She didn't think too much of it because Gracie finds these huge beetles sometimes and behaves exactly the same way. But being were we live with lots of 'dangerous' stuff, Mum thought she better go and check it out.
When Mum got up close, she saw that Gracie was pawing at a huge, huge spider! It's really difficult to tell how large it is in the photo, but it was just at 3" from tip of the leg to tip of leg. The biggest spider Mum has ever seen in her life!
Of course she got Gracie away, not knowing yet if it was a dangerous spider. Then she took a photo, took us inside and got on the interwebs to investigate.
Turns out it's a Wolf Spider, listed 9th on the list of The 10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World. (A word of caution, this link contains some graphic photos of people with spider bites).
Wolf Spiders like the woods, and they like to spend their time in wood piles, leaf litter, anywhere their food source may be. Although it's the Wolf Spider is poisonous, its venom is not lethal.
These spiders don't build webs to capture their pray, they are ground spiders, or as some call hunting spiders, as they hunt for food on the ground. They can climb and swim. Despite their name, they are solitary creatures, unlike Wolves who live in packs.
They eat ground based insects and other spiders. With eight eyes they have excellent vision to watch for their prey. They wait and then 'hunt' them down, scurrying along the ground. They even have great night vision, and some say that if you shine a flashlight at them at night, their eyes shine back at you like a cat's.
Wolf Spiders aren't initially aggressive, but will bite if they feel they are in danger. They move very quickly, but this one was caught immediately by our fence (you can see the grid of the fence in the photo). So it was trapped. Mum was very glad she got there when she did to get Gracie away and avoid a nasty bite.
So not only do we have the Brown Recluse Spider, but we now have to watch out for these buggars. But good to get to know them and whatever danger they pose.
They say for this type of bite, you should immediately pack it with ice to reduce swelling. Then keep the patient calm so as to keep the spread the venom at it's most minimum throughout the body while transporting immediate to the emergency vet. The most dangerous is if your dog (or human) is allergic, so it's best to immediate seek a vet and wait it out for a few hours.
Mum is sure glad she didn't know all this when she was taking care of it, she would have been all stressed out like the day of the Copperhead!