How Venomous Is A Huntsman Spider? Truth Revealed

If you have found a huntsman spider in your home, you need to know how venomous it is. Read on to find out the answer.

 

Often known as banana spiders or giant crab spiders, huntsman spiders are some of the largest in the world. There are thousands of subspecies of this arachnid, but the giant huntsman spider is the most well-known because of its size.

While they look dangerous, they are not very lethal (not to humans at least). However, like all spiders, they are venomous. A huntsman spider’s bite can cause quite a bit of discomfort.

 

How Venomous Is A Huntsman Spider

 

How Poisonous Is a Huntsman Spider?

Huntsman spiders are not poisonous (like some other species of arachnids). They are venomous. This means that if you touch them, you are not going to be affected, but if they bite you, there are going to be some effects of that.

All spiders, including the huntsman spider, have venom. However, the venom of the huntsman spider is not life-threatening unless you develop an allergic reaction to it. Allergic reactions to huntsman spider bites are not common.

That said, it is best to avoid a huntsman spider and let it be. Don’t go digging around loose bark while gardening, or try to pick up a huntsman spider if you find one. They will perceive you as a threat and can bite.

Do Huntsman Spiders Bite and Are They Dangerous?

Despite their name, huntsman spiders are not dangerous spiders. They prefer to take cover instead of trying to bite a human.

However, in some circumstances, huntsman spiders might bite, especially if it is a female spider that is protecting her eggs. In such situations, a huntsman spider will bite when provoked.

When a huntsman spider bites, you will feel some pain for a while. There will be localized swelling as well. You might get a headache or feel nauseous. In some cases, the bite may result in heart palpitations of reduced pulse rate for some time.

The bite can lead to inflammation as the venom spreads. When that happens, the doctor will prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs for relief.

 

How Venomous Is A Huntsman Spider

 

What To Do If You’re Bitten by a Huntsman Spider?

f you have been bitten by a huntsman spider, there is no need to panic. The first thing you should do is relax and lie down on a bed. Then you need to start treating the area.

Use some water to clean the wound thoroughly. Be careful not to rub or scratch the area. Next, apply a safe disinfectant.

When you apply the disinfectant, it might sting a little. To soothe the skin, press an ice pack on the affected area.

The venom does not spread too quickly. Therefore, it is best to disinfect the area to stop the spread. Do not apply a pressure bandage.

You are likely to feel some of the effects of the bite, like headache, nausea, etc., for some time. If any of these effects persist or the intensity increases, consult a doctor immediately.

How To Prevent Huntsman Spiders From Entering Your Home?

Huntsman spiders are found in Australia, New Zealand, South America, and also in certain subtropical areas in the United States. While they mostly reside in the wild, sometimes, these spiders can come indoors.

It is very common for people in Australia and New Zealand to find huntsman spiders inside their cars and homes.

Since they are not really dangerous, some have even kept these Australian huntsman spiders as pets or natural pest removers! But it is perfectly understandable if you don’t want such a houseguest.

If you are trying to prevent huntsman spiders from entering and staying in your home, you need to check if there are any food sources.

If you have cockroaches, mites, or other small lizards indoors, huntsman spiders might enter your home to feast on them. A pest control professional will be able to control these for you.

You should also check for possible entry points and seal them up. Make sure you repaid all cracks or gaps in windows and screen doors.

 

How Venomous Is A Huntsman Spider

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to pick up a Huntsman?

While huntsman spiders usually don’t attack, they are still venomous spiders. Therefore, it is best not to pick up a huntsman spider with your bare hands. If you are not able to handle them properly, they will bite.

Do huntsman spiders jump at you?

Huntsman spiders don’t jump deliberately. In fact, they tend to “fall,” and it looks like they are jumping. This is because they have a crab-like physique, which makes it look like they are jumping instead of falling.

If you find one “jumping” down from your car’s sun visors, know that they are just trying to run away and hide.

What do huntsman spiders hate?

Huntsman spiders are not big fans of strong odors. These large spiders hate citrus scents such as the scent of eucalyptus and peppermint. So if you spray these scents or put a few drops of natural oils around the house, that will keep them away.

What do you do if a huntsman spider is in your house?

If you find a huntsman spider in your house, slowly place a container on top and push in paper from underneath. Then you can throw it out. But be sure that it is a huntsman spider first.

People often mistake brown recluse spiders for huntsman spiders, and those are far deadlier than huntsman spiders.

Wrap Up

Huntsman spiders look scary, but fortunately, they don’t have a lethal bite. The venom is not lethal, and you may not even need medical attention.

Also, a huntsman spider will not attack you unless provoked. So there isn’t much to worry about. Thank you for taking the time to read, and we hope you found the answers you were looking for. 

 

 

Reader Emails

Over the years, our readers have sent us several emails on this topic. Please go through them below.

Letter 1 – Golden Huntsman Spider

 

Wolf Spider or Desert Recluse
I need your help. It is a big spider about 3’ in diameter. Comes out every night to hunt to find prey. Is it dangerous?
Thanks for your help!
Michael
Age 8

Hi Michael,
Your letter came at a perfect time. Another person just described this spider but had no photo, so I will forward it. This is a Golden Huntsman Spider, Olios fasciculatus. It lives in shady woodlands, thickets and homes in New Mexico and Utah, west to California. It builds no web but wanders slowly in search of prey at night. It is not dangerous.

Letter 2 – Golden Huntsman Spider

 

Spider
I live in the desert, and I found a spider by the name Golden Huntsmen. I was told it was not deadly, but it was really ugly. Could you please give me some info about it.
James

Hi James,
The Golden Huntsman Spider is Olios fasciculatus, one of the Giant Crab Spiders of the Family Sparassidae. They are, as you know, large spiders named for their crablike legs. They are mostly tropical but found in Florida and the Southwest as well. The Golden Huntsman Spider does not build a web, but wanders in slow search of prey. The female carries her egg sac in her jaws until the spiderlings emerge. It is found in shady woodlands and thickets from New Mexico and Utah west to California.

Letter 3 – Golden Huntsman Spider

 

Huntsman
Found this beautiful Huntsman at my parents house in southern Arizona. Thought you might love taking a look at it. It stayed on the table for about 4 days before moving on to better hunting. Enjoy.
Andy Marshall

Hi Andy,
Your image of a Golden Hunstman Spider, Olios fasciculatus, is exquisite.

Letter 4 – Golden Huntsman Spider

 


A Golden Huntsman, I presume? It was haunting the Ladies Room of our campground in Arches National Park, UT. Anyway, I think I got great contrast with the white painted wall & thought you may be able to use it. Let me know if was not correct in my ID.
Thanks!
Robert M.

Hi Robert,
You are correct. This is a Golden Huntsman Spider. We understand that Huntsman Spiders often haunt dark damp places, but why were you haunting the woman’s restroom, and with a camera no less?

Letter 5 – Palo Verde Root Borer and Golden Huntsman Spider

 

Palo Verde Borer Beetle & Golden Huntsman Spider
Hello,
Great bugsite! The beetle submission on 7/2/2004 [Derobrachus geminatus: Due for a new name.] caught my attention. While outside in my yard on a hot July 8th, 2005 night at 11:22 p.m., in Paradise Valley, Arizona, I encountered a magnificent bug, easily 4 or 5 inches in length! I believe this too is an example of the Palo Verde Borer Beetle, currently known as Derobrachus geminatus. I don’t think my photograph is better than the lovely one you have posted, but it does offer a different viewing angle. These beetles lumbered around my property late at night, for about a week. I suspect this was prime mating time. Since the entomology course I took in college covered only insects, I found myself at a loss for identifying the eight-legged creature in the second attached photograph. I found this spider on May 26th, 2005 at 2:20 p.m. on a warm, sunny afternoon. It was motionless, on the ceiling of my porch. When I initially checked your site I couldn’t find a comparable spider. However, it looks like someone submitted a picture of the same spider on 7/14/05! Now I know it was the Golden Huntsman Spider, Olios fasciculatus. Just thought I’d share my picture with you.
Sincerely,
Krista

Hi Krista,
Thank you so much for your submission. We especially love the Golden Huntsman Spider image.

Letter 6 – Huntsman Spider from Indonesia

 

Subject: Spider in Flores, Indonesia
Location: Labuanbajo, Flores, Indonesia
February 4, 2015 6:24 am
Found this spider in my house. Very fast and about 7 centimeter diameter (including legs). Do you know what it is?
Signature: Chris

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Hi Chris,
This is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, and it is considered harmless to humans.  This species is also called a Banana Spider because they were often imported with bunches of banana and they have become established in warm coastal cities throughout the world because of global shipments of bananas.  Huntsman Spiders do not build a web, but they hunt their prey, often Cockroaches, at night, so they can be considered beneficial.

Wow super quick. Thanks a ton!
Thanks,
Chris

Letter 7 – Huntsman Spider painted at factory in China

 

Subject:  Painted carnage!
Geographic location of the bug:  Irrelevant
Date: 03/28/2018
Time: 07:42 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, Bugman! I work at a retail store in South Dakota, but much of our merchandise is made in China. I think this poor creature must have been painted into this canister at the factory in China. Can you identify, despite his ‘blue mood’? Hard to say with legs folded under, but I’d put the length of each limb at 3″+. For scale, the floor tiles are 12″x12″.
How you want your letter signed:  Josh M

Huntsman Spider painted Blue

Dear Josh,
We agree with your assessment that this Spider must have been painted at the factory.  We believe this is a male Giant Huntsman Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, a species that has been introduced to many parts of the world because of banana shipments.  This would have made a good April Fool’s posting were it not for real.

Huntsman Spider painted at factory
Canister where Huntsman Spider was found.

Reader Emails

7266

Letter 1 – Huntsman Spider from Peru

 

Subject: Banded Huntsman Spider
Location: Near Cusco, Peru
May 24, 2012 6:51 am
Buenas Dias, Daniel! This beauty appeared in our kitchen 3 days ago. We see these guys all the time, they also come in solid black. This one is much larger and fatter than the usual, so we believe she is a female, possibly pregnant? We found her mate, maybe, dying on the windowsill. She is a little more coffee colored than this photo shows, but you get the idea. We’ll keep an eye on her for spiderlings. Loving your book, thanks for writing it!
Signature: offthegridinperu

Huntsman Spider

Dear offthegridinperu,
Thanks for sending us your photo of a South American Huntsman Spider.  We have been informed by Eric Eaton that the bite of some South American Huntsman Spiders can be dangerous to humans.  We are happy to hear you are enjoying The Curious World of Bugs

Uh oh. I believe you are absolutely correct – and from a quick wiki search, I need to move her outside. Thank you!!

Hello again,
Because of your thoughtful relocation, we are going to tag this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.  We should clarify that not all Huntsman Spiders are dangerous, however, we cannot vouch for the difference between harmless and dangerous species.  Huntsman Spiders tend to be docile, nocturnal hunters that often prey upon Cockroaches.  The should be considered beneficial.

Letter 2 – Rain Spider: Huntsman Spider from South Africa

 

October 16, 2012 11:52 am
Hi WTB!
I live in Pretoria, South Africa. Summer is just getting into its stride here and we have frequent thunderstorms on what is called The Highveld (northern central part of the country).
We have recently had two occurrences in our house in town of the spider attached below and were wondering if you will be able to identify it, please? We believe it is probably a Huntsman spider, or commonly known as a Rain spider, but the colouration put me off, as the Rain spiders I know are usually more brown or beige in colour and I’ve never seen one as big as this!
This specific spider was probably about 8 – 10cm in size, including its legs.
Yours
Deon de Jager
Signature: Deon de Jager, Pretoria, South Africa

Huntsman Spider from South Africa

Dear Deon,
We believe this looks like a Huntsman Spider, and as confirmation, there is a photo of a Huntsman Spider with similarly striped legs on the South African Ranger Diaries Blog.
We have a similar looking South African Huntsman Spider with striped legs in our archive.  We are intrigued with the name Rain Spider.  Searching Rain Spider South Africa led us to the Biodiversity Explorer page and some nice photos of a stripe legged Huntsman Spider in the genus Palystes.

WTB
Thanks for your help!
We had two ‘Rain spiders’ in our house yesterday during the sunny day
(as they apparently seek shelter from coming rains) and would you know
it, it rained last night! Mother nature just showing off 😉
Have a good day!
Deon

Letter 3 – Huntsman Spider from Hawaii

 

Subject: Kauai Vacation Home Spider
Location: Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii
May 13, 2015 11:44 pm
Mr. Bugman,
I first identified a spider in the laundry area of the house I’m renting using your site. It appeared to be a Huntsman Spider and it made sense, it’s damp and I’ve seen a cockroach or two in there. I named that spider Dick and he’s 4-5″ big. Now I just scared the bajesus out of myself finding a much larger spider, who I named Bob which is twice as large as Dick, near the area that Dick is (or was, Dick looks a little rough like he got beat up by Bob).
I’m sure it’s just another Huntsman Spider but I wanted to share it with your site.
Signature: Kauai Spider Bro?

Huntsman spider
Huntsman spider

You are correct that this is a Huntsman Spider, probably Heteropoda venatoria, but we think you should change Bob’s name to Roberta as we believe she is a female.

Letter 4 – Huntsman Spider from Australia

 

Subject: What’s this spider
Location: Regional Victoria, Australia
August 10, 2015 3:55 am
Found this scary looking thing on a piece of wood. Wondering what it is? Looks like a huntsman on steroids
Signature: 🙂

Huntsman Spider in Threat Position
Huntsman Spider in Threat Position

Dear :),
This is certainly a Huntsman Spider and it is in a classic threat position.  Because of the striped legs, we believe this may be a member of the genus
Holconia and there are similar looking images on Arachne.org and the Brisbane Insect site.  Your image is quite amazing.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Huntsman Spider in Australia

 


G’day,
This was on our lounge room wall in Sydney, Australia at 1:00am. We presume it is a huntsman. Yuck!
Steve

Hi Steve,
You are correct, this is a Huntsman or Banana Spider in the genus Heteropoda. They are also know as Giant Crab Spiders.

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.

    View all posts
  • 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.

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16 thoughts on “How Venomous Is A Huntsman Spider? Truth Revealed”

  1. Wow thanks Daniel …and Eric! We live in the Andes, so I am not sure if that makes a difference in poison potential. Either way, thank you for alerting us to be more cautious since they live with us in the kitchen, every day! They are very docile and neither of us wants to be molested, so we’re getting along just fine! About an hour ago, she disappeared into a crack and I don’t blame her since it’s been a cold winter down here!

    Reply
    • We don’t want to be alarmist and we hope your up until now peaceful cohabitation doesn’t change because on unnecessary paranoia. We would imagine if they were truly dangerous, you would have heard about it from your neighbors, though there are often very curious local superstitions that have no validity. One of our favorites such stories is that of the Machaca, a local name for a Lanternfly, Fulgora laternaria, a curious insect that is also called a Peanut Headed Bug. Though we rarely quote Wikipedia, we are quite amused with this local lore: “In several countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca, he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death.” It is easy to imagine that line being used on a reluctant paramour.

      Reply
  2. Ashley Robbins posted on WhatsThatBug.com for you on FB. Maybe they will know. We used to see these out where we lived in Williams in the woods too but never knew what they were…just freaked me out though! Yuck!

    Reply
  3. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so I
    guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your
    blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any suggestions for beginner blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

    Reply
    • OOPS. We were preparing a counter-statement when we realized you were correcting our language and not our intent. We maintain this Huntsman Spider is relatively harmless to humans. Thanks for catching our error. We will nonetheless post the research we conducted to support that statement. According to Texas Invasive Species Institute: “Ecological Threat: The huntsman spider is not poisonous, but if handled aggressively it will issue a painful bite. This spider does not use a web to capture prey and is ideal for management of cockroaches and similar indoor pests.” According to BugGuide: “Can be swift and sometimes aggressive but not considered dangerously venomous to humans. May bite in self-defense if roughly handled; mildly painful bite (can be likened to a bee sting if spider injects venom).” According to the University of Florida Extension site: “It is not a dangerous spider, but a locally painful bite can be delivered to any human who carelessly handles a huntsman spider.” According to the Natural History Museum site: “The venom causes mild symptoms in humans (Bucherl, 1971). “

      Reply
  4. Thanks so much for the quick reply! We’ll try to be nice and catch her to put her outside. She’s a little too scary to hang out near the laundry area. Thanks again!

    Reply
  5. Hi, we have a huntsman (wonderiņg spider) it looks like it was dying and had little response. We took it and gave it some water also sprinkled it with water then it started moving again. We let it go in the house as we are crazy about spiders and we have 3 tarantulas. 2 days later we saw it again and it stil looked sick and sluggish, we have now put it in a tank, it immediately drank water but is still slow. What can we do to help it

    Reply

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