Huntsman Spider: How to Identify The Eight-Legged Freak

You won’t have any trouble identifying a huntsman spider. Discovering a 6-inch wide spider hiding under your bed is also something you’ll never forget. But, just in case you are still confused, let’s find out everything we can about identifying a huntsman spider and maybe avoid encountering one.

Related: Tarantula bites.

Related: Tarantulas: Appearance, diet, and mating.

Related: How to identify the Brazilian wandering spider.

Huntsman spider
Close up of a huntsman spider. Photo credit: Afshen

Huntsman spider: Description.

The huntsman spider found in the United States (Heteropoda venatoria) is a large (up to 1 inch long and 6 inches wide), flat, brown-colored, nearly hairless, invasive spider. Females are larger than males. Huntsman spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas.

The broad plate at the front of the huntsman spider’s eyes is cream to yellowish, and the cephalothorax’s hard upper ‘shell’ has a wide tan band on females and cream colored one on males.

Related: How to identify and get rid of black widow spiders.

Where do you find huntsman spiders in America?

The huntsman spider species that live in the United States can be found in the southern coastal states and parts of Florida, California, and Texas.

When they enter your home, they will tuck their flat bodies into the narrowest crevices and cracks. You’ll find them in closets, basements, sheds, garages, and even vehicles. Outside, they will conceal themselves in wood piles, construction materials, and openings in trees.

As colder weather approaches, huntsman spiders will attempt to find warmth in your home. Here they will prefer quieter locations where they are unlikely to be disturbed, such as inside curtains, closets, under cabinets, tables, and other furniture.

Related: How to identify jumping spiders.

Huntsman spider diet.

Huntsman spiders do not build webs; they forage and hunt for their food. Indeed, they can move so fast that they can easily catch cockroaches, geckos, moths, butterflies, and other insects. 

A huntsman spider can travel fast, jump high, walk up walls, and even run across ceilings.

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Huntsman spider with egg sac
Huntsman spider with hatching egg sac. Photo credit: Lam

Mating rituals of the huntsman spider.

During the life cycle of a huntsman spider, your best chance of getting bit is when the female is guarding her eggs or young spiderlings.

During courtship, male huntsman spiders vibrate their abdomens and produce a buzzing sound (detectable by humans in a quiet enough setting) when they detect the pheromones of an available female. 

If a female huntsman spider likes what she hears, she will approach the male doing all that buzzing. Then, after mating, the female (Heteropoda venatoria) will use her pedipalps to carry her egg sac protectively underneath her until the eggs (100 or more) hatch.

 The egg sacs shape and size render the female relatively immotile. And every stages of the growth of spiderlings and adults seem to occur happen throughout the year.

The female huntsman spider will fiercely protect her egg sac during this period. She will make aggressive threat displays to warn you off and may attack and bite you if further provoked.

Are huntsman spider bites dangerous?

The huntsman spider is not especially dangerous, but it does deliver enough venom to give one hell of a painful bite. Their bite can cause headache, swelling, headache, and nausea. The bite of these spiders is unlikely to require medical treatment.

Huntsman spider cites often occur because the spiders have a tendency to “cling” to you if picked up. This makes them difficult to dislodge and much more likely to bite.

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Related: What do ants eat?

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Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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