Huntsman spiders don’t spin webs; they attack and hunt their prey down with superior speed. So how fast is a huntsman spider? Let’s find out.
Usain Bolt runs at a speed that is equal to about 5.3 times the length of his body. But a huntsman spider (also known as the giant crab spider) can reach up to 42 times their body length! Even animals like Cheetahs are no match for that speed.
Despite their super speed, Huntsman spiders are not very dangerous to humans. They usually dwell under the bark of dead trees or in crevices between rocks. They won’t attack unless you disturb or threaten them.
How Fast Can a Huntsman Spider Run?
The Huntsman spider is one of the fastest species of spiders on earth. A giant huntsman spider, usually male, can run at a speed of nearly 196 inches per second (about 2.2mph), and female huntsman spiders can also run at similar speeds.
Now, that might not sound very impressive to you. However, that’s not the right way to look at their speed.
Consider this: a spider can only travel as much distance as her legs will carry her, and the same is true for a human. Therefore, the right measure to compare is how much distance she travels as compared to her body length, rather than just the actual speed number.
If you measure the huntsman spider by diameter, it can reach about 12 inches. This is because huntsman spiders often have legs that are between 9.8 to 11.8 inches in length. However, the average huntsman spider is only about 5-6 inches long.
Now, compare the 196 inches per second figure we talked about earlier: that’s about 40 times the length of the average huntsman. If you compare that to the fastest human on earth, Usain Bolt, he only runs at about 5.2 times his body length!
Do Huntsman Spiders Intentionally Chase You?
Huntsman spiders do not intentionally chase after humans. They usually run only when they are provoked or if they sense danger. But this does not mean that they are chasing you.
The spider is most likely looking for a place to hide. Remember, to the spider; you are a huge being that they think is out to hurt them.
However, sometimes a female huntsman spider might run to chase you if she perceives that you are a threat to her egg sacs. This is when she can get very aggressive.
Now, it can be quite scary when you see a giant huntsman spider, sometimes the size of a dinner plate, running toward you.
But the fact is that the vision of a huntsman spider is not very clear. They might just be desperately trying to flee from you. It does not mean that the spider is chasing you.
In fact, like most spiders, their eyesight is so poor that they hardly use it at all. They use their legs for hunting prey. Their legs help them sense vibrations in the ground and figure out where the prey is moving.
Should I Worry if I Get Bitten by a Huntsman Spider?
Most species of huntsman spiders generally do not bite humans. However, they will attack and bite if you disturb them. These spiders are venomous, but their venom isn’t strong enough to harm humans.
When a huntsman spider bites, you might feel a fair bit of pain, and there will be some swelling around the area. This localized swelling will stay for a while.
Depending on the intensity of the bites, you will feel other effects. Sometimes, you might get a headache. You might also feel nauseous or even start vomiting.
However, the bite will usually not require hospitalization. But if you feel your pulse rate is irregular or if the effects seem to be severe, it is best to seek medical attention.
To treat the bite at home:
- The first thing you must do is lie down and relax.
- Clean the affected area with water
- Treat it with a skin-safe disinfectant.
- Press an ice pack to soothe the area.
- Don’t wrap a pressure bandage as it will only cause the pain to worsen.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the fastest spider in the world?
The Moroccan Flic-Flac is the fastest spider on earth, with a speed of about 100 body lengths. The giant house spider is another contender for the top spot with a one mph speed.
Huntsman spiders are also one of the fastest spiders in the world. A particular species of huntsman spider, Holconia hirsuta, can run at a speed of more than 40 times their body lengths per second.
Do giant huntsman spiders jump?
Huntsman spiders don’t usually jump, but they look like they are jumping when they fall from a height while escaping.
While they are not the largest spiders, huntsman spiders are quite sizeable, and their long legs extend out, giving them a crab-like appearance. This crouched, crab-like position makes them look like they are jumping down.
Are huntsman spiders friendly?
Huntsman spiders are non-aggressive. They may not look friendly, but they are unlikely to seek you out and chase or bite. However, one wouldn’t classify them as friendly either.
Huntsman spiders are usually found under loose bark but may enter your home, but having one around the house is not like having a pet.
They will hunt for food like small insects and cockroaches around the house. They will not attack you unless provoked, but it can be a horrifying sight to watch them hunt.
What spiders move very fast?
Aussie huntsman spiders move very fast. They can reach incredibly high speeds within seconds. Several other fast-moving spiders include Moroccan flic-flac spiders, flattie spiders, giant house spiders, and wolf spiders.
Huntsman spiders have a bit of a bad reputation because of their name. But contrary to popular belief, they don’t hunt or prey on humans.
So, if you see a huntsman spider on your sun visor or inside your home, don’t panic.
As long as they don’t feel threatened, they won’t attack. Thank you for reading!
Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.
Letter 1 – Huntsman Spider
Subject: Is this a Huntsman spider?
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
June 17, 2017 2:16 pm
My mom and I were at a bank drive thru in Arizona today, it’s 111° out right now, and we saw the biggest 6-legged spider that either of us had ever seen! It didn’t move much, but when it did it seemed to be very fast. The woman inside the bank said she could see it from where she was, it was that big!! In other posts, you’ve mentioned that Huntsman spiders are nocturnal, but this one was out during the middle of a hot day, albeit not in the sun. Can you tell me what kind of spider this was and if they are typically found in Arizona?
Signature: Tonya in AZ
You are correct that this is a Huntsman Spider in the genus Olios, and though they are nocturnal hunters, this individual might have found itself far from shelter when the sun came up. Missing legs seems to be a common occurrence among Huntsman Spiders.
Letter 2 – Huntsman Spider
Subject: Big Gentle Spider
Geographic location of the bug: Lake Havasu, California side
Time: 10:15 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Well, here we go again! We have moved to Lake Havasu, CA. Upon arrival at our new rental, we noticed a very large spider on the lanai or screen room which encompasses the home facing the lake. We felt lucky to have this beautiful specimen. Today, this one managed to enter the home and was above my desk. We caught it up and placed it back in the original place we first saw it. We now have another that lives near the outdoor laundry area.
Not quick, somewhat docile, and they do seem to kind of curl up during the day as if resting. Am I correct in identifying this lovely inhabitant as a Huntsman of sorts?
I’d love to know and as usual, look forward to hearing of what this species is. Thanks so much!
Oh and on a side note, we sent a letter months ago about a new Spider we found that we call Aragog. She was identified as a Southern House Spider. She is doing very well and is happy in her Critter keeper, well fed!
Thanks again! Love this site!
How you want your letter signed: Keeper of T’s
Dear Keeper of T’s,
We hare happy to hear that Aragog is still thriving. Your new spider is indeed a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider, and we have seen this species referred to as a Golden Huntsman Spider in the past, but BugGuide does not include that common name for Olios giganteus. Interestingly, according to Spider ID: “Olios giganteus has been primarily sighted during the month of March.” According to Desert Museum: “This is a hunting spider that wanders in search of insect prey, then relies on speed to catch it. During the day it hides, its flattened body perfectly designed for fitting into narrow cracks or fissures. At night it comes out to hunt. Reportedly, its bite is painful, though it is not dangerous to humans. These spiders generally settle into one place only at egg-laying time. Females produce large egg bags that they hide in and guard.”
Wonderful! And March was our first sighting! Splendid creatures indeed! =]
Thank you for your response,
Letter 3 – Huntsman Spider
Subject: Huntsman Spider
Geographic location of the bug: Phoenix, AZ
Time: 06:15 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Found this rather large spider on my pool fence in summer. Leg span appeared to be around 4 inches or so.
How you want your letter signed: Ed
Thanks so much for sending in your detailed images of a Huntsman Spider in the genus Olios.
Letter 4 – Huntsman Spider
huge spider in my house…is this poisonous?
Can you please identify the spider in the attached picture? To give you an idea of the scale, the picture in the frame is an 8.5” x 11’ (not including the matting and frame around it). Thank you for your help.
St. Petersburg , FL
All spiders are poisonous since all spiders have venom, but that is not a cause for alarm. Most cannot bite through human skin and most do not have venom strong enough to have much more than a mild reaction like a mosquito bite (one not containing the West Nile Virus). This is a Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria, also known as a Banana Spider. Nephila clavipes, the Golden Silk Spider is also called a Banana Spider. We have not posted a photo of Heteropoda venatoria in a very long time. We have many images among our spider archives. Heteropoda venatoria has a near worldwide distribution in warmer areas with ports. They arrive by ship thereby increasing their range. Heteropoda venatoria is not a dangerous spider despite it large size. They are hunting spiders that do not build webs and they have nocturnal habits. In many tropical countries they are encouraged to cohabitate with people since they feed on cockroaches. This is a male.