The Huntsman spider is a swift, efficient predator, that comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are also known as “giant crab spiders,” “wood spiders,” “rain spiders,” and “lizard-eating spiders.”
All Hunstmans are members of the Sparassidae family, and there are over 1,200 different species. The largest species of spider in the world (based on leg-span) is the giant huntsman spider. Read on to learn about the huntsman spider.
Description of the Huntsman Spider
Huntsman spiders have a somewhat crab-like appearance because of their forward-facing legs. Most species are brown or grey, with extremely long legs. They can range anywhere from an inch or smaller to nearly a foot across with their legs stretched. That’s a terrifyingly large spider! They use those long legs to speed in pursuit of small prey.
Interesting Facts About the Huntsman Spider
With such a wide variety of species, there are virtually endless facts about huntsman spiders. Learn more about these unique creatures and voracious predators below.
- Harmless to Humans – The vast majority of species are harmless to humans. Though they have venom, it is mild compared to many other spider species. Most bites are about as painful as a bee sting, but some are more severe.
- Biggest Spider, Sort Of – Though the giant huntsman spider takes the prize for largest leg span, they aren’t quite the largest spiders in the world. Goliath birdeaters are much heavier, and have larger bodies, than giant huntsman spiders.
- Webless Spider – Instead of building a web to capture prey, these arachnids wander the ground in search of their food. This is where their long legs come in handy! They are extremely fast, and this allows them to outrun their prey.
Habitat of the Huntsman Spider
Huntsmans prefer hiding in dark places until nighttime. They are very commonly found hiding under tree bark, in woodpiles, mine shafts, homes, and even cars. Their range is usually restricted to tropical and warm temperate regions. Some species can be found in colder climates as well.
Distribution of the Huntsman Spider
The wide variety of species can be found in a number of different locations. Different species are found virtually worldwide within tropical and temperate climates. They can be found in Australia, the Americas, the Mediterranean Basin, Africa, Guam, India, and Asia. A number of species have been accidentally introduced to subtropical areas as well.
Diet of the Huntsman Spider
Huntsman spiders will eat a wide variety of prey, as long as it is small enough for them to catch. They are opportunistic, and can feed on anything that they are capable of capturing. Prey usually includes a wide variety of insects, arthropods, lizards, amphibians, and more. They stalk and chase their prey rather than using a web to capture it.
Huntsman Spider and Human Interaction
When cornered these arachnids will defend themselves viciously. They are not venomous enough to require hospitalization, but bites are very painful and can cause other side effects. Females protecting their eggs are extremely aggressive and known to bite. The rate of bites is higher than some other spider species because they tend to grab onto the surface when they are pulled on.
Huntsman spiders have not been domesticated in any way.
Does the Huntsman Spider Make a Good Pet
If you are so inclined, perhaps they can make good, hands-off, pets. However, their bite is quite painful.
Huntsman Spider Care
In human care these spiders must be kept in a secure enclosure, as they are very capable of climbing walls and ceilings. They should be provided plenty of hiding places for them to retreat to during the day. They can be fed on a variety of small insects. Different species have different needs, so it is important to do adequate research before purchasing one as a pet.
Behavior of the Huntsman Spider
Most of these creatures are solitary, and rarely interact with one another outside of breeding. They are reclusive during the day, and more active at night. During the day it is not uncommon for them to hide in tree bark, wood piles, forests, sheds, houses, cars, and more. At night they wander in search of prey, which they will stalk and chase to capture.
Reproduction of the Huntsman Spider
The many different species have a wide variety of mating behaviors. Females rarely attack the males after breeding, unlike some other spider species. After breeding, the female will produce an egg sac wrapped carefully in silk. This egg sac can contain up to 200 eggs. Most species will protect their egg sac until it hatches, viciously attacking any who get too close.