In this article, we cover everything you would like to know about the huntsman spider.
One of the largest spider species, Huntsman spiders are found all across the world – and often make their way into homes.
Certain species may only be native to specific areas. Their main habitat is tropical and sub-tropical areas of Asia, Australia, North Africa, and the Mediterranean.
They are a feared species in the insect kingdom, as, they actively pursue their prey and crush them using the two pincers in front, giving them their unique name.
But are they friendly to humans? How do they live and mate? We answer all your questions about huntsman spiders in this article.
What Are Huntsman Spiders?
Brown in color with bands of grey on their legs, huntsman spiders are big, hairy spiders belonging to the Sparassidae family.
They have eight eyes and small bodies that are around an inch long. However, they have incredibly slender and long legs, reaching up to 5 inches (on average) when uncurled.
Due to their long legs and hairy body, people often mistake them for tarantulas. They are much larger in size than regular spiders.
In fact, the giant huntsman spider is the world’s largest spider if we measure them by leg span. They have two eyes on the front in two long rows, each containing four eyeballs.
Their mouthparts have a reddish patch. Different species may also have other colors all over the body. Badge huntsman can have an overall pinkish-brown body.
Some tropical species have alternating black and white bands on their legs.
How Big Is A Huntsman Spider?
Huntsman Spiders are among the largest spiders in the world. The giant huntsman spider is the world’s largest
Generally, females are slightly larger in size than males. Their bodies are up to 1 inch long. The span of the legs, when unfurled, can range from 3 to 5 inches.
For the giant huntsman, this can be as long as 12 inches.
How Fast Is A Huntsman Spider
Huntsman spiders can move very quickly. The fastest huntsman spider can run as fast as 40 times their body length in a second.
This means they can cover a distance of around 5 meters in a second. To compare to this, even the fastest humans can only reach a speed of around 5 times their body length.
Do They Jump?
Different species showcase different types of locomotion.
Mostly, huntsman spiders move via fast walking and using their web to spring from one region to another.
As long as they have some leverage, they can “jump” and cover distances.
Some, like the wheel spider and Moroccan flic-flac spider, move by using a cartwheel-type motion where they flip their body over and over.
Using this method, they can run nearly twice as fast.
Types of Huntsman Spiders
Huntsman spiders are a varied species. There are over 1,383 species classified under the family of Sparassidae. Let’s take a look at some of the types of huntsman spiders.
This name includes two different species, both of which are native to Namibia.
Similar to cartwheel spiders, the carparachne spiders also use a rolling motion to quickly traverse over sand dunes and escape its predators.
This is the genus of the Moroccan flic-flac spider and has a total of 17 species within it.
Their interesting motion is now inspiring scientists to create robots that can replicate the movement and traverse quickly across sandy environments.
They are native to Morocco and parts of the Arabian peninsula.
This genus has only one species, Diminutella cortina. They are found only in Cuba.
Their discovery is quite recent – in 2018. Among all huntsman spider species, these are the smallest in size.
This genus houses the largest of all huntsman spiders. The infamous giant crab spider belongs here.
Heteropoda survive in the tropical areas of North America, Australia, Asia, and the Mediterranean.
It is less hairy than other species and moves sideways, similar to a crab
This genus of huntsman spiders is home to 4 spider species.
Among them, the Delena Cancerides is a uniquely social species where many adults share the same nest without resorting to cannibalism.
Species of this genus – like the Delena gloriosa, Delena Nigrifrons, and the Delena lapidicola are all only found in Australia.
Apart from these, there are many other genera like the Leucorchestris, Micrommata, and more.
Where Do They Live?
They mainly live within the foliage or trees or within small crevices of tree barks.
On the ground, you may find them under fallen barks and rocks, burrowing in loose sand, or in any slightly dark and damp place.
What Do They Eat?
As their name suggests, huntsman spiders are aggressive and stealthy hunters.
Unlike some spiders who are passive hunters, simply waiting for prey to get caught in their net – huntsman spiders actively stalk their prey.
Pests like mosquitos and cockroaches are a fan favorite!
Who Eats Them?
Some common predators are carnivorous birds and larger lizards or geckos. Spider wasps also hunt on the smaller spiders of the family.
Despite having eight eyes, the eyesight of this spider is only average, and they cannot see objects at a distance.
In fact, some species, like the eyeless huntsman spiders that survive in caves, do not have eyes at all!
Among parasites, they are susceptible to nematode worms and parasitic wasps that may lay eggs on their body.
As the larvae hatch within their body, the worms feast on the spider’s internal fluids, eventually killing it.
There are cases of scorpions eating them as well. However, this is not a regular occurrence.
Life Cycle of Huntsman Spiders
Huntsman spiders can live for as long as two years or sometimes more.
Huntsman spiders have quite a romantic courtship when compared to other spiders, where the female often eats the male.
After courtship, female spiders lay up to 200 eggs in a single egg sack, which has a paper-like cover.
She guards it without eating until the younglings hatch. This may take three weeks or more, depending on the climate.
In some species, the female can carry the egg sac around with her. Females guarding their eggs are aggressive and attack, sensing danger.
After the smaller spiders are born, the mother accompanies them for a couple of weeks more.
She may also tear the egg sac during its later stages to aid the small ones coming out. During the initial weeks, the spiderlings grow by shedding their skin in a process called molting.
Sometimes, males and females may remain together during this time. Some species, like the Flat Huntsman, live in large spider colonies where up to 300 adults rear their children.
How Long Do They Live?
The usual lifespan of a huntsman spider is around two years, though it can be more. Hatching of eggs takes around 2 to 4 weeks.
Their lifespan is overall quite short when compared to those of other solitary species like the tarantula. Tarantulas can live for 20 to 25 years!
Do They Bite?
Huntsman spiders have pincers and can bite. Moreover, their bites are venomous and cause a multitude of reactions in humans.
If you see one, it is best not to provoke it. They don’t generally bite humans and are defensive rather than offensive on seeing us.
However, females who guard their egg sacs can be quite aggressive.
How Venomous Is A Huntsman Spider?
For insects, very. They use their venom to kill insects and even larger slugs and lizards.
However, for humans, their venom is not fatal. Despite this, if you get injected with their venom, you might suffer from nausea, headaches, and some localized pain and swelling.
The venom can also alter and lower your pulse rate for some time.
Can They Come Inside Homes?
It is quite common to find some species of huntsman spiders inside homes – especially the Flat Huntsman.
As they live in warm climates, they are always in the search of cooler places. If you have smaller cracks or crevices in your home or along windows, these can make the spider feel right at home.
They are also attracted by food like cockroaches within their homes.
What Are They Attracted To?
Huntsman spiders are mainly attracted to food. As they go in search of the same, they look around for moths and other insects.
Since these insects are primarily found around light sources, you might catch a spider loitering nearby as well. They are foragers and constantly after food sources.
How To Get Rid of Them?
Having a spider in your home the size of a dinner plate is something to be worried about, for sure.
You can get rid of them quite easily without external help. But first, never use a broom to sweep away a large spider.
They are excellent climbers and quick movers who might start climbing on the broom itself.
Here’s what you can do to get rid of them:
- Place a large container on top of the spider. Slide a thin piece of paper from beneath it until the spider is on the paper. Now take the container outside and release the spider.
- To prevent them from coming in, you can use any type of citrus or peppermint spray. Spray these along your windows, doors, ventilators, and any open ledges. Spiders detest the spicy smell, and it will deter them from moving in.
- If you find many of them, it means there is an egg sac that has hatched somewhere. Find the source by looking through all cracks and crevices and call pest control for proper chemical treatment.
You can also deter them from coming in by making sure there are no food sources like moths and cockroaches in your home. Installing a mesh or net can go a long way.
Comparison With Tarantulas
Based on how similar they look, it is easy to confuse a huntsman spider for a tarantula or vice versa. But you can easily distinguish them by:
- Looking at their legs – Tarantules have legs that fold underneath their body. But huntsman spiders have legs that open outwards and sideways – similar to crabs.
- Looking at their body size – Tarantulas have larger, hairier bodies and shorter legs. Hunstman spiders have smaller and sometimes flatter bodies with long legs.
- Looking at their behavior – Huntsman spiders are more likely to scurry away if you approach them. Tarantulas, on the other hand, are more aggressive and likely to approach.
Comparison With The Wolf Spider
Both these species are venomous spiders found in similar habitats. Here are some distinguishing signs to look for:
- Looking at their color – Huntsman spiders have brown bodies with grey or brown bands on their legs. Wolf spiders can be pink, orange, salmon, cream, or grey, with larger black and white bands on their legs.
- Looking at their legs – Huntsman spiders are known for their long legs with multiple bends. Wolf spiders come nowhere close and have stubbier legs that curl inwards.
- Looking at their eyes – Wolf spiders have eight eyes set in a row. The huntsman spider has two rows of 4 eyes each.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do huntsman spiders hurt you?
Yes, the bite of a huntsman spider hurts and causes localized swelling. The venom can also cause headaches and nausea as it spreads.
They generally do not hurt humans but can if provoked. It is best to not touch them by hand.
What happens if you get bitten by a huntsman?
If you get a huntsman spider bite – seek medical attention immediately. Usually, your doctor will prescribe an anti-inflammatory medicine to prevent any fever or associated swelling.
If you are allergic to the venom, you will require further treatment. Swelling and pain will go down in a few days.
Which spider kills most humans?
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the deadliest spider to date is the Funnel-web spider.
They are native to Australia. Though a bite may not necessarily contain venom – if they do inject venom, it is highly fatal with no known anti-venom.
Why do huntsman spiders run at you?
Huntsman spiders are not aggressive. If they run towards you, they are simply looking to escape you, by running into the shade.
However, sometimes, females protecting eggs may run at you to deter you from approaching the eggs.
While not a common pet idea, people do keep huntsman spiders as pets in terrariums.
As long as they are left alone, huntsman spiders are non-threatening and quite chill.
A bite from them is not fatal and can be easily treated. Moreover, not all bites contain venom, as they mostly use venom to subdue prey.
But having said this, there are many impostors who look similar but are quite venomous. So it’s best to know how to identify various species.
Thank you for reading!
The huntsman spiders are quite a favorite of our readers, many of whom have sent us pictures of their encounters with these giant and hairy spiders.
One of the biggest reasons they get in the path of humans is that they tend to enter in our homes during the winter. Moreover, their size always evokes fear.
Do read through some of the old emails below, gaze at the pics and experience the huntsman spider through the eyes of our audience!
Letter 1 – Badge Huntsman Spider
Please identify this spider – from australia Tue, Nov 11, 2008 at 5:32 PM This spider came out at night (on the outside of our glass door) – it is about the size of a disposable coffee cup lid (including its legs) and I have tried to identify it from australian spider charts with no luck. The bands on the legs were already bright though the flash from the camera made them a bit brighter. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Alex NSW Central coast, Australia
Letter 2 – Banded Huntsman Spider from Australia
Banded Huntsman Spider Location: Hawkesbury Region, Sydney, Australia November 28, 2011 3:12 pm Hi, I live a little outside of Sydney in a rural area (quite dense bushland) and get quite a few of these Banded Huntsman Spiders (please correct me if I’m wrong). This one was quite large as you can see in the photos. They are quite timid, which is great for taking photos, and their markings are stunning. Thought you’d like the photos as I haven’t seen one like this on your site as yet. Signature: Tracy
Letter 3 – Banded Huntsman from Australia
Subject: Banded Huntsman Geographic location of the bug: Wee Waa Date: 05/02/2019 Time: 11:54 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman: Is it rare to find Banded Huntsman so far from the coast? How you want your letter signed: Nick
Letter 4 – Golden Huntsman Spider
Took this picture in Joshua Tree. Not sure what it was, but it was beautiful. What kind is it? Thank you!
The Golden Huntsman Spider is a shy, harmless, nocturnal species.
Letter 5 – Golden Huntsman Spider
What kind of spider is this?
We found this lovely creature perched on our door frame this morning. She (I think it’s a ‘she’) is approximately 2 1/2" in diameter, is a beautiful light orangy beige color with a darker broken stripe down her abdomen. She is blackfooted (as you can see), has large black fangs, and the 8 eyes are placed 4 front-facing, and 4 top-facing. We aren’t sure what kind of spider this is and would love to know more about what it eats, etc. Can you help with an identification? Thanks in advance. Love this site. It’s so addicting!
I beg your pardon – I just now, in fact, did indeed identify the spider as a Golden Huntsman Spider or Olios Fasciculatus on your site (spiders page 3). Thank you for such a splendid site!
Dear Lady Val,
It was nice to get your three emails in rapid succession. You very quickly correctly identified this lovely Golden Huntsman Spider.
Letter 6 – Golden Huntsman Spider
Giant Crab Spider?
I came across this spider crawling across my bathroom window. I was quite surprised. It is the largest spider I have seen that is not in a cage or a zoo. I was able to wrangle it into a bucket and snap a few pictures. The coin is a US Quarter. I found several websites stating that this spider, the Giant Crab Spider (Olios sp) is common to Arizona, however I live in Porterville California, which is halfway between Bakersfield and Fresno. Did I identify the species correctly, and is this spider common in California agricultural lands? I released it into my garden after taking the photo. Thanks,
You are correct. Giant Crab Spiders in the genus Olios are also known as Huntsman Spiders. We believe this to be a Golden Huntsman Spider, Olios fasciculatus.
Letter 7 – Golden Huntsman Spider
large spider can’t find it in my book
This spider was outside on a glass window in Sedona Arizona on 10/7/04. It’s body was about the size of a elongated quarter. The legs made it at least 3"+ across. It seemed to only have 6 legs although perhaps there is another small pair up by the head. The underneath was a creamy white with a black line around its spinerets. I tried to find it on the Internet and in books I have but I could not identify it especially the legs. Thanks for your help.
Liza Vernet in Sedona
Our Audubon Guide to Insects and Spiders has a good photo of the Golden Huntsman Spider, Olios fasciculatus, one of the Giant Crab Spiders. These are large spiders. They are found in New Mexico and Utah, west to California. It builds no organized web, but wanders in slow search of prey. Your specimen must have lost some legs in an altercation.
Letter 8 – Golden Huntsman Spider
Subject: Hairy Momma? Geographic location of the bug: Oroville, CA (Butte County) Date: 01/28/2020 Time: 06:17 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman: Found this hairy lurker on the inside of the doorjamb of an old truck in mid January 2020. Weather’s been in the 40-60*F range, with rain. Grabbed a quick photo, but can’t find a plausible ID anywhere….can you help? Thinking this may be a female in the process of establishing an egg sac, perhaps? Gorgeous, but too hairy for most IDs to match. How you want your letter signed: Cole
Letter 9 – Green Huntsman Spider
What kind of spider is this?
Hello, I currently live in Sacile, Italy. Tonight I spotted a bright green spider on my wall and tried to take the best pictures I could of it before my husband killed it. I thought it might be a green huntsman spider, but I’m just not sure. It was slightly larger than the size of a nickel with it’s legs. Would you be able to identify it, and is it a dangerous spider? I really appreciate your help! Here are the pictures below. Sorry they are not very clear, my camera obviously doesn’t work well with small images. Thank you so much,
We had not heard of a Green Huntsman Spider, and your photo looked so unusual and pretty that we tried to do some research. We found a page that had photos of a Green Huntsman Spider, Micrommata virescens. There really wasn’t much information including the range, but the spider seems to resemble your spider. Further searching of the scientific name lead us to another page with plenty of information and images. The Green Huntsman Spider does indeed live in Europe. We think you have correctly identified your intruder.
Letter 10 – Green Huntsman Spider from Israel
Is this another Green Lynx Spider? January 12, 2010 It sat on the inner car door on the Hermon Mountain area, Israël, last december. It was really small, as you maybe can see from part of my index finger in the corner. Nike Nimrod Castle, Israël
Letter 11 – Green Huntsman Spider
Subject: Strange spider Location: Shoalhaven Heads, NSW, Australi September 22, 2015 1:57 am Hi , I found this one in our kitchen. It’s about 4cm (leg span) in the Shoalhaven region of NSW Australia. I’ve not seen anything like it before. I have caught it . Signature: Thank you in advance.. Ricky
Letter 12 – Red Spotted Cetratus from Australia
Subject: What is this spider? Geographic location of the bug: Bridgewater, Adelaide Hills. Date: 12/08/2017 Time: 09:02 PM EDT One single spider living in my timber insect hotel. Bright green and yellow. No foliage. No camouflage. Never seen one like it before. Hoping you can educate me? How you want your letter signed: Colleen
Letter 13 – Huntsman Spider in China
Spider – Possibly Huntsman Hey, So I found a very large spider on the wall in my apartment. It is probably the size of average palm. When spooked it ran very quickly, not jumping much but moving sideways some. I am just wondering if it really is a huntsman or something else. Rae S. SE China
Letter 14 – Grey Huntsman Spider from Australia
Web spinning huntsman October 26, 2009 Web spinning huntsman We get these around outside and inside our house (Queensland, Australia.) They look like male huntsman spiders, and are more active at night, but they also weave massive webs from time to time (between trees) with a very thick fiber. This one came out of my downpipe this morning and bit my arm, self defence I expect, the bite is not serious, just two red dots. Card is in the photo for scale, its the size of a regular credit card. Dylan Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia
Letter 15 – Huntsman Spider from the Philippines
cave invertebrates Location: Lanao del Norte, Philippines November 15, 2010 1:12 am i would like to ask a help to identify these specimen. i collected these invertebrates from the cave in the Philippines. i find it hard to identify them because i have no standard taxonomic keys and other references. Please kindly help me because they are needed to be identify for my thesis. I hope for your help, as soon as possible. Thank you for your consideration. Signature: immediately
Letter 16 – Huntsman Spider from Japan
Huntsman Spider? Location: Okinawa, Japan December 24, 2010 8:50 am We have a lot of spiders like this in Okinawa, Japan. I believe it is a Huntsman, (family sparassidae), but I’m not sure. The spinnerets can be seen well, as can the eyes. What do you think? Signature: Hooray for bugs!
Letter 17 – Huntsman Spider from China
Spider in Guanxi Province, China Location: Baise, Guangxi Province, China January 9, 2011 9:31 pm We accidently disturbed this guy from behind a framed picture in a building. His legs are about 6-8 inches each. He didn’t move very quickly and didn’t jump. We have considered it being a huntsman or a golden earth tiger spider…what is he?? Signature: the Reeves family
Letter 18 – Huntsman Spider from Nicaragua
Another unknown spider Location: Nicaragua, Managua, El Crucero ( 12° 3’45.68”N – 86°18’51.68”W) January 30, 2012 5:47 pm Dear Bugman, Can you tell me what’s that spider I found in mi kitchen? Signature: Sergiortc
Letter 19 – Huntsman Spider from Hawaii
Subject: Pukalani Wolf Spider Location: Pukalani – Maui June 25, 2012 5:44 pm Aloha – Found this guy Sunday 24 June in my carport, near my orchids. Not sure if he found something to dine on amongst them, as the next morning he was gone on. About 3” across from the front pair of legs to the other. Wish I had better contrast on his head for you. Knowing we have many hitchhikers into the islands, this guy could have come from *anywhere* on the planet. Got a male Black Witch moth daytime photo the other week at the local post office. Appreciate your site… always learn so much! Warm regards ~ Signature: Eliza
Letter 20 – Male Huntsman Spider
Subject: wolfspider Location: costa rica March 27, 2013 12:26 am a big spider in Belgium we call it a wolfspider… Signature: fred from belgium
Letter 21 – Huntsman Spider from Panama
Subject: Possible bird spider Location: Panama February 10, 2014 1:44 pm Hi my name is Wes and I found this spider walking across the house I was building in the middle of the jungle in Panama. So I took a picture of it and Put it on Facebook. People were saying it was a huge recluse, I think it is a bird spider. Can you tell from these two photos what this might be? I am located in Bocas Del Toro On Isla Colon. This photo was taken February 1st. This house I am building is well in the jungle so it has very little traffic, Signature: Wes Griffin
Letter 22 – Gorgeous, recently described White Lady Huntsman Spider from Israel
Subject: Arava wolf spider Location: Arava, Israel January 17, 2016 2:02 am Hey there Bug People, This guy (girl?) came to say hello yesterday morning while I was on a hiking trip in Southern Israel. It must be one of the most beautiful, and big wolf spiders I’ve ever seen. Some quick research online says it’s the very recently described Cerbalus aravaensis Levy, 2007, that lives in the small sandy area in the center of the Arava (a long, narrow strip south of the Dead Sea, on the border between Jordan and Israel). Enjoy all ye bug lovers! Signature: Ben from Israel
Letter 23 – Huntsman Spider from Bali
Subject: Possibly Huntsman spider Geographic location of the bug: Bali, Indonesia Date: 05/01/2019 Time: 08:27 PM EDT Your letter to the bugman: Found this one in my hotel room and was unable to catch it. About the size of the palm of my hand. Judging from the pics on this site, it has the right “pacman” markings to be a Huntsman, but it doesn’t have the awkward legs and movements of other Huntsman spiders I’ve seen. Thank you! How you want your letter signed: Jason