Are Huntsman Spiders the Biggest Arachnids? Explore the Intriguing Facts!

by Deepti S9 months ago
Picture Are Huntsman Spiders the Biggest Arachnids? Explore the Intriguing Facts!

Waking up to find a giant hairy spider on your wall is a terrifying experience, especially when it’s a behemoth giant huntsman spider! Huntsman spiders are one of the largest and most terrifying-looking arachnids on Earth. Their long legs and huge bodies can grow so big that they sometimes even resemble a crab.

Despite their intimidating size, the sneaky huntsman spiders belonging to the Sparassidae family are actually quite shy. They use their extraordinary camouflage skills to hide, and, as the name suggests, they are indeed great at hunting. While their size may startle us humans at first glance, giant huntsman spiders are not dangerous to us. Surprising, isn’t it? Want to learn more such fascinating facts about these giant spiders? Then, keep reading.

A Huntsman Spider Named Charlotte Went Viral for its Gigantic Size in Australia

Barnyard Betty clicked a picture of Charolette
Barnyard Betty clicked a picture of Charolette. Image Credit: Barnyard Betty’s Rescue/ Facebook.com

In October 2015, Barnyard Betty’s Rescue spotted a massive huntsman spider in Queensland, Australia. The people at the rescue center nicknamed the spider “Charlotte.” She was so enormous that it was difficult to believe she was a real spider! They took her pictures and shared them on social media, which quickly went viral online.

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But how was Charlotte discovered? Well, Barnyard Betty and a group of children were exploring an old farm being renovated. The children ran out of a shed, screaming their lungs out. Concerned, Betty went into the shed to check and capture the spider. She initially planned to use a glass and paper to scoop Charlotte up carefully, but she quickly realized this wouldn’t work because Charlotte was just too big! After consulting with an expert, Betty gave shelter to Charlotte in her shed as this environment was ideal for her growth.

Charolette, the giant Huntsman Spider
Charolette, the giant Huntsman Spider. Barnyard Betty’s Rescue/ Facebook.com

According to the rescue center, Charlotte seemed nothing like the terrifying spiders you see in movies. She turned out to be extremely calm and did not wish to cause harm to anyone. She just wanted to eat bugs and live peacefully. The rescue center wants people to know that spiders like Charlotte do not need to be killed. They are misunderstood creatures. An expert said she is one of the largest huntsman spiders in Australia. Her legs could extend to more than 7.8 inches. Huntsman spiders are usually found in regions with hot weather conditions.

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Huntsman Spiders Are One of the Biggest of All the Spiders Found on Earth

A giant huntsman spider found in a house in Cairns, North Queensland
A giant huntsman spider found in a house in Cairns, North Queensland. Image Credit: Jake Gray/ Australian Spider Identification Page

Did you know that the huntsman spider holds the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest spider by leg span? The giant huntsman spider (Heteropoda maxima) can have a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 cm), which is as wide as a dinner plate!

Huntsman spiders can weigh one to two grams. Adult females have a larger body size, especially in the abdomen than males, while adult males have longer legs than females. However, some species of this spider can weigh over 5.5 grams. Not just that, an adult huntsman spider can also grow so big that its forelegs may stretch up to 15 cm.

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Huntsman spiders are also known for not building webs. Instead of relying on webs, these spiders actively search for and chase their prey with amazing stealth and speed. They grab their prey with their large, powerful fangs and paralyze it with their venom. But their venom is not that dangerous to humans. You may experience pain from their bites, as well as mild nausea and headaches, but the most common symptom is localized pain and swelling.

Huntsman Spiders Are Unimaginably Fast for Their Huge Size

Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spider. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Huntsman spiders are huge, with flat bodies and few patterns on their backs. Their two back pair of legs are shorter than their front legs, and their legs extend out to the sides, giving them the appearance of a crab. They come in a variety of colors and designs, but the majority of them are brown, black, or grey. Since they are hairy, huntsman spiders are frequently confused for tarantulas, but their crab-like legs can help you distinguish them.

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Despite their huge size, huntsman spiders are exceptionally fast runners. In general, they can move up to a yard (nearly one meter) each second! The fastest huntsman spiders, Holconia hirsuta and Beregama aurea, can run 42 and 31 times their body lengths per second, respectively. To put that into perspective, Usain Bolt, the world-record-holding fastest human, runs at 5.2 times his body length per second. So you can imagine how fast they run!

The Large Huntsman Spider Families Are Led by a Dominant Female

Huntsman Spider Colony
Huntsman Spider Colony. Image Credit: Angela Sanders/Bush Heritage Australia

Huntsman spiders are typically solitary creatures. They only interact with other spiders for mating, and then they separate. However, the social huntsman spider species can exist in large families of up to 150 spiders or even more. The family is led by a massive and dominant female spider. The family seeks shelter behind the bark of a dead tree or beneath rocks, and the young spiders remain with their mother until they are about a year old and have reached adulthood.

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Huntsman Spiders Are Found in Most Parts of the World!

This Palystes castaneus is a species of huntsman spider
This Palystes Castaneus is a species of huntsman spider. Image Credit: JonRichfield/ Wikimedia.org

Most species of the huntsman spiders are thought to be native to Asia. However, they are most prominently found in Australia, followed by Asia, Africa, and South America. They can also be spotted in the warmer parts of the USA, like Florida, Texas, and California.

Although huntsman spiders are not native to America, it is thought that they found their way to the country in boxes of bananas. Therefore, they are often referred to as “banana spiders.” While huntsman spiders can be found in most parts of the world, they are highly susceptible to cold. Therefore, they cannot be found in the colder regions.

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The huntsman spiders are not very choosy, either, when it comes to finding a home. They can be seen dwelling inside the loose bark on trees, beneath rocks, in narrow spaces in houses, or in the wild. Huntsman spiders are also known for entering cars and houses.

Can you let a gigantic yet harmless huntsman spider dwell in the corners of your house?

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Picture Are Huntsman Spiders the Biggest Arachnids? Explore the Intriguing Facts!
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