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.
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 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.
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.