The Huntsman Spider

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what does a huntsman spider look like

Though these alarming critters are not overly common, the huntsman spider has been reported in parts of Utah. Since the 1970’s, there have been roughly 30 reports of huntsman spiders in Utah. Most species of huntsman spiders are believed to be native to Asia, but large populations of select huntsman spider species are common to and only found in Australia; however, reports of huntsman spiders come from all over the world.

Olios fasciculatus and Olios giganteus are two common species of huntsman spiders and include what is known as the golden huntsman, which is the type of huntsman spider reportedly found in Utah. Depending on the species, huntsman spiders typically have black-to-brown or gold-to-yellow bodies, and they are excellent climbers. If you were to find a huntsman spider in your home, it will likely be climbing up your walls or across your ceiling. The bite of a huntsman spider is not known to be medically significant, but it can be painful and cause nausea or headaches, making it a spider worth remembering.


The “golden huntsman” nickname could apply to several species of huntsman spiders, but the Olios genus includes several species that feature the famous golden color. Another common nickname for this spider is the “giant crab spider” due to its physical attributes being similar to those of a giant crab. The female tends to have a more robust body, and the largest huntsman spiders are often mistaken for tarantulas. While some species of huntsman spiders found in Asia can grow up to a foot in length, the typical golden huntsman is much smaller.

Key Characteristics

  • About 1 inch in length
  • Covered in small hairs
  • Sandy to golden in color
  • Dark-colored markings on back
  • Flat bodies with an oversized cephalothorax
  • Two rows of four eyes
  • Large, hairy fangs
  • Pedipalps extend longer than fangs
  • Legs extend up to 6 inches long
  • Legs and pedipalps both feature dark, sock-like tips

Mating And Life Cycle

When the male is searching for a mate, he produces a sound to attract a female. The sound emanates from the abdominal area of the spider and has been likened to the ticking of a clock. Once a mate is found, the courtship is a relatively long and peaceful process compared to many other species of spiders. The male is rarely attacked by the female, and it is not uncommon to find large colonies of huntsman spiders living peacefully.

The female creates an egg sac that holds up to 200 eggs.  ➥  The egg sac is then buried under rocks or organic matter.  ➥  The female stands guard over the egg sac for up to three weeks (some species may carry their egg sacs under their bodies).  ➥  Once hatched, the mother stays with spiderlings for several weeks.  ➥  Spiderlings get darker as they molt until they reach full maturity.  ➥  Golden huntsman spiders will live up to 2.5 years in ideal conditions.

Habitat And Habits

Huntsman spiders do not build webs. The only silk they spin is used to create egg sacs. Instead of catching prey in a web, huntsman spiders stay true to their name and prefer to hunt and attack their victims. As exceptional climbers, most huntsman spiders live in trees between tree bark. Occasionally, these spiders can find their way inside homes and garages. If a huntsman spider were in your home, you would likely see it jumping and scurrying quickly along all surfaces of your home.

  • Huntsman spiders prefer dry, arid climates.
  • Shrubbery, tree bark, and boulders are often used to hide and ambush prey.
  • Golden huntsman spiders mainly feed on crickets, wasps, beetles, and other insects.
  • Certain huntsman spiders frequently eat small frogs and lizards.
  • They move very quickly via a combination of running and jumping horizontally.
  • The creature uses its large fangs to hold prey still while its venom is being injected.

Danger To Humans

As previously stated, huntsman spiders are not the most common type of spider in Utah, but reports of them in homes do exist and are much more common around the world. These spiders do find themselves indoors occasionally, especially in Australia, but they prefer to be out in nature. While it is believed that huntsman spiders do not like the presence of humans, they have been known to act aggressively when threatened.

Reports of bites are low, but that is likely because these large spiders are difficult to miss in your home, and most people tend to flee the area when one is spotted. If a bite does occur, it will likely occur quite suddenly due to their speed and jumping ability. The venom they inject into their prey is not medically significant to humans; however, These bites will always be painful due to the large fangs of the creature, and reports do exist of bites leading to nausea and headaches. Aside from these symptoms, no severe reactions seem to occur in humans as a result of a huntsman spider bite.

Call Holmes Lawn & Pest at (801) 616-5296 for more information on spiders and pest control in Utah.

Thank you for reading our blog post on the huntsman spider. Our last blog post is an informative article on the camel spider. Our new blog post is up and will teach you all you need to know on the huntsman spider.

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