That’s right!  South Carolina has an official “state spider” and it is the Carolina Wolf Spider (Hogna carolinensis). It is the largest spider (3-4 inches, including their legs!) in a family of big and very noticeable spiders and quite common in the Lowcountry. They got their name because, not only are they “furry”, but also be cause they actively hunt and chase their prey (not because they run in packs and howl at the moon!), instead of relying on webs or silk to ensnare their prey like many other spiders.   This wolf spiders hunt mainly at night, so they are nocturnal and (if you look at the picture), have very good eyesite, characterized by a row of four small eyes, two large eyes, and two medium eyes.  These eyes gather lots of light for superb vision at night, which is unusual for spiders.  In fact, if you go out at night and shine a flashlight, you can see their eyes reflect back to you.  Here’s how to be a spider sniffer: 1.         Take a normal flashlight and hold it to your forehead with the beam of light shining out in front (kinda like a lighthouse). 2.         Shine the light at the base of trees, in mulch or leaf litter, and along the edges of wet area. 3.         Look for bluish green, twinkling lights.  You will notice them as you look down the light and follow the light spot. 4.         Once you see the twinkling eyes, follow the beam and walk up to the twinkling lights and viola! There is a spider!  Good job, spider sniffer! Many of the spiders you see are young or juvenile spiders and can be quite small, but they are all wolf spiders.  Occassionally, you will see one that looks like Volkswagen headlights and they are the big ‘uns! These amazing spiders are big, hairy, and can bite if handled, so don’t go picking them up.  Otherwise,  they are harmless to us and help keep our population of crickets, beetles, bugs, and even Palmetto bugs (that’s right, you heard me), a more manageable level.  If you get one of these large spiders in your home, take a cup and put it over the spider, slide a stiff paper or cardboard under the cup slowly, then pick up the cup and cardboard and safely transport the spider to the outside.  There’s no need to freak out and smack it with a shoe or paper!  If you do it this way,  there’s no mess to clean up and it’s better all the way around.  Plus, it is now the state spider of South Carolina, you could go to jail! (just kidding).