Wolf Spiders are some of the most common spiders encountered in the bush in Kenya. Many species are large and conspicuous, and therefore easy to find (if you’re looking). Some species are free-living, wandering spiders, while others live in burrows or horizontal sheet webs in short grass.
Wolf Spiders have a very distinct eye pattern (see the close-up photo). They have two large eyes on the top and to the sides of their cephalothorax. They have another two large, forward-facing eyes at the vertical front of the cephalothorax, and a further 4 smaller eyes in a horizontal line below them. If confusion ever arises between a Wolf Spider and a Baboon Spider, look at the eye pattern to determine the difference. Wolf spiders come in all sizes from tiny to very large.
Happily, Wolf Spiders’ venom is not harmful to man.
Above: Lycosa sp. WOLF SPIDER. Close up shot to show distinctive Lycosid eye pattern. Notice two large eyes laterally placed on top of head, two large eyes front, and four small in a flat (sometimes recurved) line below. Large chelicerae (fang bases) protrude vertically from below the eyes. Pedipalps (those small leg-looking things on either side of the chelicerae) and legs have long sensitive "hairs" used as sensory organs.
Above: (Probably) Hogna sp. - WANDERING WOLF SPIDER. Often found in or near buildings. Completely Harmless. Notice the front right leg is missing. With each moult, this leg will slowly begin to grow back.