The giant huntsman spider is the biggest member of the family Sparassidae. The average huntsman attains a leg span length of approximately 9.8 to 11.8 inches (about 25 –30 centimetres), and a body length of about 4.6 cm.
They are mostly identified by their yellowish-brown and grey body colouring with several irregular spots distributed at the other half of their rear end. They possess extremely long and forward facing crab-like legs that are encircled with dark or stripped colour bands usually before the first bend.
Besides its size and the length of its legs, the huntsman can also be identified through its genital features. The male huntsman for instance, possesses a longer cymbium three times longer than its tegulum. The female huntsman also possesses a uniquely shaped epigyneal field with two anterior directed bands, and the course of their internal ducts.
Originally, the first huntsman species was discovered in a cave in Laos, Asia. They are initially believed to be cave dwellers due to their grey body color and elongated legs. This belief is also compounded by the fact that most huntsman spiders have flattened bodies which may have adjusted to them living in narrow spaces.
Huntsman spiders are typically found within warmer temperate and tropical regions like Australia, New Zealand, the Mediterranean, South Asia, Africa and other possible semi-tropical regions. They are mostly found living in between rock crevices, logs or wall cracks, between loose bark of trees or foliage or underneath dead tree stumps. They are also found in human homes too.
Do giant huntsman spiders bite?
Giant huntsman spiders do bite but however painful the bite may be, it does not contain poisonous venom and that makes it less dangerous (to humans only!).
Contrary to their frightening size and appearance, the huntsman spider is not known to be generally aggressive towards humans –except when duly provoked. In the process of guarding her eggs, for instance, the female huntsman may become aggressive towards perceived trespassers and may likely strike.
However for animals that are their prey, the huntsman bites are quite lethal. In its search for food, it runs after its prey and injects its venom into it. The poison from the venom keeps the prey immobilized and automatically, a food material.
Although its bites are quite lethal to insects which are its major prey, a giant huntsman spider’s bite is actually less venomous and quite harmless for humans. The effects of the bite could be mild reactions such as nausea, vomiting, localized swelling (which usually subsided within an hour), headache, heart palpitations and pain. However, here’s a list of things to do should one get bitten by a huntsman spider;
● Clean the bite area with soap and water and apply an ice pack or a cold pack to reduce swelling
● Application of regular painkillers like paracetamol can also help lessen the pains.
● Keep an eye on the victim should in case they get allergic reactions like anaphylaxis which may include tightness or swellings in the throat or a swollen tongue.
● Call or report to the hospital once these extreme symptoms are noticed.
Are giant huntsman spiders super fast?
Despite their size, giant huntsman spiders can be extremely fast and quick. According to Bills Christy, a giant huntsman can move up to a yard (almost 1 meter) per second.
Their speed is attributed as a great asset to their hunting technique. This is because, instead of building webs like other spiders, the giant huntsman spider actively hunts down its prey. Their speed makes hunting highly advantageous as it makes it easy for them to corner their prey.
Can you keep a giant huntsman as a pet?
While giant huntsman spiders make great natural pest/insect control because they usually feed on pests and insects, they also make great pets due to their less aggressive nature.
However, if you decide on keeping a huntsman as a pet, you may need to create enough space –almost natural habitat-like, and feed them their desired insects for them to thrive. Here are a few spider-care tips that might come in handy;
● Moisten their environment at least once a day
● Feed them live insects 2-4 times a week
● Do not attempt to hold them except you know how to.