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What is a Huntsman Spider?

S. Ashraf
S. Ashraf

The huntsman spider is a type of spider that belongs to the Sparassidae family, which is distinguished from other families of spiders by its large size and long legs. Generally speaking, the basic color of a huntsman spider is a muted shade of gray or brown. Its body looks smooth in appearance, and its legs are covered with protruding spines that make them look hairy. Male huntsman spiders have an average body size of about 0.75 inches (19 mm), and females usually are larger at about 0.90 inches (23 mm), although some species of the huntsman spider are much larger than others. As might be expected, the female is especially larger in the abdominal area, but the male has far longer legs than the female.

Geographically, the huntsman spider is dispersed across a wide swath of continents and countries in tropical to semitropical climates. These spiders have moved around the world as unintended passengers on ships. As long as the area in which they arrive is not too cold for them to live through the winter, they are able to survive and thrive.

Huntsman spiders may be found in woodpiles.
Huntsman spiders may be found in woodpiles.

The huntsman spider is found from India, Japan and China, through Southeast Asia to southern Africa as well as in the countries of the Mediterranean. They also inhabit areas of the United States, such as Hawaii and Florida. Huntsman spiders have different names in different locations. For example, in Hawaii, they are known as cane spiders, but in Africa, they are called rain spiders because they run for shelter before it starts to rain.

The huntsman spider can be found in tropical and semi-tropical climates throughout the world.
The huntsman spider can be found in tropical and semi-tropical climates throughout the world.

The huntsman also has another name, the wood spider, after its favorite habitat. Huntsman spiders prefer to live in places such as tree bark, woodpiles, mine shafts, sheds and garages. These spiders have flat bodies that are perfect for living in the narrow crevices found in rocks, houses and vehicles.

Huntsman spiders do not build nests but, as their name suggests, hunt and forage for food on the ground. These spiders are carnivorous, and their diet mostly consists of invertebrates and insects. If they are small enough, huntsman spiders will occasionally eat gecko lizards and skinks. One of their favorite foods is cockroaches, so homeowners will sometimes just move a huntsman from the house to the garden instead of killing it.

Huntsman spiders often inhabit outdoor sheds.
Huntsman spiders often inhabit outdoor sheds.

These spiders have a life span of about two years. After mating, a female might lay as many as 200 eggs in an egg sac, which it hides under a rock or bark. Nonstop and without eating, the female aggressively guards the sac for about three weeks until the eggs hatch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Huntsman Spider?

A Huntsman Spider is a member of the Sparassidae family, known for its large size, speedy movements, and crab-like gait. These spiders can have a leg span of up to 15 centimeters (6 inches) and are often found in warm climates. They are not considered dangerous to humans, as their venom is not lethal, but they can deliver a painful bite if provoked.

Where can you typically find Huntsman Spiders?

Huntsman Spiders are commonly found in Australia, Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Americas. They prefer warm environments and are often located in natural habitats such as under rocks, bark, or within foliage. However, they can also be found inside homes, where they hunt for insects at night.

Are Huntsman Spiders dangerous to humans?

While Huntsman Spiders are large and can appear intimidating, they are not considered dangerous to humans. Their venom is not potent enough to cause serious harm. However, they can bite if they feel threatened, which may result in localized pain, swelling, or redness, but no long-term health issues.

How do Huntsman Spiders hunt their prey?

Huntsman Spiders do not build webs to catch prey. Instead, they are active hunters, using their speed and agility to chase down insects and other small invertebrates. Their excellent eyesight allows them to spot and ambush prey, quickly overpowering it with their strong legs and fangs.

What is the lifespan of a Huntsman Spider?

The lifespan of a Huntsman Spider varies by species, but on average, they can live for about two years. Female Huntsman Spiders tend to live longer than males, and they can lay hundreds of eggs at a time, which they guard fiercely until they hatch.

How do Huntsman Spiders contribute to the ecosystem?

Huntsman Spiders play a crucial role in controlling insect populations, as they consume a variety of pests. By regulating these populations, they help maintain ecological balance. Additionally, they serve as prey for other animals, such as birds and reptiles, thus contributing to the food web.

Discussion Comments


Another good thing to do if huntsman spiders are in your area is to relocate them from an area where they are unwanted to a garden. They are good for plants because they are can be used as a natural way to control insects that are pests to gardeners.


If you live in an area that has huntsman spiders, you should not be afraid of them because they pose no threats to humans. Just ignore them in their natural habitats.

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    • Huntsman spiders may be found in woodpiles.
      By: mema
      Huntsman spiders may be found in woodpiles.
    • The huntsman spider can be found in tropical and semi-tropical climates throughout the world.
      By: Dim154
      The huntsman spider can be found in tropical and semi-tropical climates throughout the world.
    • Huntsman spiders often inhabit outdoor sheds.
      By: Crisferra
      Huntsman spiders often inhabit outdoor sheds.