came to picking up that spider.
samowhamo on March 17, 2014:
Thank you Au Fait happy St. Patrick's Day.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 16, 2014:
Sam, there will always be anomalies, although I can't say with certainty that the spiders you saw on Monster Quest were anomalies. They do have some very large critters in Africa and other places too. The spider in my apartment was much bigger than average, but as to how many get that big in the wild is anyone's guess.
As big as a dog? What kind of dog? A great dane? An English Mastiff? A toy collie? A chihuahua? A shih tzu? There's a lot of difference between the sizes of dog breeds. The spider in my apartment took up about the same space as a medium sized house cat or a very small chihuahua. Could a spider get as big as a Saint Bernard? It's hard to imagine that they could, but I haven't done the research, so maybe certain kinds of spiders in some countries do get that big. I'd like to see a picture of one -- note I didn't say I wanted to actually see the spider. :)
I've seen tarantulas up close that were at least twice as big as the spider in my apartment. In other words twice as big as a charger plate. There were only a few in the bunch (they were migrating, looking for mates) that big, most were about the size of the charger plate, but like I said, there are always anomalies.
The biggest spider you may run into in OH is the fishing spider or dock spider. Stay away from docks and you may never see those either.
Thanks for coming by Sam!
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on March 15, 2014:
Hi Au-fait, nice to meet you. I used to dislike spiders but because there are so many where we live now I have learnt to live with most of them. I will quickly dispatch any poisoners ones such as funnel-webs or red backs(black widows), but most others I can live with. The most common we have are huntsmen which are much like wolf spiders but seem to grow bigger and are less aggressive, daddy long legs and black house spiders. Wow, that spider you had in your apartment sounds massive, bigger than a plate..scary. I had never heard of dock spiders before. Very interesting hub. Voted up.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 15, 2014:
Deborah-Diane, thank you for stopping by and commenting!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on March 14, 2014:
WriterJanis, thank you for stopping by. The small wolf spiders aren't so bad, but the big one like I had in my apartment was, and would be, another matter.
Silva Hayes from Spicewood, Texas on March 14, 2014:
Can't imagine the scene if you had picked up that spider! Yes, we grow them big here in Texas. When my daughter lived in Arizona, she woke up one night to see a huge wolf spider on the bed, glaring at her. She jumped out of bed and ran to the bathroom door, screaming at her husband, "Kill the spider!" Suddenly she saw a movement on the floor and there was a scorpion. She screamed, "No, wait! Kill the scorpion first! Then kill the spider!" Her husband hesitated between the two, not sure which one to take care of first.
samowhamo on March 13, 2014:
I heard on a show that use to be on the History Channel called Monster Quest that some people claim to have seen spiders as big as dogs in Africa or some place like that.
Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on March 10, 2014:
With people cleaning up their boats and getting ready to enjoy them this spring, many of them will want to know more about these spiders, so I thought I would share this again.
Janis from California on March 09, 2014:
I would freak if one of these spiders got on me. I know they have their purpose, but I hate spiders.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 22, 2014:
Thanks to both of you.
Matt Jordan from Gulf Coast on February 19, 2014:
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 19, 2014:
Thank you for stopping by Shyron! Glad you enjoyed.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 15, 2014:
Thank you Shyron, for pinning this article!
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 14, 2014:
Matt Jordan III, I have been to Virginia, but don't know of what spider you speak of, but if you search Virginia Spiders on Google as I just did I think you will find it.
Au fait, I came back to reread your poem, I like how you did it .
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on February 11, 2014:
Thank you Matt Jordan III, for posing a question about spiders.
Sadly, I have neve visited Virginia. It's one of the dozen states in the U.S. I've never been to. So I have no idea what spider you may be referring to, but I suggest you go to Google Images and in the search box put spiders of Virginia. You'll get photos of dozens of spiders and maybe you'll recognize the one you're wondering about. Click on it if you do and find out what it's called.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on February 10, 2014:
Au fait, I just came back to pin this. Now that pinterest is back.
Matt Jordan from Gulf Coast on February 10, 2014:
There is a spider in Virginia. It's haed and body aren't that big but its back end can be huge. It looks like its made out of tissue paper. Does anyone know what that is?
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 30, 2014:
Shyron, thank you for reading this article, commenting, and voting/sharing it, too. I hope your dream was a good one and not a nightmare.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 26, 2014:
Thank you Vespawoolf for taking the time to read and comment on this article! Agree, I prefer spiders and other insects to stay outside.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 25, 2014:
Au fait, the night after I read this I dreamed about the spiders, but I love this hub, very interesting.
Voted up, UAI and shared
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 25, 2014:
Jackie Lynnley, thanks for stopping by!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 23, 2014:
Thank you Shyron. Glad you enjoyed. Appreciate the votes and share too. Hope you and John are both well and staying healthy. My students are coughing and sneezing all over me so I suppose it's just a matter of time . . . Appreciate all that you do!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 21, 2014:
Deborah-Diane, thank you for reading this article and sharing your thoughts on it as well as sharing it. Very much appreciate your kind words. I have considered publishing a book, but on a different subject. I do hope you have been able to sleep well despite the photos here and my recollection of the huge spider that lived with me for several weeks or months. I must say that the cockroach husks didn't stop appearing under the dining room talbe after that spider was removed . . . ;)
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 21, 2014:
Peggy W., Thank you for taking time to read and comment on this article, and for the votes! I'm just glad I didn't see that huge spider for what it was before my husband got home. I would have most assuredly freaked out. I'm sure it was an anomaly, but I have to say that even after it was disposed of, something continued to eat the cockroaches in the dining room. Wolf spiders are generally not poisonous or bad spiders. I just prefer them a bit smaller than my car.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 20, 2014:
WriterJanice, thank you for stopping by. I wouldn't like that either.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 20, 2014:
DDE, thank you for reading and commenting on this article. Glad you enjoyed!
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 20, 2014:
Thank you WiccanSage for reading and commenting on this article. It was 2 steel toed work boots, not just one. The exoskeleton of the spider was super hard. No way would you crush it by stomping on it.
Thankfully I didn't know it was there until my husband got home from work. If I had seen it when I was all alone I would probably still be in treatment.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 19, 2014:
Thank you moonlake, for taking time to read and comment on this article, especially during this difficult time for you when time and energy must be at a premium. Very much appreciate the votes and share too.
Do your best to get your rest. I know when I'm wore out from lack of sleep I'm a wreck, and it makes everything I must deal with more difficult, so I can identify and sympathize with your trouble sleeping. Remember that all of your friends here (incl. me) at HP are sending you our best wishes for a good outcome as you work through this very difficult time.
Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 19, 2014:
What an interesting story about your spider encounter, Au fait! I've never seen a spider that large, except maybe a tarantula at a zoo. I enjoyed the spider poem you included, too. I'd never heard of dock spiders until reading Moonlake's Hub, either. I do remember seeing diving spiders when I was young. They breath oxygen through a bubble they hold to their underside. I don't mind spider outdoors but don't care to share my home with them. : )
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 19, 2014:
Writer Fox, thank you for stopping by and for the votes and the pin. While I like normal sized wolf spiders because they are useful, I still would not want one crawling on me, but some people love spiders and some people just like to shock other people.
diogenes from UK and Mexico on January 18, 2014:
I bow to your having exceeded my humble observations on spiders...perhaps you are taking up cudgels as the new Arachnid Queen? (No, I'm not a queen, before you jump on that one!). Perhaps Arachnid Ruler would have been better. We have quite a lot of Huntsman sightings in Britain; they have, as you say, hitched a lift from the Antipodes and are scaring the bejesus out of the Limeys, they have bitten a few people...as they are similar in some ways to the very dangerous Brazilian Jumping Spider. whose venom can kill an adult human, people are getting a bit spider conscious here.
Have a good weekend xo
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 18, 2014:
Tarantulas don't make webs, Sam. They do spin silk to make doors for their underground burrows and they do spread their silk around where they hope to trap unsuspecting creatures passing by.
Wolf spiders don't make webs either, and they're much smaller than tarantulas as a rule. They do spread their silk around on the ground or floor to cause passing insects to get stuck in it.
Not all spiders make webs. Tarantulas do climb and may be in trees. They use their silk to hold them to keep from falling when they climb.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 18, 2014:
Appreciate your tutorial on the Huntsman spider Bobby.
I came across the Huntsman while researching this article and checked the photos on Google images as well. For your benefit I double checked the Huntsman spider just now and it is primarily found in Australia. A few have hitched rides to various parts of the world by ship and the odd one can be found along coasts around the world where ships dock, but they are not common outside of Australia. Very rare in the U.S.
Have you heard of Yau Ming Ming? Yao Ming is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association. At the time of his final season, he was the tallest active player in the NBA, at 2.29 m. (Wikipedia) At 7'6" tall he would hardly fit the common description of a human in our modern times. So perhaps he is an alien from another planet? How could he possibly be anything but an alien since he doesn't fit the description of a 'normal' human according to authorities and experts on humans?
There are aberrations among all species, not only humans. Creatures that are exceptionally large or small, with 3 eyes instead of 2, two heads instead of one. Humans come with all manner of oddities, so why could not other creatures do the same?
I saw the wolf spider and it was just 24 inches from my eyes and about that same distance from my husband's eyes. It had the usual markings of a wolf spider and looked nothing at all like the Huntsman spider. Our apartment was infested with wolf spiders and so it doesn't seem extraordinary to me that one or more of them grew up to be quite large in a safe environment that provided plenty of food.
Appreciate your sharing your expertise and authority on spiders in the U.S. Do hope all is well with you Bobby. Take care . .
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 16, 2014:
Shyron, thank you for reading and commenting on this article and for making it plain how easy it is to identify wolf spiders. They are plentiful here in North Texas. Also appreciate the votes and share.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 16, 2014:
I am not afraid of spiders but I don't really mess with them. Great hub.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 15, 2014:
CMHypno, thank you for reading and commenting on this article!
We had a collection of spiders as a science project when we lived in West Texas and I was home schooling our daughter. I learned a lot about spiders then. I don't mind the nice ones since getting to know them better. Most of them are beneficial and I have actually been known to bring then into the house to keep unwanted bugs under control.
The huge wolf spider was clearly helping to rid us of cockroaches, but it was really a little too big for my liking. I mean, a leg span of over 12 inches and the legs were 7-8 inches long, so at full alert it would have stood over 10 inches tall.
No, until that day it was in the hallway I never saw it before. I'm sure the two of us roamed around that apartment together at night since we were both nocturnal. The spider was doubtless aware of me, but thankfully I didn't know about it.
As for the pile of cockroach husks, they continued to appear everyday even after the spider in the hall was removed, which would insinuate there was more than one. Since I never saw another one of that huge size I don't know how big a second one may have been, and honestly, it gives me the creeps to think about it. I can live with the idea that some of the 3-4" diameter spiders were living with me, but that humongous spider is another matter.
I guess this spider got freakishly big because it had a cushy life. Wall to wall carpet, central heat and air, and all the food it could eat, etc. I never did any cooking in that apartment, so I'm not sure why there were any cockroaches other than the fact that apartments in Texas used to all be infested with them. One could keep their own apartment religiously clean, but we can't control the neighbors on the other side of the wall or floor/ceiling.
Now they have a different insecticide they use to control bugs in apartments, etc., and the exterminators come through once a month. I see a cockroach maybe 3-4 times a year since they started using the new product about 5 years ago.
Some of the cockroaches here (tree roaches) are bigger than my car too! They get up to 3.5" long and 3/4" wide or so. That's pretty much their average size. Possums love them. When the giant cockroaches fly they sound like Hueys. Not pretty, IMO. ;)
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 15, 2014:
Awesome Poem, I just love it.
Voting up ABI and shared.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 15, 2014:
William15, thank you for stopping by. Lots of people keep dolomedes for pets. Less expensive than tarantulas and fewer issues with allergies most of the time. They're a great natural way of keeping the insect population under control -- so long as they don't get too huge.
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 15, 2014:
Adityapullagurla, thank you for stopping by!
Deborah-Diane from Orange County, California on January 15, 2014:
This is an amazing article. I was absolutely floored by the photographs. Not only was this article interesting to read, but I think many people will be fascinated by the pictures, too!. I voted it up for for awesome and interesting. I am also sharing it in various ways with my followers. I plan to show it to my young grandsons, too!
You are an incredible writer Au fait. You should gather collections of your articles, revise and expand on them and publish them to be sold on Amazon, using CreateSpace and KindleDirectPublishing. I always look forward to it when you have a new article here. Thanks so much for sharing this one. (Of course ... if I have trouble sleeping tonight ... I'm going to blame you! LOL)
I wanted you to know that, because of some family activities, I may have trouble getting online for the next week. If you leave me a comment or write a new article and I seem slow to respond, that is why. I'm not ignoring you!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 15, 2014:
My grandmother lived on Okauchee Lake in Wisconsin but I never saw anything like those dock spiders. Perhaps when there were more people around they withdrew to other areas? And I have never experienced seeing wolf spiders such as you have seen in Texas. That large one that you had in your apartment would have definitely freaked me out! Yikes!
Even though spiders are arachnids, I am going to post this hub to my butterflies and insects board. Very interesting subject matter that I hope never to see up close and personal in our home. Ha! Up votes. No share buttons visible at the moment.
Janis from California on January 15, 2014:
I couldn't imagine letting a spider crawl on my face.
Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 15, 2014:
Wow! Spiders are so creepy but you have created an interesting and most informative hub on this topic. It makes us more aware of spiders and their characters.
Mackenzie Sage Wright on January 14, 2014:
I would have been totally freaked with a spider that big. Wow. I can't believe a work boot only stunned it. Amazing story. Interesting hub.
moonlake from America on January 14, 2014:
I didn't realize so many people didn't know about dock spiders. I enjoyed your hub and thanks so much for the mention of my hub and link to it. I love the video of the mama wolf spider and her babies.
Don’t have much time on Hubpages lately to hectic around here right now and it’s going to get worse in a few weeks.
Will share it, pin and voted up.
Writer Fox from the wadi near the little river on January 14, 2014:
Wow, these are huge spiders. The guy with the big one on his face has to be a lunatic. Very well researched article, voted up, and pinning!
samowhamo on January 14, 2014:
The tarantula that my dad brought over to our house was about the size of a human hand. I am not sure but I think that even if it was bigger than that it still might have been able to crawl on walls and ceilings. I think their ability to climb on walls and ceilings has something to do with the webs they produce. Though the webs are not strong to us humans they are quite strong to spiders and to insects caught in the webs and it is believed by some people that if spider webs were big enough to hold a human the webs would be as strong as steel or stronger. So I think that even a large tarantula would still be able to climb but I am not certain I don't know a lot about spiders.
diogenes from UK and Mexico on January 14, 2014:
That was in all probability a Giant Huntsman Spider. If it was truly that large, there's not much else it could have been. They are found all over the world and specialize in larger insects and can take cockroaches by penetrating the hard ecoskeleton.
They do have a painful bite with their large fangs but non-venomous to humans. They rarely attack unless they are a female guarding young.
They should be removed carefully and swiftly as they move very fast.
CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on January 14, 2014:
What an amazing spider it must have been! But if you had a pile of cockroach husks every morning was it actually doing you a favour? It might have been a very large arachnid, but you only saw it once. Did you find you had a bigger cockroach problem after the spider left?
We can get some pretty big house spiders here in the UK but they are fairly harmless. But fear of spiders is one of those irrational things and I know so many people who cannot stand being near even a tiny one.
Shyron E Shenko from Texas on January 13, 2014:
Au fait, as the song goes "I don't like spiders and snakes" but your article is great, I see small spiders not many in the house, and they are wolf spiders, the editor of the newspaper use to play with them, she would have them on her desk and you always had to look before sitting down.
Voted up-AI and shared.
William from America on January 13, 2014:
Those pictures are horrifying.
Adityapullagurla on January 13, 2014:
Never thought about spiders so much until i read you Hub, Really good one
C E Clark (author) from North Texas on January 13, 2014:
MysticMoonlight, thank you for reading and commenting on this article, and for the votes and share. I so much appreciate your heartfelt response. I'm not sure everyone can imagine just how it would have been if I had discovered that spider was sitting there in my hallway while I was there all alone. It was hard even for me to comprehend when I saw it lying on the dustpan. I remember taking in the size of it and it's horrific all over again every time I think of it.
I understand how you feel about the photos, etc. When I was looking for some good videos I had a hard time watching some of them. They went on too long. I'm not as fearful of spiders anymore as I was back then, but I still have healthy respect for the poisonous recluse and black widows, and of course, for those that are truly huge, as this one was.
Thank you again for your kind response. I can tell you understand the horror of that moment when I realized the twine was not twine.