The Real Size of Huntsman Spiders: Comparing Myths and Facts

folder_openArachnida, Araneae
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Everyone knows that huntsman spiders can be pretty big, but how big is a huntsman spider exactly? In this article, let’s explore how big this giant spider can get and whether there are any others who are equal in size.

The giant Huntsman, banana spider, giant crab spider – there are a lot of aliases for Huntsman spiders.

And all of these names indicate one thing – some of these arachnids are huge! In fact, the Giant Huntsman spider has been recorded as one of the largest spiders in the world.

But how big can they really get compared to others, and are all of them really that big? Read on to find out.

Huntsman Spider: Eusparassus walckenaeri


What Are They?

Huntsman spiders are part of the Sparassidae family. These spiders are infamous for their speed, size, and mode of hunting.

They are found in tropical climates around the world and are often known by different names because of the areas they live in.

Large species of Huntsman spiders are called giant crab spiders because of the unique structure of their legs, which makes them look and walk like crabs.

They live in woody areas and are quite hairy.

Some species of this spider in Southern Africa are called rain spiders or lizard-eaters. These are often confused with Baboon spiders or Tarantulas because of their size.

Huntsman spiders are one of the species that do not build nests to catch their prey. Their main advantage is their leg span, one of the largest in the world. It helps them run fast and catch their prey off guard.

How Big Do Huntsman Spiders Get?

Huntsman spiders are usually one inch in length, but their leg spans can be as much as five inches. This is the median of the species.

The Giant Huntsman spiders also belong to the Huntsman spider family. They are native to Laos and have the largest leg span in the world.

Some of these spiders can grow up to a foot in leg span.

Sometimes Giant Huntsman spiders are compared to the ‘size of a dinner plate,’ competing close to the birdeater tarantula, the largest spider in the world by weight.

How Big Is A Huntsman Spider? #1 Answer


Where Are They Found?

Members of the Sparassidae family are found scattered all over the world in temperate and tropical regions in Asia, Africa, parts of Australasia, the Mediterranean basin as well as North and South America.

Usually, these spiders live under the loose bark of trees, in rock crevices, and in logs.

There are a few huntsman spiders (such as the Delena) that stick together as groups, sitting under dead tree bark and stumps or rocks and slabs.

Some huntsman spiders also make their way into houses and cars, hiding in wall cracks and running inside cars on sun visors.

Anywhere they can find a safe, warm place to hide.

What Are Some of The Other Big Spiders in The World?

There are a number of spiders in the world that can put up a good competition to the giant huntsman spider. Here are two of the largest in the world that you should be aware of.

The world’s largest and heaviest spider is the Goliath birdeater. This belongs to a species of tarantula that can weigh about 6 ounces.

The spider is found in the rainforests and swaps of northern parts of South America and feeds mainly on large insects for food.

The Brazilian Salmon Pink Birdeater is a spider about 11 inches in size. It is found in the Brazilian rainforests.

It is said that, though not fatal, the bite of a Salmon pink spider is able to deliver bites as hard as a grown cat.

Interestingly enough, this is a popular pet choice for a lot of people who like to have arachnids around.

Huntsman Spider

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is the biggest huntsman spider?

The world’s largest Huntsman spider was a Giant Huntsman that had a body size of 1.8 inches and a leg span of 12 inches.

This spider belonged to a rescue farm in Queensland, Australia, in 2015 and was named Charlotte.

How big is a huntsman spider in Australia?

Australia is infamous for its dangerous-looking spiders and a hotspot for Huntsman spiders of the world.

One of the largest Huntsman spiders to have been spotted in the world belonged to Queensland. It had a leg span of 12 inches and was known to feed on possums.

What’s the biggest spider in Australia?

One of the largest spiders in Australia belongs to the family of Goliath spiders and is commonly called the whistling spider.

The Selenocosmia crassipes, a species from Northern Australia, has a body of 2.3 inches and a leg span of about 7 inches.

How poisonous is a huntsman spider?

Huntsman spider is a venomous creature, and the poison can prove fatal to animals and insects they are hunting.

These spiders are not deadly to humans but can cause painful bites if one gets bit. But the bite can be managed with some basic medical attention.

How Big Is A Huntsman Spider? #1 Answer

Wrap Up

If giant, long-legged spiders are what you are scared of, we suggest you beware if you come across a Huntsman.

However, to be completely fair, these creatures are timid and gentle, and rarely will they attack you.

But many people often get scared of them simply because of their appearance and their habit of finding themselves in human homes.

Thank you for reading!

Reader Emails

Huntsman spiders can be pretty big and scary, so it’s not unusual that we get this query a lot.

Sample through some emails below, and also look at some of the pictures that our readers have shared over the years of this magnificent arachnid.

Letter 1 – Male and Female Huntsman Spiders


I was surfing the net searching for infos on the camel spider and found your site, thank you for your articles ! It s very instructive and i spent much time discovering american bugs 🙂 That made me remember of a trip i made to indonesia, and of two spiders we found in our bedroom… they seem really common there, do you know if they are dangerous ?
Thank you,

Hi Pierre,
We are very happy to have your photos of both the male (left) and female Huntsman Spider or Banana Spider, Heteropoda venatoria, nicely showing the relative size. This spider is found around the world, especially in tropical ports. Not only are they harmless, these very large Giant Crab Spiders are welcome in many tropical countries because they roam about on the walls and eat cockroaches. Here is a site with more information.

Letter 2 – Turkish Huntsman Spider


Fishing Spider?
Hi I have browsed your site with interest, I have just returned from Turkey, where this one turned up in my daughter’s bedroom. (2 floors up by the way). She looks like one of your dolmades fishing spiders, which might explain how she got in the house as we had a minor flood in the basement after a heavy rain storm. Grateful for your views. I guess the size would be about 5″ leg span.

Hi Howard,
This is not a Dolomedes Fishing Spider. It looks to us like one of the Huntsman Spiders.

Letter 3 – Huntsman Spider


What spider is this?
November 25, 2009
I live in Cape Town, South Africa and found this spider walking in my Kitchen last night. Can you tell me what it is and if it’s poisonous?
doesn’t matter
On my wall, in my Kitchen, in Cape Town South Africa

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Dear doesn’t matter,
This is a Huntsman Spider, probably a female Heteropoda venatoria, a species that has become very wide spread in ports around the world.  All spiders have venom, but this particular species is not considered dangerous to humans.  The Huntsman Spiders are nocturnal hunters that will feed on Cockroaches.  There are South American Huntsman Spiders that are reported to have dangerous bites.

Letter 4 – Huntsman Spider


Unknown spider ( very pretty )
November 30, 2009
About a year ago i found this spider on my back porch. I tried google-ing it to find out what type it is, but i didn’t really find anything. I understand if you can not get back to me, but thank you for your time. The spider is about the size of post-it note, and i think it is very pretty. =] A. Hamel
Naples, Florida

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Dear A. Hamel,
We have a bit of extra time today, and we are catching up on a few random letters from the past few weeks.  This is a Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria.  It has a worldwide distribution thanks to stowing away on ships and naturalizing in port towns with a mild climate.

Letter 5 – Huntsman Spider in Hawaii


Subject: Is this a Hawaiian Huntsman?
Location: Kailua, HI
January 25, 2013 2:27 pm
My wife and I live in Hawaii on the Island of Oahu. We returned home one winter evening to find the pictured spider climbing all over an artificial landscape rock wall that is partially covered by vines. I searched around the net and arrived at your wonderful site. It appears that this is a Huntsman spider, but I’m a little unclear if it is also known as the Cane Spider? Are the distinctive dots on the back of its abdomen telling of it’s exact species? I think I’m thankful to have him around if he likes to eat cockroaches! Thank you!
Signature: Kevin in Kailua

Huntsman Spider

Hi Kevin,
Cane Spider is a common name associated with one particular species of Huntsman Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, according to the Hawaiian Creatures website.  We cannot say for certain that this is a Cane Spider, but we believe that it is most likely one.  Like many species currently living and thriving on Hawaii, Heteropoda venatoria is an introduced species.  While preparing this response, we stumbled upon a lovely image on FlickR of a Floridian Huntsman eating a Cockroach. 

Thank you so much for the response. I really like the Flickr link to the huntsman eating the cockroach. I see the remarkably similar appearance. I can now welcome this big buy to my property to do his good work.  Your site is a very helpful resource.
Mahalo/thank you!

Letter 6 – Huntsman Spider from Fiji


Subject: Large spider from Fiji
Location: Namotu, Fiji
March 28, 2014 6:20 pm
My wife noticed this gigantic spider when she went to take a shower. After assuring that she was ok, I grabbed my camera. It was about 3 inches across.
Signature: Donald Gudehus

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Hi Donald,
This is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae.  Most are harmless, but there are some tropical species that are quite poisonous.  Ryan PHotographic has some images taken in Fiji.

Letter 7 – Huntsman Spider from Caribbean


Subject: What’s this spider
Location: Eastern Caribbean-Nevis
May 8, 2015 5:36 pm
I live in the Caribbean, St. Kitts & Nevis. We have a spider recently that I’m not familiar with and don’t like finding in my shower as I am a spider phobe! I have a friend who has started finding these at their house also and she does not like them any better than I do. Can you please tell me what it might be and if it has any sort of nasty bite? I’ve had a couple of bad bites in my time that were not fun at all.
Thank you when and if you can answer!
Signature: islandlady

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Dear islandlady,
We agree with your comment that this is a Huntsman Spider.

Letter 8 – Huntsman Spider from Lesvos, Greece


Subject: spider
Location: kalloni – lesvos-greece (north aegean)
July 3, 2016 6:18 am
hi its about a spider i found here some details
place: kalloni – lesvos- greece in a church (was climbing the wall)
size fits in grown mans palm
Signature: spider

Huntsman Spider: Eusparassus walckenaeri
Huntsman Spider: Eusparassus walckenaeri

Because the second set of legs is longer than the first set of legs, we suspect this is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae which is profiled on the Australian Museum site. We searched for images from Lesvos and discovered this Alamy posting identified as Eusparassus walckenaeri.  We verified that identification on Araneae Spiders of Europe.  On The Natural History Museum of Crete site, it states:  “This is a common spider of the Eastern Mediterranean. It is characterized by its large body size (5 cm) that looks even larger because of the long legs always laterally extended, and by an iridescent light which may be observed on its outer surface. It can be found in open ground as well as inside houses where it eats small and large insects, especially cockroaches.”  There are also several images of Eusparassus walckenaeri from Lesbos on FocusNatura. Your image is positively gorgeous.

Letter 9 – Huntsman Spider from South Africa


Subject: Is this a rain spider
Location: Nelspruit Area
July 21, 2017 4:00 am
Hi – This spider seems to be referred to as a rain spider or a huntsman – what is it actually called and what is the difference between this and a wolf spider
Signature: Richard

Huntsman Spider

Dear Richard,
From what we have learned on BioDiversity Explorer, Rain Spider is a name used in South Africa for members of the genus
Palystes.  Your individual looks like it might be Palystes castaneus which is pictured on BioDiversity Explorer, or Palystes superciliosus which is also pictured on BioDiversity Explorer where it states that it is “the most common and widespread species of the genus. It is distribution ranges from Kwazulu-Natal then westwards to Mpumalanga, North West, Limpopo, Gauteng and south through the Free State to the Eastern and Western Cape. Its favoured habitat is scrubland and savannah woodland and it is also typically found in houses.”  Huntsman Spider is a name used in many parts of the world for spiders in the family Sparassidae, also commonly called Giant Crab Spiders, and this is the family that includes the South African Rain Spiders.  So in South Africa, Rain Spider is a term used for a specific genus within the family that includes other Huntsman Spiders, meaning all Rain Spiders are Huntsman Spiders but not all Huntsman Spiders are Rain Spiders.  Wolf Spiders are in a different family.  Scientists classify creatures into families based on physical similarities.  An easy way to distinguish Huntsman Spiders from Wolf Spiders is the eye arrangement pattern.  Both Huntsman Spiders and Wolf Spiders hunt for prey rather than to hunt passively by building a web to snare prey.


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8 Comments. Leave new

  • I have one in my kitchen too. I am a clean freak, so there are no cockroaches. I want people to feel welcome in my home – but giant huntsman spider- you are not welcome!!

  • まつもとマイケル
    September 7, 2014 5:23 am

    Huntsmen spider is not a danger but i do inform you to use caution when dealing with spiders like this because the bite is very very painful. They can grow to a leg span of up to 30cm and can become aggressive.

  • Is the huntsman spider poisonous?
    I see them all over at Hoomaluhia botanical garden here on Oahu and even at inspire church at Waikele Center in Waikele, Waipahu Hawaii.

  • Is the huntsman spider poisonous?
    I see them all over at Hoomaluhia botanical garden here on Oahu and even at inspire church at Waikele Center in Waikele, Waipahu Hawaii.

  • Found one of these in my bathroom in Eresos on Lesvos, it was as the description, big enough to fit in my hand. My wife who doesn’t like spiders decided to call it a Greek Tarantula, which added to the size even had me a little nervous 🙂 It moved extremely fast but I managed to catch it and let it go unharmed into a neighbouring empty house where it can build webs to its heart’s content. Wish I had taken a photo, but the shock of its size had me struggling to remember my own name let alone that I had a camera 🙂

  • Almost all spiders have venom that they use to kill prey. These have venom, but it is not medically significant to humans. A reaction to a bite should be localized and not something to worry about. Spiders mostly bite people in self-defense. This occurs when they are trapped against our skin and the pressure pains them. One may also act aggressive if you handle her egg sac or hatchlings. Like most wild animals they will avoid us if they can and will bite in fear. So, don’t grab the spiders and be aware that spiders under clothes may bite and that’s it.


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