So, you’ve decided to journey into the fascinating world of the Huntsman Spider, huh? Brave choice! These critters are not your average backyard spiders. They’re the stuff of both intrigue and, let’s be honest, a few nightmares. But fear not! We’re here to peel back the layers of mystery surrounding these eight-legged wonders.

Get ready for a ride into the wild side of nature that’s as educational as it is thrilling. And who knows? By the end, you might just want a Huntsman Spider as your next pet… or at least, you won’t leap out of your skin the next time you see one.

What is the Huntsman Spider?

Let’s kick things off by getting acquainted with our furry friend, the Huntsman Spider. These spiders are part of the Sparassidae family, which is just a fancy way of saying they’re known for their size, speed, and hunting prowess. No webs for these athletes – they prefer the thrill of the chase, hunting down their prey with a speed that’s impressive for creatures of their size.

With over a thousand species scattered around the globe, Huntsman Spiders are the international spies of the spider world: versatile, widespread, and surprisingly good at squeezing into tight spaces despite their size. Whether you find them fascinating or a bit on the freaky side, there’s no denying that Huntsman Spiders are a remarkable example of nature’s ingenuity.

Huntsman Spider

What Do Huntsman Spiders Look Like?

Picture this: you’re walking through your house and out of the corner of your eye, you spot something large, flat, and leggy scurrying across the wall. Congratulations, you’ve probably just encountered a Huntsman Spider. But before you start planning your move to a new home, let’s dissect what you saw.

Huntsman Spiders have a distinct look that sets them apart from your garden-variety arachnids. First off, they’re big. Not “check under the bed before you sleep” big (usually), but with a leg span that can reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) in some species, they’re not exactly subtle. Their bodies are more flattened than other spiders, a design feature that makes them adept at slipping into cracks and crevices in search of prey or a cozy spot to chill.

Their legs, oh, their legs! These are long, spindly appendages that sprawl outwards, making them look even larger than they are. The legs are equipped with twisted joints, allowing the Huntsman to move in a crab-like fashion, sideways and with alarming speed. This agility is what makes them such effective hunters, able to dart out, grab a meal, and vanish before their prey knows what hit it.

How Big Are Huntsman Spiders?

Okay, let’s talk size because, with Huntsman Spiders, size does matter. When you first encounter one, its sheer scale might just take your breath away—or make you sprint in the opposite direction. On average, these leggy beasts boast a leg span that can easily cover the face of a grown adult. We’re talking about a typical range from 5 to 12 inches (about 12 to 30 centimeters) from toe to toe.

But don’t worry; the body of a Huntsman Spider isn’t quite as imposing, usually measuring just about 0.5 to 2 inches (1 to 5 centimeters) long. Still, it’s their sprawling stance and ninja-like speed that often earn them a scream or two.


Moving on to their “skin,” or more accurately, their exoskeleton. Huntsman Spiders, like all arachnids, wear their skeletons on the outside. This exoskeleton is a tough, protective layer that supports their body and helps keep moisture in, so they don’t dry out. It’s also somewhat flexible, allowing for that creepy, scuttly movement we all know and love (or, you know, get startled by in the middle of the night).

The exoskeleton of a Huntsman Spider isn’t just functional; it’s also part of their stealth mode, with colors and patterns that blend into their surroundings like a natural cloak of invisibility.

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spider Legs

But the real MVPs of the Huntsman Spider’s anatomy have got to be its legs. These aren’t just ordinary legs; they’re the ultimate tools for hunting and survival. Each leg is long, slender, and equipped with powerful muscles that allow for quick, agile movements. The unique arrangement of their legs, which spread out sideways, gives them the ability to move in any direction with ease—forward, backward, sideways, you name it. This crab-like movement isn’t just for show; it’s how they ambush their prey, moving swiftly and silently before it even realizes what’s happening.

Moreover, the ends of their legs are tipped with claw-like structures that help them grip surfaces, enabling them to climb smooth walls and even hang upside down on ceilings with effortless grace. Ever seen a Huntsman Spider casually stroll up a wall? Yeah, those leggy gymnastics are all thanks to their specialized legs and claws.

Huntsman Spider Fangs

And we can’t forget about those fangs. While Huntsman Spiders may not have the most powerful venom in the spider kingdom, they do have impressive fangs. These aren’t just for decoration; they’re crucial for subduing their prey. Huntsman Spiders use their speed and agility to pounce on their meals, and then those fangs come into play, delivering a swift bite that immobilizes the unlucky critter.

The fangs of a Huntsman Spider are large enough to be noticeable, especially up close, but they’re usually not interested in biting humans unless provoked or accidentally squeezed or pressed against skin. So, while they might look terrifying, they’re not out to get you. Their main focus? The next bug on their dinner menu.

Large spider protecting its nest


When it comes to blending in, the Huntsman Spider is a master of disguise. Their colouration isn’t just about looking pretty; it’s a survival mechanism. The range of browns, greys, and sometimes greens or yellows across their bodies allows these spiders to become nearly invisible against tree bark, leaves, and even the crevices of your home.

This camouflage isn’t just for hiding from us (though it’s quite effective at giving us a scare); it primarily serves to keep them stealthy from their prey and hidden from predators. Each species of Huntsman Spider has its own unique pattern, which can be anything from a uniform color to intricate designs that mimic the textures and shadows of their natural habitat.

So, the next time you spot one, take a moment to appreciate its natural artistry—once your heart rate returns to normal, that is.

What Do Huntsman Spiders Eat?

Now, onto the juicy stuff—literally. Huntsman Spiders are not picky eaters. Their diet mainly consists of insects and other invertebrates, making them natural pest controllers. Cockroaches, crickets, moths, and even small vertebrates like geckos or small mice can become meals for these agile hunters.

Thanks to their powerful legs and stealthy movements, Huntsman Spiders can ambush their prey, overpowering them with speed and precision. They don’t use webs to catch their food; they’re all about the chase. This diet is crucial not just for the spider’s survival but also for maintaining a balanced ecosystem, controlling populations of pests that might otherwise overrun our homes and natural environments.

So, if you see a Huntsman Spider hanging around, remember, it’s on your side in the battle against bugs.

Social Structure

If you’re imagining Huntsman Spiders holding meetings or organizing into spider societies, well, that’s not quite how they roll. These spiders are predominantly solitary creatures, coming together only for mating—and even then, it’s a brief affair. There’s no complex social structure here; Huntsman Spiders are the loners of the spider world, each one living and hunting independently. This solitary nature extends to their offspring as well.

Once the young spiders hatch, they’re on their own, dispersing to find their own way in the world without any parental guidance. While this might sound a bit harsh, it’s all part of the Huntsman Spider’s survival strategy, spreading out to ensure they don’t compete with each other for resources. In the rare cases where you do see them together, it’s usually temporary and driven by external factors like climate conditions pushing them into closer quarters than they’d typically prefer.

Huntsman spider

How Do Huntsman Spiders Reproduce?

Diving into the love life of a Huntsman Spider is as fascinating as it is perilous—especially if you’re the spider in question. Reproduction for these creatures involves a delicate dance of attraction, danger, and sometimes, a bit of cannibalism. Males must approach females with caution, signaling their intentions through vibrations or gentle touches to avoid being mistaken for a meal. Once they’ve successfully wooed their mate without becoming one themselves, the pair will copulate.

After mating, the female lays her eggs in a silk sac, which she fiercely guards until they hatch. This protective behavior is one of the few times Huntsman Spiders show any sort of parental care. Depending on the species, a single egg sac can contain hundreds of tiny spiderlings. When they finally emerge, these little adventurers are entirely independent, ready to scatter and begin their solitary lives. This moment marks the end of the communal bond, as both the mother and her offspring go their separate ways.

How Long Do Huntsman Spiders Live?

The lifespan of a Huntsman Spider can vary significantly depending on the species and environmental conditions. On average, these spiders can live for about two years, though some have been known to survive for up to three years in captivity where threats are minimal. This relatively short lifespan is punctuated by a continuous cycle of hunting, mating, and, for the females, egg-laying.

The early stages of a Huntsman Spider’s life are the most perilous, with a high mortality rate due to predation and competition for food. Those that do make it to adulthood have to contend with the usual threats of larger predators, including birds, lizards, and, of course, humans who may not be thrilled to share their homes with them. Despite these challenges, Huntsman Spiders are remarkably resilient creatures, adapting to a wide range of environments to survive and thrive.

Are Huntsman Spiders Aggressive?

Let’s clear the air: despite their daunting size and fearsome appearance, Huntsman Spiders are not aggressive towards humans. These spiders are far more interested in running away than picking a fight. Their primary defense mechanism is their speed and agility, which they use to escape perceived threats—like a screaming human flailing at them with a broom.

That’s not to say they won’t bite if they’re provoked or feel threatened, especially if they’re cornered or accidentally pressed against skin. However, such incidents are rare, and the consequences are usually minor. A bite from a Huntsman Spider can be painful and may cause swelling and discomfort, but their venom is not dangerous to humans. It’s potent enough to subdue their prey but doesn’t have a significant effect on us.

Huge australian spider

Are Huntsman Spiders Territorial?

When you think about territorial animals, Huntsman Spiders might not be the first creatures that come to mind. And you’d be mostly right. These spiders don’t set up shop and defend a specific territory from intruders like some animals do. Instead, they’re nomadic hunters, constantly on the move in search of food and shelter. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’re entirely without territorial instincts.

In the case of finding a particularly bountiful hunting ground or a cozy spot that’s ideal for laying eggs, a Huntsman Spider might stick around a bit longer, warding off other spiders that get too close. But this behavior is more about resource guarding than defending a permanent territory. Once the food supply dwindles or the spiderlings have hatched and dispersed, the adult spider will move on to greener pastures (or, more accurately, bug-filled ones).

How Fast Are Huntsman Spiders?

“Holy smokes, did you see that?!” is a common reaction to witnessing a Huntsman Spider in action. Yes, they’re fast. Really fast. Their long, powerful legs allow them to move at speeds that are astonishing for their size, which can be quite a shock if you’re not expecting it. When sprinting, a Huntsman Spider can cover up to a meter per second, a pace that ensures they’re adept hunters capable of catching even the most agile of prey.

This speed also comes in handy when avoiding threats, including well-meaning humans trying to escort them outside with a broom. Their rapid movements, combined with their ability to scuttle sideways, make them appear even more intimidating, but rest assured, they’re just trying to make a quick getaway, not launch an attack.

Huntsman Spider Venom

Now, let’s talk venom. Yes, Huntsman Spiders are venomous, but before you panic, let’s put that into perspective. Their venom is designed to immobilize their prey, which consists mainly of insects and small invertebrates. For humans, a bite from a Huntsman Spider is generally harmless. At worst, it might result in some pain, swelling, and mild nausea, but these symptoms are usually short-lived and not severe.

It’s worth noting that Huntsman Spiders are reluctant to bite unless they feel threatened or are mishandled. They’re much more likely to flee than to confront a potential threat. So, while the idea of venomous spiders might send shivers down your spine, in the case of the Huntsman, it’s more a tool of their trade in the insect world than a threat to humans.

Spider fangs

Where Do Huntsman Spiders Live?

Huntsman Spiders are the ultimate globetrotters of the arachnid world, inhabiting a wide range of environments across the globe. You can find them in warm, tropical regions, as well as cooler climates, making homes in forests, deserts, and everything in between. But it’s not just the great outdoors they’re comfortable in; Huntsman Spiders have also become infamous for their uninvited guest appearances in houses, much to the surprise (and sometimes horror) of the residents.

Their natural habitat, however, is among the trees, under rocks, or inside the crevices of bark where they can stay hidden and ambush prey. The adaptability of Huntsman Spiders to various environments is a testament to their resilience and versatility as a species. This wide distribution also means that encounters with humans are relatively common, especially in areas where their outdoor habitat intersects with urban development.

How Many Huntsman Spiders Are There in the Wild?

Quantifying the exact number of Huntsman Spiders in the wild is a tricky endeavor, given their widespread distribution and reclusive nature. However, with over 1,200 species identified across the globe, it’s safe to say their populations are robust in regions where they thrive. These spiders play a crucial role in controlling insect populations, serving as a natural pest management system.

Their presence in an area can be a good indicator of ecological health, as they are sensitive to environmental changes and habitat destruction. While specific population numbers are challenging to pin down, conservation efforts focus on preserving natural habitats to ensure these beneficial predators continue to play their part in the ecosystem.

Are Huntsman Spiders Endangered?

The conservation status of Huntsman Spiders varies widely among the different species. While most Huntsman Spiders are not currently considered endangered, their existence is threatened by the same factors that affect biodiversity worldwide, including habitat loss, pollution, and climate change. Urbanization and agricultural development can reduce their natural habitats, forcing them into closer contact with humans or leading to population declines in certain areas.

That said, the adaptability of Huntsman Spiders means they are often able to survive in changing environments, but this doesn’t negate the importance of conservation efforts. Protecting natural habitats and promoting ecological balance benefits not just Huntsman Spiders but the vast array of species that share their ecosystems. Awareness and education about the role of spiders in the environment can help foster coexistence and appreciation rather than fear and eradication.

Huntsman spider eyes

Threats to Huntsman Spiders

Despite their adaptability and prowess as hunters, Huntsman Spiders face several threats in their natural habitats. The most pressing of these is habitat destruction caused by human activities, such as deforestation, urban expansion, and agriculture. These actions not only reduce the spaces where Huntsman Spiders can live and hunt but also diminish their prey populations, making survival increasingly challenging.

Another significant threat comes from the use of pesticides and insecticides. These chemicals, intended to kill pests, can also eliminate the Huntsman Spider’s food sources or poison the spiders directly. Climate change also poses a long-term threat, altering the environments that these spiders call home and potentially disrupting their breeding patterns and prey availability.

Tips for Spotting Huntsman Spiders

If you’re keen on spotting a Huntsman Spider in the wild (or preparing yourself for an accidental meeting), here are a few tips:

  1. Look at night: Huntsman Spiders are nocturnal, so your best chance of seeing one is after dark when they’re out hunting.
  2. Check their hiding spots: Look under loose bark, crevices in rocks, or leaf litter. If you’re indoors, they might be hiding behind curtains, furniture, or in corners of rooms.
  3. Move gently: Sudden movements can startle them, causing them to flee. Move slowly and keep your distance.
  4. Use a flashlight: A soft light can help spot them without causing too much distress.

Facts about The Huntsman Spider

  • Huntsman Spiders can have a leg span of up to 12 inches.
  • They don’t build webs to catch their prey; they are active hunters.
  • Huntsman Spiders can run up to a meter per second.
  • Their venom is potent to their prey but generally harmless to humans.
  • Huntsman Spiders are found in warm climates all around the world.
  • They can live for up to two years, sometimes longer in captivity.

Myths about The Huntsman Spider

  • Myth: Huntsman Spiders are deadly to humans. Fact: Their venom isn’t dangerous to most humans.
  • Myth: Huntsman Spiders are aggressive. Fact: They are more likely to flee than attack.
  • Myth: Huntsman Spiders come in massive swarms. Fact: They are solitary creatures, except in cases of mating or when young are hatching.

Huntsman Spiders, with their daunting size and speed, are often met with fear and misunderstanding. Yet, as we’ve explored, these creatures are not only harmless to humans but beneficial, controlling pest populations and contributing to the ecological balance. By understanding more about their habits, habitats, and roles in the environment, we can appreciate the Huntsman Spider not as a creature to fear, but as a fascinating and vital part of the natural world.