Night Dwellers (part 1 of likely many throughout the year)

One of my chores, if you will, is to take our dogs out before retiring for the night.  Due to the potential for coyotes and other non-friendly pet wildlife we coexists with out in the country, this involves hitting our flood lights which illuminates our entire porch and a large section of the yard.  You cannot be too careful when taking care of a 5 pound dog.  This instant light tends to surprise animals, insects and the like.  As a result, I tend to see some interesting (and sometimes scary) things previously undercover of the night.  I decided to snap a few shots to share the experience with my readers – especially those people who have not experienced the country life.

The first subject for the night dwellers collection is the Wolf Spider.

Wolf Spider

Interesting enough, I have often heard these spiders referred to as Timber Spiders, but I was unable to find that name on the web.  It may be time to hit the bookstores and pick up a spider reference book since at least once a week a new species pops up around here.  They are not venomous to humans, but their hairy texture and potentially large size have a tendency to provoke pretty aggressive stomping by those caught off guard.  As an FYI, the Brown Recluse is really the only venomous spider we have to worry about around here.  Those tend to avoid any contact and therefore not a big concern but I do give a quick scan of the woodpiles and such just in case.

Wolf Spider

My general rule is to let all insects and arachnids live if they are not found inside the house or are smaller than a Loon coin.  This specimen was definitely on the larger end of that (if not bigger) but since it tolerated my flash photography it was given a second chance.  I have a new lens coming for my camera that will give me much sharper shots, but hopefully you can tell these things are extremely hairy and look quite formidable.  The eye reflection was pretty neat through the glass, but did not really make it through the reduction process which makes the image web friendly.  By eye, I mean the reflection coming off of one or more of their eight eyes.

Follow the jump to see another image of the wolf spider taken a few days later.  That one has an egg sac.

If you are here, you must really like the eight legged types or trying to get past a phobia.  As promised, the following images were taken two days later.  Although the size was about the same, this one was in the process of carrying her egg sac.

Wolf Spider with egg sac

Apparently they attach the sac to their abdomen area and carry it around with them.  Before some quick reading on the web I thought this was an internal gestation process that expanded inside their abdomen, but this is not the case.  They must keep the sac off the ground, however, they are still able to effectively hunt while attached.  You will get a better feel for the relative size of the sac from this image.

Wolf Spider with egg sac

Pretty amazing if you ask me.  I’m probably going to regret this, but I let this particular spider live as well.  I hope you enjoyed this post or found this helpful in getting over any large, hairy, creepy, crawly phobias you might be harboring.

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