Virginia is home to many different kinds of spiders. The wolf spider, particularly the South Carolina state wolf spider, likes to hide inside Virginian homes during the winter. Because of their similarities, the wolf spider and the brown recluse are often misidentified. Unlike the brown recluse, the wolf spider is less aggressive towards humans and does have some obvious identifying marks.
Look at the shape and color of the spider. Wolf spiders are brown like brown recluse spiders, but also have gray, brown and even black hued patterns on their bodies.
Look at the spider's size. Wolf spiders are large, robust looking spiders with shorter legs than other spiders.
Observe the spider's body. Brown recluse spiders and wolf spiders have violin-shaped bodies, but the wolf spider is generally hairier and has a different colored pattern to its body hair.
Observe the reaction of the spider when approached or when moving about. Wolf spiders don't usually attack unless provoked. Instead, when approached, the wolf spider will either run away or stand up and show off its fangs. Also, wolf spiders move very quickly across open spaces and speed up when approaching their prey.