How long do Huntsman Spiders live for? These spiders are short-llived compared to some of their relatives, but being big, efficient pest control means they do a lot of good in that time…
Huntsman Spiders are a globally distributed family called the Sparassidae. Though they include some of the world’s largest spiders by leg span, they aren’t particularly long-lived. In fact, most species only reach one to two years of age. This is in contrast to Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders which live much longer.
The life span of a huntsman spider varies, depending on its species. Some species grow rapidly and reproduce within weeks, while others may take longer to mature, going through a long growth period.
The egg sac of a huntsman spider is often found under bark or in other sheltered areas. This sac carries the spider’s young for up to three weeks. The young huntsman spiders are usually pale and will grow darker as they mature.
The life cycle of the huntsman spider can vary considerably, from just a few weeks to over two years. Females usually plaster the egg sac to the back of their retreats, though occasionally you can also find them behind paintings or other types of furniture.
While most species only live in large family groups when they first hatch from the egg sac, others are permanently social, living in communities. Huntsman spiders can live in colonies of up to three hundred individuals, and in some regions, they are even observed sharing food with each other.
Where do Huntsman Spiders live?
Huntsman Spiders have a global distribution, with species like the Green Huntsman living in Europe, and the Giant Huntsman living in Australia. Though not native to the US, they have accidentally been introduced to some southern states like Texas and Florida – probably through banana shipments.
Some Huntsman spiders can reach up to 30 cm in length, and they’re commonly mistaken for tarantulas due to their legs, which extend forward like a crab’s leg. When looking at them, you can see that they have more slender legs and a flatter body, though they are just as big.
Since huntsmen spiders don’t spin webs, they’re able to squeeze into small crevices and gaps to find their prey. They can spend the day resting indoors, but they don’t like the cold, so they often wander into warm areas.
This is why you’ll often see them living behind curtains or under sun visors. Their preference for indoor spaces may depend on where they live, but they’ll almost certainly be found in these areas.
If you find a very large, and very fast spider on a wall anywhere in Oceania, chances are it’s a Huntsman. Around human habitations, these spiders have favourite hiding places, which include:
- behind paintings
- behind curtains
- in the garage
- in cars, including sun visors
- near to outdoor lights
What do Huntsman Spiders eat?
What do Huntsman Spiders eat is a big question that’s sparked many an arachnophobic’s curiosity. Though they are incredibly big for a spider, they don’t always hunt large prey. In fact, they are often excellent pest control, having a liking for roaches.
The huntsman spider has a flat, oval egg sac, which it lays between three and 200 eggs. It then stands guard over the egg sac for about three weeks. Females of this spider species are territorial and aggressive. When provoked, they will rear in a defensive display. Some species carry the egg sac in a web underneath their bodies, while others leave it behind.
Like other spiders, huntsman spiders eat insects, invertebrates, lizards, and amphibians. Their diet is varied, and the species of insects and even vertebrates that they prey upon vary widely. Huntsman spiders are also known to hunt wolf spiders, red-back spiders, funnel web spiders, and white-tailed frogs.
In one unusual occurrence, a Huntsman Spider in Tasmania was observed eating a miniature possom.
Huntsman Spider Size
The Huntsman spider is an exceptionally large arachnid, and although not as heavy as a tarantula, it often has a wider legspan. The biggest species are approximately 12in (30cm) in length.
Their venom is used to stun their prey but overall seems to be very weak. Like jumping spiders, Huntsman spiders appear to use their strength as their primary weapon instead.
While frightening to some humans, this species is still held in high regard in many areas for its unique ability to kill other spider species and eliminate pest insects.
The huntsman spider is not a dangerous spider, but it can bite if provoked. Mothers of this spider have been known to bite larger animals when protecting their eggs.
Despite their docile appearance, huntsman spiders are not easily harmed. Anyone who has tried to catch one will tell you that they are extremely agile and fast moving. They also grow back their legs, so it takes a real body blow for a predator to do them permanent damage.
Are Huntsman Spiders dangerous?
A common question that plagues people worldwide is “are Huntsman Spiders dangerous?” The answer is no. The huntsman spider is a very mildly venomous species that only bites when forced.
But, if you’re worried about the possibility of being bitten by one, take heart! They’re usually harmless and prefer to flee at the first sign of danger.
This species of spider is remarkably fast. It can cover 30-40 times its body length in a single second! Its long legs help its agility, and its flat body helps it squeeze through gaps, tree bark and even windows or doors.