Do you have a huntsman spider in your home? Are you wondering how to deal with a huntsman spider that looks like it is going to attack you? Let’s find out
Huntsman spiders are one of the many spider species that are not deadly to humans. However, they can be unwelcome houseguests.
If you have one in your house, the first thing to remember is to calm yourself. Remember that there are ways to dispose of it, either on your own or with the help of a professional. It will most likely not attack you, and even if it did, the bite wouldn’t cause much harm.
Moreover, know that there is no reason for you to try and kill a huntsman spider. The best thing to do is to just return it back outside the home, where it belongs.
Why Huntsman Spiders Come Into Homes
The Huntsman species of spider displays foraging behavior in its hunt for food. Unlike other spiders, huntsman spiders don’t spin a web around their prey to kill it.
Instead, they use their legs to sense their prey and then use their superior speed to attack it. This foraging tendency sometimes leads them inside human homes.
Their diet includes insects and arthropods, so if one of these things has come into your home, or you have an infestation of these creatures, a huntsman spider might very well show up inside your place.
Huntsman spiders also eat small lizards and frogs, which is why you might sometimes find them in your garden or near water bodies.
Another reason why huntsman spiders come into homes is to escape extreme weather. The ideal temperature for a huntsman spider is between 75 to 85F.
If the heat is unbearable or if it is too cold or wet outside, huntsman spiders may seek shelter indoors. But, despite being one of the biggest spider species, they can be quite harmless.
How To Get Rid of Huntsman Spiders?
If you want to get rid of giant crab spiders inside your home or in your garden, the first thing to do is locate why they are in your house – what’s the food source they have chased inside your home?
Check if there is any pest infestation or arthropods living under the floorboards or within crevices. You can also call pest control and get some treatments done to prevent infestation.
This will help you get rid of huntsman spiders automatically.
Most spiders cannot stand certain scents like peppermint oil. You can put a few drops of this scented oil around the house to keep them from coming in.
How To Gently Remove a Huntsman Spider
If you find a huntsman spider in your home, don’t try to chase it or crush it. It might run towards you or simply run away and hide in a place where you won’t be able to find it.
Instead, approach it slowly without disturbing it. Place a plastic container over the spider and hold it in place. Then, take a sheet of paper and gently slide it under the container. Now, take the container outside and release the spider.
However, before you approach a spider to dispose of it, be sure about the species. If it has a brown color, it may not be a huntsman spider. So check for other markers for correct identification before you try to remove it.
Crushing a spider is one of the worst ideas because if it turns out to be a female with its egg sac attached to it, you will end up having an infestation of baby huntsman spiders in your house.
How To Kill a Huntsman Spider
There’s really never any need to kill a huntsman spider. Huntsman spiders cannot fatally harm humans, and they typically don’t even consider humans as prey.
If you find one or more in your house, it is best to call pest control and get rid of them. However, this does not mean getting someone to kill the spider. Instead, a professional will use the same method we described earlier to put it in a safe place in its natural habitat.
Sometimes, people mistake the brown recluse spider for a huntsman spider. This spider species can cause considerable damage to humans, so you need to be very careful.
However, no matter how venomous the spider is, it is always wise to look for alternatives to killing it. You should always try to gently trap the spider and take it outside or simply call for professional assistance.
Don’t Hurt a Huntsman – They Are Not Dangerous to You
Huntsman spiders may look scary, but they are not dangerous. They might be one of the largest spider species, but huntsman spiders rarely attack humans. So, while you may not want to keep them at home, there is no need to hurt them.
Huntsman spiders’ venom is non-lethal to humans. It is unlikely that you will need medical attention if you get bitten.
But on rare occasions, a huntsman spider’s bite can cause nausea, headaches, heart palpitations, erratic pulse, and vomiting. However, this is still not reason enough to hurt a huntsman spider.
Huntsman spiders are great for pest control. They eat insects and other pests. So if you see one in your house, release it into your garden or out in the wild instead of hurting or killing it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do huntsman spiders jump at you?
Huntsman spiders do not deliberately jump at you. They may fall from the surface while trying to escape. It looks like they are jumping because of their crab-like posture.
However, huntsman spiders rarely target humans. They are usually scared and tend to run away. So as long as you don’t go digging around a piece of loose bark and disturb their nests, you should not encounter a huntsman spider.
Can you handle a huntsman spider?
You need to be very careful while handling a huntsman spider. It can bite if you don’t know the right technique for picking it up.
If it does, immediately clean and press an ice pack to the wound. When you are unsure about handling the spider, you should call in pest control professionals.
Should you leave huntsman spiders in your house?
You can leave a huntsman spider in your house. It can get rid of other pests and is not a dangerous spider, for humans at least.
However, you may not want to share your home with such an unwanted guest. In that case, it is best to gently remove the spider and ensure that it doesn’t enter again.
Why do huntsman spiders run towards you?
Huntsman spiders usually run when frightened. Therefore, if they are running toward you, it is not to attack you but to escape. They have poor eyesight and rely on their legs to tell them about dangers nearby and which direction to run in.
This is why they might run towards you instead of away from you. With a leg span of almost 12 inches, giant huntsman spiders run very fast, and that can seem disturbing. But you should remain calm and just let them be.
If you have a fear of creepy crawlies, you will want to be miles away from a huntsman spider. But if you stumble across one, remember not to panic. You can calmly remove the spider without getting bitten. We hope you were able to deal with any huntsman spider you had in your home, and thank you for reading!
Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.
Letter 1 – Drowning Casualty: Golden Huntsman Spider
Mesa Arizona. Found dead at the bottom of my pool , June 2005 . Brown recluse? Spider had hairs, which haven ‘ t come out in the photo.
Not a Recluse, but a Golden Huntsman Spider, on of the Giant Crab Spiders.
Letter 2 – Huntsman Spider from South Africa
Subject: They taking over!!
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa.
October 9, 2013 1:19 pm
My house is being taken over by spiders… ok, I might be exaggerating a bit. I have found four of these guys in my house in the past two days. Three of them have a leg span about the size of a hand (super scary looking) the fourth a lot smaller. It’s the third image. I am in South Africa, inland and it’s early spring. I would really appreciate an identification. I just need to know if I can just keep scooping them outside or if in fact they are trying to eat me.
Dear Spider Bait,
We believe this Huntsman Spider is Heteropoda venatoria, a species introduced to South Africa, most likely on banana shipments, hence the common name Banana Spider. You can read more on the Institute for the Study of Invasive Species website.
Letter 3 – Huntsman Spider from South Africa
October 25, 2013 1:03 pm
I rent a bachelor of which all my windows are at ground level due to the mountainous incline of the ground. Of amongst all the things that occasionally dare it into my space, there are spiders, and I am not a screaming girl, but these spiders are HUGE, they vary in size from [body span] about 4 cm – 10 cm. I caught one in a large round salad bowl of which the bottom diameter? is 20 cm and this creature’s leg span filled it. I haven’t killed any yet, but I am getting tired of having to catch these things, almost daily… Is there a natural repellent, like a type of plant or something to discourage them from making my home theirs?
They are big brown, 6 eyes, some have small white lined markings on the top, some have had red talons (if that’s what they’re even called), others have a striped leg pattern, their mostly nocturnal, and tonight I caught one with a very distinct goldish color V-shaped marking at the bottom of it’s back body, and they do come in different sizes.
Please let me know how to get them to leave me in peace without killing them off…
I don’t have a decent camera, but tried to get pics of the last 2 I caught.
This is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider, but we cannot determine the species. They are nocturnal hunters and are generally shy around humans. We will be postdating your submission to go live in early November when we are away from the office.
Letter 4 – Huntsman Spider from South Africa
Subject: Huntsman spider
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
December 2, 2013 1:25 pm
Can you perhaps indicate if this is a huntsman spider? I googled and looks like it also can be a violin spider. I took this pic at my home in Pretoria South Africa.
Signature: best regards… Johan
We agree that this is Huntsman Spider, and it might be a male Heteropoda venatoria.
Letter 5 – Huntsman Spider, we believe
“Illegal” spiter at Port of Miami
Thu, Mar 5, 2009 at 8:53 AM
Found this spider in a container of crushed aluminum cans inbound from El Salvador at the port of Miami, the body is approximately 1 inch. The spider does not show aggression at all. I know that identifying spiders is not easy, but I do not want to send her to the extension service in alcohol, so your help is in appreciated it for the safe release of the spider. Just want your opinion if it is safe to release.
We are relatively certain this is a Huntsman Spider in the family Heteropodidae. One of the most widely ranging Huntsman Spiders is Heteropoda venatoria, but we are not certain your specimen is that species. Heteropoda venatoria is a harmless nocturnal hunter. We understand that some tropical Huntsman Spiders are quite poisonous.
Letter 6 – Male Huntsman Spider
Subject: Huge spider
Location: Downtown Pensacola, FL
May 10, 2016 4:44 pm
I captured and released this monster in Pensacola today. The pictures don’t show his true size. I’m pretty sure he could take down an alligator. Aside from scorpions and tarantulas I’ve never seen anything this big. What is this bug?
Sent from my iPhone
Signature: Bob in Pensacola
Dear Bob in Pensacola,
Huntsman Spider and Banana Spider are two common names for your male Heteropoda venatoria, a harmless species that is tolerated in many parts of the tropics because they are nocturnal hunters that do not spin webs and that really enjoy eating Cockroaches. They are called Banana Spiders because they are the mythical Tarantulas that entered the U.S. on banana shipments for time centuries.
Letter 7 – Net Casting Spider and Huntsman Spider
Oddities from around the globe
I just stumbled across your site and it looks like a useful resource. In fact at the moment I’m aiming to create my own site with species lists, photos and profiles for species from parts of the world I’ve visited. I’m particularly keen on finding information on species I haven’t been able to track down on the internet, since there’s a good chance others will have the same difficulty and my site could prove helpful to them. I’ve collected a fair few photos of unidentifiable insects and arachnids over the years, so I’m afraid this could take several e-mails. First up: An unusual net-casting spider from Mt Spec, Paluma Range National Park, in the Australian Wet Tropics. I’m afraid it’s not the world’s best photo, but the rounded body is unlike any net caster I’ve been able to find information on. Next: A brown huntsman spider (genus Heteropoda), also from the Wet Tropics (further north, in Babinda). Is this photo good enough to allow identification to species level? 3. A dragonfly from Queensland, near the Basalt River. There are more dragonflies to come, I’m afraid – this is the group I’ve had most trouble identifying. More to come. Thanks for bearing with me!
You have overwhelmed us with the quantity of critters you want us to identify. Sadly, our identification capabilities do not extend into exotic tropical locations. We are thrilled to post your Net Casting Spider photo as we have one on our site, sans net. Dragonflies often give us problems as well. We encourage you to set up your own site and we will gladly provide a link when you do.
Letter 8 – Possibly Cave Dwelling Huntsman Spider from Vietnam
Subject: Vietnam cave dwelling spider
Location: Marble mountains, near Da Nang, Vietnam
April 13, 2014 12:23 pm
We were exploring a dark cave, in the marble mountains, near Hoi An, Vietnam, in March this year, and came across this spider. It’s hard to tell in the photo we took but it’s leg span was approx 5-6 inches. It had striped markings on it. It was in a pitch black cave, we discovered it trying to find our way using a camera flash! Would be really interested to find out what kind of spider it is!
We cannot say for certain, but the general shape of this spider as well as the size you indicate leads us to believe this is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae. We will attempt additional research.
Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly. That is really interesting, thank you!
Letter 9 – Wandering Spider
Roatan Honduras Spider? Crab?
Location: Roatan, Honduras
January 2, 2011 10:44 pm
I snapped this photo of what I thought was a huge spider on Roatan Honduras. The local told me it was a crab, not a spider. Any ideas?
Signature: Thanks! Laurie
It is impossible to be certain because of the angle of your photograph, but we believe this is a Huntsman Spider, possibly Heteropoda venatoria. It is not a crab.
Letter 10 – Possibly Huntsman Spider from Ecuador
Giant spider in Ecuador
Fri, Nov 21, 2008 at 1:08 PM
Friend that’s visiting found this spider in her sink – then behind her hand towel. it’s about 4-inches across. Is there a potential that this is venomous?
Curious in CA
Ecuador – Quito
Our first thought was that this resembled some type of Huntsman Spider. We received a previous photo from Ecuador that Eric Eaton identified as probably a Huntsman Spider, and we also posted images of large spiders from Costa Rica about the same time. Eric Eaton wrote to caution readers about large tropical spiders. Here is what he wrote: ” Ok, the spiders from Ecuador and Costa Rica: They are most likely NOT wolf spiders, but wandering spiders, either in the family Ctenidae or Sparassidae. They tend to be more common, and even larger than, wolf spiders in the tropics. At least one species, Phoneutria fera, is extremely aggressive, with potentially deadly venom. Do not mess with large spiders in Central and South America! The venomous types are very difficult to distinguish from harmless species, and in any event, a bite is going to be really painful. These spiders sometimes stow away in bananas, houseplants, and other exported goods, so they can show up in odd places. Be careful where you put your hands.” We are not certain that this spider is a dangerous species, but we would urge caution. In North America, the Huntsman Spiders, though large and scary, are harmless.
Wow, you have been very busy posting! I turn my back for a week and….wham! LOL!
Also, I need to amend my commentary on the neotropical “wandering spiders.” Apparently envenomation symptoms vary considerably, from mild to death. Big help, eh? It depends on whether it is a dry bite or not, and how an individual’s immune system responds to envenomation. Please prompt me to send along an article about them (I need an address, though).
Letter 11 – Probably Huntsman Spider from Peruvian Amazon
Spider in Peru
Location: Peruvian Amazon near the village of Santa Maria, 20 miles from Iquitos
October 13, 2011 12:22 am
Hello, while we were in the Peruvian Amazon last month, we found this spider on one of our beds in our jungle lodge. It was about 3-4 inches in size (including the legs).
We believe this is a Huntsman Spider or Wandering Spiderthough obviously not the same species we provided a link to. Huntsman Spider or Wandering Spiders are hunting spiders that do not build a web to trap prey. They often hunt nocturnally. Some tropical species are reported to be poisonous to humans.
Thank you! We tried to sweep it out of the room but it just quickly dodged our attempt and stood it’s ground. We eventually had to ask one of the jungle guides to come into the room to get it out. When the jungle guide saw it, he took a quick swat at it to get it off of the bed and repeatedly stepped on it until it eventually died. He then grabbed some toilet paper to pick it up and take it out of the room. This was the complete opposite of how the guides gently handled the other spiders we had encountered, so I can’t help but think this one was poisonous!
Letter 12 – Unknown Huntsman Spider from Japan
Huntsman Spider…I think
I love your website! I check it everyday, it is by far the best website I ever have been too about insects (and arachnids!) My friend was in Miyajima, Japan. This picture is of it on the bathroom wall she said that they saw it at night, and when I did a little reasearch on it I found the Huntsman Spiders were nocternal..is that true? I hope you can use this picture!
As you know, we have not posted in several days since we were away with the students. This is a Huntsman Spider, but we are not sure of the species. The markings are sure beautiful.
Letter 13 – Wandering Spider or Huntsman Spider from Ecuador
Wandering spider in Ecuadorian Chocó
January 1, 2010
Being in Ecuador there is plenty of opportunity for ecological experience.
On a night walk in a forest area in Puerto Quito (Western lowland, Chocó region) I almost stepped on this interesting fellow in December 2009. It was a rainy night.
The spider was standing on the ground, hardly moving, even when I measured its body length. It was about 31-32 mm, and its leg span between 11 and 12 cm. Quite impressive and grey as a wolf.
However, I can’t tell wether this might be a giant crab spider/huntsman spider or a wandering spider. The animal was not aggressive at all, but turned into a defensive position (shown on the other photo) when I measured it with a “paper ruler”.
When I returned later it had disappeared.
Might this even be a Phoneutria species?
Thank you so much for an answer, I’m very curious!
Puerto Quito, Western Ecuador
Happy New Year Dan,
We don’t really have the necessary skills to answer your questions, but we will post your photos in the hopes that one of our readers might assist. In North America, Giant Crab Spiders or Huntsman Spiders in the family Sparasidae are quite harmless, though it is our understanding that some tropical Huntsman Spiders can be quite venomous. We would not discount your speculation that this might be a dangerous Wandering Spider in the genus Phoneutria which may be seen on Wikipedia.