How Long Do Huntsman Spiders Live?

Have you found a huntsman spider in your house and don’t know what to do with it? Wondering whether it will die on its own, or should you call an exterminator? We will answer these questions in the blog below.

One of the most common questions about the Huntsman Spider is how long they live.

People hope and pray that a huntsman in their house might die on its own rather than having to deal with it.

Wondering why this question is so well-searched online?

This is because these species of spiders are humongous in size, fast, agile, and often run directly toward their prey.

Moreover, it is capable of devouring small-sized possums and rodents, so it is certainly a formidable spider.

So let’s answer this question for you in the blog below.

Huntsman Spider

How Long Do They Live?

Huntsman spiders belong to the Sparassidae family of arachnids. They are also known as Giant crab spiders and wood spiders.

Present in almost every continent except the Antarctic and Arctic belt, over 1,300 species of Huntsman spiders have been discovered to date.

They have a longer life cycle compared to most arachnoids. Living up to two years, the spiders shed their skin regularly to keep growing.

The hairy, long-legged spiders may not live like tarantulas for 17 to 20 years, but they certainly live more than 8 to 14 months, as in the case of araneomorph species.

These spiders reach sexual maturity by the age of nine to twelve months and live an additional year or more after that.

Lifecycle of Huntsman Spiders

Once the huntsman spider attains sexual maturity, its physiological appearance changes. In the case of males, the palps (the claw-like things in the front) become bigger.

In females, the genitalia on the underside of their abdomen becomes harder in readiness for producing eggs.

Mating

The males start searching for younger females and guard them until maturity.

Often found in pairs, when it is time, the males vibrate their palps to signal the mating process.

They step on the back of the female spider and insert their embolus into the female epigynum (you probably get what sexual organs they are equivalent to in humans).

The male uses one palp to mate first and then switches sides with the other palp. The mating ritual lasts anywhere between 1 to 8 hrs.

Huntsman Spider

Laying Eggs & Hatchlings

Once the eggs are fertilized, the female spider lays an oval sac made of spider silk inside the loose bark of trees or crevices on rock walls. The sac contains about 180 to 220 eggs.

It takes anywhere between 3 to 4 weeks for the eggs to hatch. The mother opens the egg sac can by tearing it when it is optimal for the hatchlings to emerge.

Once the eggs hatch, the mother stays with the spiderlings until they undergo the first few stages of molting and grow a little bit.

How Big Can They Grow?

It is easy to mistake Huntsman spiders for Tarantula due to their large size and hairy appearance. However, they are easily distinguishable if you look carefully.

These spiders have a very long leg span. While their bodies grow between 0.8 to 1 inch in size, their legs can grow 7 to 12 inches during their lifespan.

At its peak, the giant huntsman spider is as big as a full dinner plate. It is the largest spider by leg span in the world.

Notably, the male huntsmen have longer legs than the females. Also, another difference between huntsmans and tarantulas is the crab-like positioning of the legs.

They are more flat-bodied than tarantulas, which allows them to crawl through the narrowest spaces despite their incredibly long limbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do huntsman spiders jump at you?

When disturbed, they appear to jump or fall from the surface they cling to, but these spiders are not jumpers.

It is their escape mechanism to run away from an alarming scenario by stunning the predators.

They have skinny, long legs located far away from their body, so when they fall, it looks like they are jumping.

Should you leave huntsman spiders in your house?

Huntsman spiders thrive by preying on insects; hence if you have a cockroach or lizard problem in the house, letting the huntsman do its hunting may not be such a bad idea.

These spiders are not at all harmful to humans. Even though they can cause painful bites, they are very timid and usually run away from us instead of trying to pick fights.

You should know that they are venomous spiders, so you should avoid being bitten.

However, these spiders aren’t good as pets, unlike other rare species of spiders, such as tarantulas. Huntsman spiders love to prey, so leaving them alone is a wise choice.

Huntsman Spider

What kills a huntsman spider

Despite their sheer size, it is easy to kill huntsman spiders with insect sprays and aerosol alone. The aerosol impacts their nervous system and stops their breathing.

There is no need to call any insect or pest exterminators. Most often, you can easily capture them in a closed container and release them outside.

Why do huntsman spiders run at you?

Huntsman spiders have feeble vision. In their vision, humans resemble giant predators.

Rather than running at humans, these spiders often try to escape to a safer place the so-called predators cannot reach.

However, because they can’t see so well, they rush toward us rather than away.

Huntsman Spiders Aren’t Going To Die Away Quickly

Huntsman spiders do not bite humans without cause, nor do they pose a threat. However, their creepy crawly appearance can shock kids and adults alike.

Though they rarely appear as unwanted guests in human homes, it is best to capture and release them in the forest if you find one.

They can live for more than two years, so if you don’t like them, don’t wait around for them to die.

The huntsman spider is highly beneficial in handling unnecessary pests and insects that thrive on the destruction of the natural ecological balance.

If you find one in your home, you can release it in your garden and reap the benefits.

Reader Emails

Readers who found a huntsman spider in their house have asked us this question many times over – how long do they live?

Over the years, we have received several such SOS emails, and here is a sample of a few of them.

Letter 1 – Australian Fishing Spider?????? or Bark Huntsman Spider????

 

Hello Bugman!!
my name is phil and i live in a small town called wondai in QLD australia and i found this spider on a dirt road in the bush on one of my long walks, it was about 5 cm in diameter, was very low and close to the ground and was really really fast. What is it?

We thought this looked like one of the American Fishing Spiders in the genus Dolomedes. Some research we did indicates, according to Wikipedia, that there are several Australian species, but we have been unsuccessful in locating any images that will corroborate this. If this spider was near a body of water, that is additional support that our speculation is correct. Perhaps our faithful reader and contributor Grev will have more luck with an exact identification.

Letter 2 – Huntsman spider?

 

Hullo Daniel,
I am wondering if this is a type of Huntsman spider- Pediana regina, the Bark Huntsman, which are found in Queensland. See:
http://www.brisbaneinsects.com/brisbane_spiders/BarkHuntsmanSpider.htm
Kind regards,
Grev

Thanks Grev,
We believe you are probably correct.

Letter 3 – Huntsman Spider from Indonesia

 

What spider is this? ::
Location: Bali, Indonesia in the city of Kuta
November 4, 2010 2:44 pm
Hello bugman,
We came across the biggest spider we ever witnessed in real life on our honeymoon in Bali, Indonesia … specifically the city of Kuta. As my wife was digging through her suitcase this spider scatters out from under her clothes. Scary to say the least. The spider was at least 4-5 inches wide.
Signature: Namski

Huntsman Spider

Dear Namski,
Your spider is a male
Heteropoda venatoria, commonly called a Huntsman Spider or sometimes a Banana Spider.  This species is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia, though the cultivation and shipment of bananas has resulted in the range expansion to include most port cities around the world in warm climates.  The species is not considered dangerous and it is a nocturnal hunter that preys upon Cockroaches.

Huntsman Spider

Letter 4 – Green Huntsman Spider from Kenya: Octuple amputee after Wasp Attack!!!

 

More spiders
Location: Masai Mara, Kenya
December 22, 2010 5:30 am
Hi Bugman,
More spider close-ups from Kenya!
Picture 1: Green Huntsman Spider (Olios correvoni)from the family Sparassidae. I watched in awe as all 8 of his legs were removed with surgical precision by a spider-hunting wasp!

Signature: Zarek

Huntsman Spider without Legs

Hi again Zarek,
We are finally getting around to reading and posting your final email, again with three different species that need to be separately archived, and we are in total amazement of this image of an octuple amputee.  We are salivating at the thought that you might have some images of the Spider Wasp in the act of removing the Huntsman Spider’s legs.  If you do, please send us a few.

I wish I had that picture!!!  I didn’t have my camera on me when the whole thing went down.  I had to run and get it after marking the spot where the dead spider lay – after the fact.
Here’s what happened:
I saw a spider hanging on a single strand of silk from a tree branch and saw something flying around it.  Whatever it was that was flying flew straight into the spider and there was a bit of a tussle mid-air.  Then the insect flew off, leaving the spider flailing wildly from its silk strand.  The wasp (though I didn’t realize it was a wasp until later) flew back, hit the spider once more and the spider dropped to the ground.  I quickly got up from where I was sitting and called other people over.  We watched this wasp systematically, and with surgical precision, cut off each leg of the spider with its mandibles.  The spider seemed to give no resistance, so I assume that last hit from the wasp was a sting that either killed it or anaesthetized it.
Once all 8 legs (minus the pedipalps you see in the picture) had been removed, the wasp picked up the spider under its belly with its two middle legs and began walking across the pebbles it was on.  Some distance away, it stopped, flew off, then flew back again and stuck its stinger into the spider’s head. Do Pompilidae wasps oviposit in Huntsman spiders’ heads??  I’ll look it up and find out.
The wasp then flew off and didn’t come back.
One of the most exciting wildlife kills I’ve ever seen in the Mara!
Here’s a link describing almost exactly what I saw:
http://www.sciencentre.qm.qld.gov.au/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Insects/Wasps+and+bees/Common+species/Spider+Wasps
However, as I said, the wasp did not carry it away very far.  It certainly didn’t carry it to a burrow.
Oh ya, it was a Batozonellus spp. wasp from the family Pompilidae (subfamily pompilinae)

Letter 5 – Huntsman Spider

 

Spider ID Help
Location: Duval County, NE Florida
April 18, 2012 11:58 am
This spider is outside our front door, no longer alive due to natural causes. We have found a number of these around our home, both inside and outside, and are afraid they may be brown recluses. As we have both kids and dogs in our home, we really need to know.
The FL Dept. of Agriculture website isn’t really clear on how to tell the difference between recluses and huntsman spiders, and we don’t want to go around killing things without knowing if they are a threat. Please help!
Signature: Stormcarver

Huntsman Spider

Dear Stormcarver,
Your spider is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, an introduced species that is a nocturnal hunter that feeds on cockroaches.  Those long fangs or chelicerae are used by the female to carry her egg sac about.  See this BugGuide image.  Brown Recluse Spiders are much smaller.

Letter 6 – Huntsman Spider

 

Subject: South Florida Spider
Location: Fort Meyers, fl
December 4, 2012 9:05 pm
I found 2 of these at a new house I just bought in fort Meyers,fl… What kind of spider is this? Do I have a nest?
Signature: Plee

Huntsman Spider

Hi Plee,
This Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria, is an introduced species that has naturalized in the Gulf States.  It is considered a harmless species, but since it is a nocturnal hunter that feeds on Cockroaches, you might want to consider allowing them to share your new home.  See BugGuide for additional information.

Letter 7 – Possibly Huntsman Spider

 

Subject: Spider
Location: Kruger National Park, South.
January 10, 2014 4:35 am
Saw this one in Kruger National Park 31.-12.-2013.
Could you tell me what specie?
Signature: Michael

Probably Huntsman Spider
Probably Huntsman Spider

Dear Michael,
Though there is not much detail in your image, the general shape of the spider leads us to believe that this is a Huntsman Spider, probably a male and possibly
Heteropoda venatoria which is a nonnative species introduced to South Africa.

Letter 8 – Book Review: A Huntsman Spider in My House … by Michelle Ray

 

December 15, 2014
Book Review:  A Huntsman Spider in My House by Michelle Ray and illustrated by Sylvie Ashford
We quickly jumped on the opportunity to review Michelle Ray’s new children’s book and we are pleased to endorse the message it conveys.  The home does contain many unwelcome pests, but there are also many beneficial species that either accidentally or purposely find themselves inside.  Huntsman Spiders are common in Australia, and they are generally considered benign creatures that do no harm to human inhabitants, yet they are frequently subject to unnecessary carnage because they are large and scary appearing to the uninformed public.  The young, nameless female protagonist of Sylvie Ashford’s charming book speaks in rhyme as she explains the habits of Huntsman Spiders to children as well as to the adults that read the book aloud.  Our personal favorite of all of Sylvie Ashford’s colorful illustrations is the one that accompanies the text “I could squash him with my shoe, but he’s not hurting me.”  We thoroughly endorse educating young children to have more tolerance for the lower beasts in hope of reducing Unnecessary Carnage.  This book is suitable for young children learning to read and it has particular relevance for Australian children.  This book is a nice stocking stuffer.

Unnecessary Carnage averted:  "I could squash him with my shoe, but he's not hurting me."  Illustration by Sylvie Ashford
Unnecessary Carnage averted: “I could squash him with my shoe, but he’s not hurting me.” Illustration by Sylvie Ashford

Subject: Huntsman Spider Children’s Book Review Request
Website: www.littleaussiecritters.com
November 29, 2014 12:43 am
Hi Daniel
I hope you are well.
My name is Michelle Ray and I am a childrens author from Sydney, Australia.
I would like to ask if you would consider writing an honest review on your blog of my new children’s picture book titled ‘A Huntsman Spider In My House’ for 0-5 years, it is educational, charmingly illustrated and fun.
I would love to send you a copy.
I love your blog, book and ethos and support your efforts to promote the life of bugs and spiders of course!
If you are willing, I will pop one in the post to you – please let me know where to send it and if you have any other thoughts.
I hope to hear from you,
best wishes,
Michelle Ray
www.littleaussiecritters.com
Signature: Michelle Ray

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

11 thoughts on “How Long Do Huntsman Spiders Live?”

  1. That poor spider! I already think being parasitized by a spider wasp must be one of the top 10 worst ways to die (be thankful there are none that attack humans), and having all your legs bitten off just adds insult to injury.

    Perhaps the purpose of biting off the legs is to make it fit easier in a narrow burrow, or be easier to carry.

    Reply
  2. OH MY GOODNESS! I found a smallish (body roughly 6-8mm long) green spider which had had its legs removed by some creature or another, and I had been searching for possible culprits… I even thought perhaps it was my much-younger brother, as I found it on my parents’ patio table. It was such a mystery at the time, but the possibility that it was a wasp is very neat!

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the info! I live in Seminyak, Bali, Indonesia (very close to Kuta), found one of these in my house last night about the same size as the one you found. We picked it up in cup and put it off in the far end of the garden for it to continue his nocturnal hunting.

    Reply
  4. Ide like more info on the phoneutrignigriventer- brazilian spider- on the subject of it’s venom as an aphrodisiac (sp).
    An article I read a couple of years ago stateted that a doctor helped a young lad that was bitten by one.
    To my knowledge no one has followed up on this yet
    It could be the best thing ever for ED for men over all the other so called mail orders that have been tried with no results.
    If there is anyone that can search this topic and get back to me on it or who may want to try and developed it please reply.

    Reply
  5. If you are really concerned about it running around while trying to catch it – splash some water on the spider to stun it. This will slow that bugger down enough for you to capture in a jar and move out. 😉

    Reply

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