I’ve been having a curious situation with a wolf spider, a Hogna Carolinesis, that I recently purchased from someone-roughly 5 weeks ago. The thing is, as much as I feed them, I never see them eat. And it makes me wonder if they are eating at all. I do have experience with wolf spiders, I have another Hogna Carolinesis right next to her that will snatch up anything I put in her tank. And I’ve had other species of wolf spider that have done the same, so it’s concerning to me that this one isn’t doing that. Has anyone else seen this behavior before? I’ve added some photos to show how she looks like and she seems like a healthy little spider to me with a regular sized abdomen.
Do you know how old this spider is? If she’s not yet mature, it’s possible she could be in premolt, which could be why she’s not eating.
Is it possible she’s eating when you’re not looking? If the feeders are disappearing from the enclosure, she might just be more of a shy eater. Only one of your pictures loaded, but she looks pretty plump there. If that picture is recent, she doesn’t look like a wolf spider who hasn’t eaten for 5 weeks. I’ve noticed that my wolf spider (Schizocosa mccokie, so admittedly a different genus) seems to burn through food and slim down much faster than my other types of spiders, so I wouldn’t expect her to look so plump if she really hadn’t eaten for over a month. But I’ve never kept a Hogna wolf, so take that with a grain of salt.
Another possibility would be if this was a mature male, since mature males often only have one thing on their mind and it’s not unusual for them to stop eating…but it doesn’t look like a mature male from what I can see in the picture.
Other possibilities are a little more serious/unfortunate, like if this is an elderly individual who is just nearing the end of her lifespan. Impaction is another possibility, although I don’t know how common that is in true spiders (though I’ve heard of it with tarantulas).
Aside from possibly not eating, is her overall behaviour normal? If she seems lethargic, she could be dehydrated, especially if she doesn’t have a water dish. You could try putting some droplets of water near her (even if she does have a water bowl) to see if she’ll drink.
Have you tried offering different types of prey? Maybe she’s just quirky and picky.
She’s a beautiful spider! Hopefully there’s nothing wrong with her and she’s just shy or picky or about to molt.
Hi and thanks for responding to my post. The thing with this spider is that I don’t have a good baseline “normal” for her (I believe it’s a her because her pedipalps look pretty thin to me). I’ve never known a wolf spider to be a shy eater, but maybe she is.
I think why I’m so worried is that about a year ago, I bought a Hogna Miami from a major invert dealer and it never ate for me, it just slowly died for a few months. And I worry that this is what’s going to happen with her. But that spider didn’t look like a spider that hadn’t been eating, its abdomen looked fine even after it passed.
So she does have a decent water dish that I fill up weekly and keep an eye on. She’s sometimes even in it cause it’s agains the wall of her enclosure.
But let throw a theory at you and tell me what you think. When I got her, it was from a woman who could no longer take care of her collection and sold everything off or gave them away. I took on all of her true spiders & mantids. She’s in a critter keeper that’s 7" x 7" x 7"-which isn’t terrible for a spider that’s an inch roughly. But I was thinking that she really doesn’t have too many hiding spots of places to explore, burrow, and do wolf spider things. Out of all spiders in the hobby today, it could be argued that Wolf Spiders are by far the most active. So bought her a new terrarium that’s 20" x 10" x 8" to create a landscape for her to move around in. So my fingers are crossed that maybe that’s the issue? Or maybe a molt? The funny thing is that the crickets are disappearing, but I’m not sure if that means they’re just dying somewhere in the enclosure or not. Although I’m not seeing any bolus’s anywhere in the enclosure.
What do you think?
Ah, so given how you acquired her, you probably have no real way of knowing her age. I agree that she looks female (unless she’s an immature male).
Wolf spiders are definitely active little buggers, and I agree that they benefit from having a larger enclosure relative to their size than most other types of spiders. My Schizocosa girl uses every inch of her 8"x8" hexagonal enclosure, and even climbs a lot more than I’d expect for a terrestrial species (I’ve considered giving her more space, but she only has 4 legs, so it often takes her a few tries to catch her prey, and I don’t want to make that harder for her). The only thing that gives me pause about giving your Hogna a larger enclosure is just the fact that a larger enclosure would make it more difficult to keep an eye on her and tell if she’s eating… though since you already can’t tell, I guess it wouldn’t necessarily make any difference. If/when you move her, it might be worth digging through her old enclosure to see if you can figure out what’s been happening to the crickets you’ve been giving her. That might at least help solve the mystery of if she’s eating them when you’re not looking or if they’re just dying in the enclosure.
Can you tell if she’s pooping? That would be another thing to look for if/when you dig through her enclosure. If she’s not pooping, that could indicate impaction. In the cases of impaction I’ve read about in tarantulas, their abdomens often stay pretty plump for a while even after they’ve stopped eating (which makes sense, since their digestive tract is blocked up). It’s possible that’s what happened with the H. miami you lost (though there’s no way to be sure, I’m just speculating).
Have you tried offering her prey besides crickets? You could try giving her a roach, mealworm, or mealworm beetle, just to see if that piques her interest more than a cricket.
So the rehousing went pretty well. I actually rehoused both of my wolf spiders that night, but I think I like this one spider’s enclosure the best. She is still in the stage of exploring it and mapping it out for herself, I can’t blame her-it’s a lot of new space to explore. So I did find like 3-4 live crickets in her old enclosure and no evidence of pooping that I could see, so I’m not sure how much she was eating, or if she was eating at all.
But earlier today I did notice that she had a spot of white on her abdomen, so that’s a really good sign. I took the extra crickets from her old enclosure and put it in her new one.
So I am hoping that means she pooped after she had eaten one of the crickets.
That white spot looks like it could be poop, so that’s a good sign! Though I’m trying to imagine how she managed to smear poop on her own butt. But I can’t think of what else it could be. Maybe keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t get bigger, just in case it’s some sort of weird fungus or something, but it definitely looks like spider poop to me.
Hopefully she enjoys her big new enclosure and starts eating in more obvious ways so you don’t have to be so worried about her.