Where Do Huntsman Spiders Live? Unraveling Their Living Spaces

Huntsman spiders are often maligned because of their size and their ability to eat really huge things like rodents and birds. In this article, we look at where these spiders live and why they won’t attack you.

The name Huntsman spider is enough to make some people run for cover. Though these creatures are not the worst of the lot, who would want to suffer a nasty spider bite?

Despite their scary appearance, huntsman spiders are quite timid and scaredy cats. They often run away at the first sign of danger.

However, if you are one of those who simply cannot stand a spider, leave alone a giant spider in the room, it is best to stay away from their path.

Knowing where they live can help you stay away from them and save yourself some trouble. In this article, we will talk about the habitat of Huntsman spiders.

What Are Huntsman Spiders?

Members of the Sparassidae species of spiders, the Huntsman spider is one of the fastest-hunting spiders in the wild. They are also known by a few other names like the ‘giant crab spider’ or ‘wood spiders’ because of their size and appearance.

Huntsman spiders prefer tropical and temperate climate, and this is where most of them are found. They populate parts of Africa, Asia, Australasia, and the Americas, where they are found in dense, woody areas.

Huntsman spiders are also the world’s largest spiders by leg span. They are known for their unique ways of movement. These spiders are often observed to cartwheel when they are hunting, giving them speed.

Huntsman Spider

Where Are Huntsman Spiders Found?

Huntsman spiders are native to different areas of the world. Most species are native to Asia, concentrated around Laos.

They can also be found in Africa, the Americas, and Australia, scattered around the Australasian region of temperate and tropical forests.

Are Huntsman Spiders in the US?

Huntsman spiders are found in warm subtropical areas and a few coastal states of the US. Their presence in the US has been traced back to Asia, where the original species are found.

What States Do Huntsman Spiders Live in?

They have been found in the states of Florida, Texas, and California, as well as the coastal states of South Carolina and Georgia.

In Florida, where there are multiple species of large spiders, the huntsman is recognized by its flat brown body and black spots.

They often come into areas inhabited by humans, sometimes making their way indoors as the weather gets cold.

A little dip into the folklore of America claims that the giant huntsman spider was brought into the American continent in banana boxes from Asia.

Perhaps this is the main reason for these spiders being called banana spiders across America.

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spider Habitat

Huntsman spiders have a lot of different areas where they live.

In the wild, their habitat is limited to

  • The loose bark of dead trees,
  • Crevices on rock walls and logs,
  • Among foliage and
  • Slabs of tree bark on the ground.

A lot of these spiders are found in woody areas where they can hide easily. As we mentioned before, despite their size, these creatures are quite timid, and they always look for things to hide under.

A lot of social Huntsman spider species, like the Delena cancerides, are known to gather around under the bark on trees, sitting together. You are also likely to find them in a group on the ground under rocks.

When huntsman spiders come close to human habitation, they can make their way indoors. In cold weather, these spiders are known to enter houses through cracks in windows.

Huntsman spiders can get into areas where you least expect them – in Australia, there are many reports of these spiders found inside cars and scaring the daylights out of drivers. They get inside the car through sun visors and other small cracks or crevices

Frequently Asked Questions

Do We Have Huntsman Spider in California?

There are a number of large spider species that can be found in California.

The huntsman spider is one of them and is often spotted in wooded forests such as the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest or Sierra National Forest.

Huntsman spiders have the largest leg span among US spider species.

Huntsman Spider

Do We Have Huntsman Spider in Texas?

Yes, Huntsman spiders can be found in Texas. These spiders are not the largest species found in North America, but they can get fairly large in size.

Their leg span can be upto five inches on their one-inch bodies. They can usually be recognized by a narrow body and legs.

Do Huntsman Spiders Live in Florida?

The pantropical species of huntsman spiders, scientifically called the Heteropoda venatoria are found in Florida.

They are mainly found in Southern parts of Florida and can be grey or brown in color. They can be recognized by the brown bands on their legs.

Will huntsman spiders chase you?

A huntsman spider is fairly timid in nature. Most spiders will run away at the sight of humans rather than attack them.

You might find several reports online of huntsman spiders chasing humans. The fact is that their eyesight is not too great, so what you think of as chasing is actually them trying to run away in the(comically) wrong direction.

But they can become aggressive if they feel provoked in any way or are manhandled. Moreover, females can be super aggressive when they are laying eggs.

The best idea is to keep a safe distance from the spider if you come across one.

Dead Male Huntsman Spider

Wrap Up

The size and appearance of a Huntsman spider are enough to intimidate humans. 

Though not aggressive in nature, they can cause painful bites that would need medical attention if you happen to cross paths with them.

These big spiders are found mostly in temperate climates on almost all continents. In the US, you might run across one in Florida, Texas, California, and coastal areas.

So the best idea is to steer clear of these creatures and maintain a safe distance if you see one.

Thank you for reading!

 

Reader Emails

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

Letter 1 – Huntsman Spider

 

Six Legged Spider?
Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 5:12 PM
Can you identify this spider, and is it harmful? I thought it was odd becuase it has only 6 hairy legs. It’s leg span is about 4 inches. I did not kill it, because I figured to be that size it must be eating a lot of other bugs. I have attached a photo. Thanks . . . Joan
Joan
Punta Gorda, FL

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Hi Joan,
You are a good person, and wise to not have killed this male Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria. Huntsman Spiders are also called Banana Spiders or Giant Crab Spiders and they are nocturnal hunting spiders that do not spin webs, preferring to hunt their prey. They are valued in many areas because they consume cockroaches.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks for your reply. I am surpised that you did not comment on his 6 legs. Isn’t that unusual for a spider? I thought spiders generally have 8 legs. I have attached a photo of another spider taken last year about this time. At the time I had identified it as a Huntsman by comparing it to photos on the website. Now I am not sure if that was corrrect. It was about the same size, but looked different from the 6 legged guy. It wasn’t as hairy. It also behaved differently. Last year’s spider moved very quickly if approached, whereas the 6 legged guy stayed put, and let me take lots of pictures.
Thanks again. Since moving to Florida, I have been fasinated by the spiders . . .
Joan

Huntsman Spider female
Huntsman Spider female

Hi Joan,
The six legged specimen is a male and your new photo is a female Huntsman Spider.  They have sexual dimorphism, meaning the sexes have pronounced visual differences.  In some animals, the differences are so pronounced that they appear to be different species.  Often spiders lose legs, and occasionally, if they are young enough, the legs partially regenerate.  Not so with your male Huntsman.

Letter 2 – Possibly Huntsman Spider in Tennessee

 

Poor Shelob
Location: Knoxville, TN
November 25, 2010 8:24 pm
So the other night I was halfway into a nice dream about a college grant when I heard my younger tweenaged sister screaming bloody murder in her room. I dashed into her room to find her cowering in the corner and shaking one of her crutches (she’d broken her leg the preivious thursday,) at the blinds. After dashing back to my room to get my glasses (I’m VERY nearsighed,) I got to behold THIS huge bugger. I got her camera from her dresser and this is the only shot I got of him. I told Emmers not to swat at it, being an avid spider lover (I own a very sweet rosy-toed tarantula, whom I love dearly and whom my sister wishes to coat with Raid,) and I rushed to Google the big boi. I got about three minutes to search before I heard a screech and several thwacking sounds coming from Emily’s room; the spider had apparantally made a dash for the closet after Emily had tossed a shoe at it. When I arrived, I found the poor arachnid squished into paper form. I gave him a tiny burial beside my Aloe plant and gave him a little cardboard headstone, which I marked ”Shelob”, before going back to bed. I then found this website and decided to ask what kind of spider he is. I’m assuming it’s some kind of wolf spider. As much as I like spiders, I’m not too familiar with the different spieces.
Signature: Lexie Bee

Huntsman Spider

Dear Lexie,
We believe you encountered an introduced Huntsman Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, though BugGuide only reports it from the extreme southern states of Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.  This spider, which is believed to have spread to many warm port cities around the world because of stowing away on banana shipments, has even been reported in northern climates before the quality control on banana shipments was improved.  You can compare your image to this one on BugGuide or this one on a forum.

Letter 3 – Huntsman Spider from Mexico

 

Subject: what’s this bug?
Location: CaboSan Lucas, Baja MEXICO
March 29, 2014 12:39 pm
I saw this human palm sized spider in Cabo San Lucas Baja Mexico in February.
can you identify?
Signature: Okienap

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Hi Okienap,
This male Huntsman Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, is most likely originally from Central America, however, its range was greatly expanded to many warm climates with harbors because the Huntsman Spiders were transported with shipments of bananas, earning them the common name Banana Spider.  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).”  These Huntsman Spiders are frequently tolerated because they are nocturnal hunters that help to control cockroach populations.

Letter 4 – Huntsman Spider from Vietnam

 

Vietnamese bathroom spider
Location: Hue, Central Vietnam
October 21, 2010 6:26 pm
I have often seen this guy (or gal) and others like him in damp locations inside houses, in Hue, Vietnam. Legspan included, the largest ones are about 4 inches across.The legs, at the thickest section, can be up to 3/8 inch diameter, maybe more. I haven’t ever seen them in the bedroom or living room, so I take it they like moisture. I tried to post 2 photos, but kept getting a ”failed to send message, please try later” warning. The second photo showed that the spider’s legspan matches the length of a soapdish.
Signature: curious traveller

Huntsman Spider

Dear Curious Traveller [sic],
Your spider appears to be one of the Hunstman Spiders, most probably
Heteropoda venatoria, a species found in warm ports around the world that was introduced to many new habitats because of the importation of bananas.  They are nocturnal predators that feed upon cockroaches.

Letter 5 – Huntsman Spider from Aegean Islands

 

Subject: Commonly found spider
Location: Eastern Mediterranea,Agean Sea,Islands
October 9, 2012 3:43 pm
What kind of spider is this one? I encounter them everywhere, even in my house.They usually make a small web on the corners of walls and hide in there.
Signature: bs122

Huntsman Spider

Dear bs122,
You neglected to tell us the size of this beautiful creature, and we are guessing it is at least 4-5 centimeters across.  It is some species of Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider, and we will try to do additional research.  We are also guessing you are on a Greek island.

Update:  October 14, 2012
We believe we have correctly identified this Huntsman spider as
Eusparassus walckenaeri based on this photo posted to the Crab Spiders website and this photo from the Forum Natura Mediterraneo site.

Letter 6 – Huntsman Spider in Puerto Rico

 

Possible huntsman or crab spider in PR
February 7, 2010
We had a couple of these spiders in our rented house in Culebra PR late January. We relocated them outside once capturing them in large containers — boy did they run around quickly in the container once caught!
Spider lover in PA
Culebra Puerto Rico

Huntsman Spider

Dear Spider Lover,
You are correct.  This is a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae, though we are unable to tell from your photo if it is one of the most commonly encountered species, Heteropoda venatoria.

Letter 7 – Huntsman Spider from Indonesia

 

Subject: Large Spider found in and around house in Jakarta, Indonesia
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
January 30, 2014 7:17 pm
My daughter noticed the 1st spider on our wall inside our house in Jakarta, Indonesia. Earlier this week I found a larger spider of a similar species on the outside of my daughter’s window. For reference, the indoor spider is 2cm from bottom of abdomen to head (minus front fangs/legs). The one on the window was larger, about 4-5cm.
I am trying to reassure my wife that these spiders are not dangerous to humans, but I’m having a hard time locating any images for tropical spiders in Indonesia. Any help would be appreciated!
Signature: Chris Morris

Male Huntsman Spider
Male Huntsman Spider

Dear Chris,
You are correct that this male Huntsman Spider,
Heteropoda venatoria, is harmless to humans.  These Huntsman Spiders are nocturnal hunters that do not build a web to snare prey.  They prey upon Cockroaches as well as other insects, so they are beneficial around the house.  Heteropoda venatoria has a rather large global distribution, especially in tropical and semitropical port cities and they increased their native range greatly by hitching rides on ships with banana shipments.

Letter 8 – Huntsman Spider from Singapore

 

Subject:  Spider looks like Snuffleupagus!
Geographic location of the bug:  Singapore, Singapore
Date: 01/12/2019
Time: 04:34 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hello Bugman. We spotted this rather large spider lounging atop a leaf in a shady area beside a path in a mangrove forest. My friend called it “Snuffleupagus” while I kept thinking “Davy Jones” from Pirates of the Caribbean. We’re hoping you can tell us the proper name of this pretty spider.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks!

Huntsman Spider

Because of the increased length of the first two pairs of legs relative to the two pairs of hind legs, we are identifying your Spider as a Huntsman Spider or Giant Crab Spider in the family Sparassidae, and they eye arrangement also supports that family.  Huntsman Spiders are not considered dangerous to humans.  They are nocturnal hunters that do no build webs.  Some species even adapt to living with humans where they are tolerated because they feed on cockroaches, scorpions and other more problematic household visitors.  Here is a BugGuide image for comparison.

Huntsman Spider

Thank you so much for the identification of the spider! It looked so strange with all legs splayed forward, I had thought it was a decaying flower until I saw the rows of eyes. Very grateful for your help solving our “snuffleupagus spider” mystery!
Dr Gan Su-lin

Letter 9 – Huntsman Spider

 

Spider almost the size of my hand
Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 6:26 AM
I found this very large, very fast, and very creepy spider this morning near the back door on the inside of the house here in east central Florida. It has me squirming and freaking out, especially because it ran away and hid and is still somewhere in the house. Please, for my peace of mind, what is that thing?
Kristina
Titusville, FL

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider

Hi Kristina,
This Huntsman Spider, Heteropoda venatoria, is also known as a Banana Spider because it is believed to have been introduced to many worldwide seaport areas with warm climates from Asia with banana shipments.  The species is now well documented in Florida and Georgia according to BugGuide.  The Huntsman Spider is harmless and is a tolerated species in many parts of the world because it is a nocturnal hunter that feeds on cockroaches.

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.

50 thoughts on “Where Do Huntsman Spiders Live? Unraveling Their Living Spaces”

  1. We found one of the 6 legged males in our bedroom last night, about 3 inches leg span. Unfortunately, as my sister and I are huge arachnophobes, the spider was disposed of. But before it was moved, it made a strange noise, almost like a cross between a hiss, a squelch and cling film being crumpled. Was this a mating call or were we all hallucinating?
    And bite wise, (we’re in France), do we have anything to worry about if we find another one in our bed?

    Reply
    • We did not know that Huntsman Spider stridulated, which is the term for rubbing together body parts to make noise. Large Huntsman Spiders might bite, but the common species, also known as the Banana Spider, is not considered dangerous.

      Reply
    • Australia has many species of Huntsman Spiders that are native. It is always possible for an organism from one locale to be sited at a location on the other side of the planet, but in a situation like that, we would suspect human intervention and not natural range expansion.

      Reply
  2. I’ve seen these in New Orleans. They seem to like very dark, warm and humid places. I had a storage shed that had maybe 10-15 of them just sticking to the walls. They freaked me out good. A friend tried to step on one and only got a leg, the spider tore his own leg off and ran away. That was enough for me.

    Reply
  3. Good timing. It has been storming quite heavily here the past few days in Queensland and a similar large Huntsman made its way inside last night and took up residence on the wall near the TV. Unfortunately for it, that wall attracts a lot of insects since it is bathed in the light from the TV and has become a favoured hunting ground for a native gecko, one of several that live in the ceiling. It soon spotted the Huntsman and quickly turned it into dinner despite them being not that dissimilar in size.

    Reply
  4. I feel validated in so many ways! Perhaps 5 or 6 years ago I was in my hometown of Cleveland, tn (about an hour’s drive south of Knoxville) when I approached the back door of my mom’s home. I opened the screen door and began to put the key in the lock. As I was doing so a spider that only belongs in horror movies or some exotic land greeted me by falling down centimeters from my face. I panicked and without thought grabbed the nearest object and began swinging (as though killing it would mean saving myself, family, and country from this alien beast). Since that day I have tried to describe this spider to others and no one I have told can say they’ve seen or heard of such. Many suggested it was a wolf spider that I saw, and I investigated this possibility , however the pictures I found of wolf spiders did not do my memory justice. I’ve even wondered if I over exaggerated or remembered wrong until now. Seeing and reading this site validates my memories. It was this spider that traumatized me that day!!!!!!

    Reply
  5. I live in Lakeland, FLA. (Polk County) And this Huntsman Spider, just how DANGEROUS can it be, I have 2 boy’s (3) 5 & 8 and a new born. is there a safe way to (for them and my boy’s) get rid of them, (and not the boy’s) I’m on a very low fixed income $460.00 per month.

    Reply
    • It states in the posting that this particular Huntsman Spider is harmless. According to Featured Creatures: ” It is not a dangerous spider, but a locally painful bite can be delivered to any human who carelessly handles a huntsman spider.”

      Reply
  6. I found one of these in the bathroom of my new home and mistaken it for a RECLUSE SPIDER…. I unfortunately killed it, and feel terrible for doing so. 🙁

    Reply
  7. Found one at our home in Clinton, TN…North of Knoxville. I killed it. Because I am a human. And it wasn’t. 8 legged bugger. Biggest I’d seen in the wild. How can I post a picture so you can tell me for sure?

    Reply
  8. Found one in my shed and took a picture of it. Friend in Australia identified it immediately and said they have them there as well.

    Reply
  9. OMG! have one in my lillys. 6 legs and has spun a web around some of the blooms and laid 2 pods of eggs. Just back from vacation and there it was! Hasn’t moved for two days straight. I am in Northern Wisconsin, considered zone 4, somestimes zone 5.

    Reply
  10. I recently came across a huntsman spider in my bathroom in Hanoi, Vietnam, hiding behind the toilet. It is very shy and quick, and seems to be larger than 4 inches across (gonna let it live inside and see if it gets larger). I suspect that’s why the cockroach population has dwindled to zero. They’re quite good at keeping the pest population at bay, so don’t kill them! They look a bit intimidating but are all help and no harm.

    Reply
  11. I had one that had 6 legs and a bunch of eggs in kelowna bc canada… but you say males have 6 legs. …? Not the female?

    Reply
    • Huntsman Spiders, both male and female, should have eight legs, but they occasionally lose one or more legs for a variety of traumatic reasons, hence individuals with only seven, six, five or possibly even fewer legs.

      Reply
  12. Hello Mr. Bugman
    I have a friend who has little red spots on his legs, believed to be spider bites after sleeping in a bed at his Mom and Dad’s home in Punta Gorda Floria. Any idea as to what species of spider it might be?
    Thanks…Ri

    Reply
  13. I found one exactly like that in my kitchen in Guadalajara, Jalisco.
    If I would have known it was a huntsman, I would have been friendlier to him.
    There is a YouTube video where a huntsman kills a brown recluse…

    Reply
  14. I found one exactly like that in my kitchen in Guadalajara, Jalisco.
    If I would have known it was a huntsman, I would have been friendlier to him.
    There is a YouTube video where a huntsman kills a brown recluse…

    Reply
  15. One just ran across my living room wall behind me. It was so quick and made me jump. It ran to the kitchen area behind the fridge, I’d rather have the spider than the critters it eats and it appeared to not want to be near us.
    -Vung Tau (south coast Vietnam)

    Reply
  16. One just ran across my living room wall behind me. It was so quick and made me jump. It ran to the kitchen area behind the fridge, I’d rather have the spider than the critters it eats and it appeared to not want to be near us.
    -Vung Tau (south coast Vietnam)

    Reply
  17. My husband was bitten in Vietnamby a spider or some bug that lays dormant and reoccurs when the area is hit just right. He develops a black area with puss and red streaks up his arm. His hand also swells. US doctors can not explain or understand type. They treat with strong antibiotics. Dies anyone know what type this may be? Any help appreciated. This has been on going since his tour in 1072.

    Reply
    • It sounds like recurrent lymphangitis. The underlying problem may be a skin fungal infection or a hypersensitivity to a previous infection. I’d suggest next time it happens you see an ID physician and get pus samples to look for a fungus.

      Reply
  18. 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
  19. Hello Mr.bugman I live in Tallassee Alabama,and we get these giant spiders that get to be 3 or 4 inches long with yellow,black,and white spots on them. What are they?

    Reply
  20. I found a 6 legged very fuzzy spider{?}flattened against the wall of my garden shed here in the Northern Neck of VA. What could it be? Several hours later it had moved and was not to be seen.
    Thanks,
    Mary

    Reply
  21. Amazing I am a spider lover I catch and keep them when ever I can they are so cool I will be looking for a huntsman spider can you tell me were is a good place too look for them

    Reply
  22. Hi I found two recently in my bedroom, I’m a little concerned as we have a two month baby , can they cause any harm ?

    Reply

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