CPR First Aid

Are Huntsman Spiders Dangerous to Humans?

Are Huntsman Spiders Dangerous to Humans

Due to the venom in their fangs, plus their creepy crawler factor, spiders are generally feared. This is especially the case in certain parts of the world where spider bites can prove fatal for people. One such place is Australia.

People who have a healthy fear of arachnids have no doubt heard about red back and funnel web spiders. Their bites could cause death in a matter of minutes. 

One other spider people would know about is the Huntsman, known for its large size and distinct look. Armed with its fearsome appearance, does it bring something else to the table that makes it dangerous to people? 

Join us as we explore whether huntsman spiders are dangerous to humans.

On the Hunt: Characteristics and More

Physical Appearance

The physical appearance of these giant huntsman spiders from the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae) is very distinct, making them quite recognizable to many people. These types of spiders are very large, with big bodies that are capable of flattening out. They also have longer legs than most, with the front legs reaching longer than their hind legs. This species of huntsman spider has a leg span of 7 to 12 cm according to the University of Florida.

Another defining feature of this type of spider is how hairy they are. Their bodies are patched with hair, often coloured brown or beige. There is also a banded colour, periodically showing up on parts of their legs. 

Finally, their legs are unique in that they do not bend vertically. Instead, their twisted legs are splayed outward and forward, allowing them to walk sideways like crabs.

Differences Between Males and Females

Both genders of this spider are about the same size when seen in their natural habitat. However, there are some distinct differences between the two.

For starters, the females have a larger and heavier abdomen. The males are about the same size, but with much smaller abdomens but longer legs. 

In cultivating huntsman spiders, it was seen that the males tend to mature faster but in smaller bodies. 

This is of particular importance as female huntsman spiders of this species have a preference for males. When selecting mates, they tend to go with the larger ones and kill off the ones smaller in size. 

If it is not in their choice though, the females will mate with the smaller ones too. 


These are often found in the Australian forest-like areas. They are often found in many places like in trees, under rocks, rock walls, loose bark, tree bark, rock crevices, and within or under logs as well. Their flattened body size allows them to squeeze into tiny spaces. 

Despite their living within forest settings, they have also been known to travel around and get into certain places nearer to humans. 

It is not uncommon to find a few of these spiders within the house. This is usually brought about by changes in the weather and the climate

They can also easily sneak into cars and hide in small spaces such as visors and the like. 

There are also specific species that are known to be found in certain areas of Australia and other countries. For instance, Holconia immanis is found in eastern Australia from Queensland to Victoria. The Flat Huntsman Spider, also known as the Social Huntsman Spider (Delena cancerides), is popular in Tasmania.

Even other countries and regions are home to these. New Zealand has the Social huntsman spider, the Americas (Florida, Texas, and California) have the pantropical huntsman spider, and Laos in Asia has the giant huntsman spider (Heteropoda.) Recent news also states that there are new genus and species discovered in South Africa and Namibia.

Online resources such as the Australian Museum provide photos of these different species with appropriate image credits.


Insects and other invertebrates such as geckos and cockroaches are the favorite.

How do They Multiply?

In addressing the question of danger, it is important to understand the behaviour of these spiders – specifically the female – when multiplying.

According to the Australian Museum, after mating, the female produces an egg sac which can contain up to over 200 eggs. The first order of business is keeping it safe. They do this by placing it under a log, a rock, or a crevice

Once this is done, the mother then stands to watch for three weeks. During that whole period, they do nothing but guard their eggs, not needing to feed or eat at all. 

When it is time for their spiderlings to emerge, the mother may opt to help break open the sac. 

Is the Huntsman Spider Dangerous?

Attitude Towards Humans

It is time to address the question of whether Huntsman spiders are dangerous to humans. 

In truth, their general attitude towards humans indicates the opposite. When coming face to face with people, they usually opt to just run. They are more afraid of people than we are of them. 

They do have a funny way of showing their fear though, often trying to run up to a person instead of away. 

However, there are some instances where they will be poised to attack. If cornered and with nowhere left to go, they turn to the use of their fangs.

In addition, when a female is disturbed when protecting their egg sacs, they are known to be overly aggressive. 

The Danger of the Bite

The bite of the Australian Huntsman Spiders is not as dangerous as that of other spiders such as spider wasps, tarantulas, giant crab spiders, and jumping spiders. In fact, in most cases, they are incapable of killing people with their bite. 

Like many other spiders, their Huntsman spider bite contains some venom. This venom though isn’t fatal for people. It only introduces a few minor symptoms to the general population which still need the application of a cold pack and further medical attention

Here is a list of symptoms from this spider’s bite. 

Instant Pain 

These spiders have large jaws and big fangs, and because of these, the first thing that people will feel when bitten is pain. 

People can instantly see the area where they were bitten, connoted by puncture wounds. In some cases, there will only be one wound instead of two. It is likely because only one fang made contact with a person’s skin. 

Reports indicate that the pain felt here is the worst out of all the actual symptoms felt. 

Swelling and Inflammation

Along with pain, the afflicted area may also swell and become inflamed. Additionally, the area may also have a tinge of itchiness. Such symptoms may occur especially if the bite came from a Badge Huntsman Spider (Genus: Neosparassus, Order: Araneae), a species within the same family.

These are common symptoms of a spider bite, with people using it as a general indication that they have been bitten. However, it is important to know which spider bit them, as this will be useful in understanding how harmful the bite is and if other symptoms are likely to follow. 

These will usually go down on their own, but if they persist, medical assistance should be sought immediately. 

Nauseous and Vomiting

Finally, people bitten by the Huntsman can also feel nauseous and have a bit of a headache. This will be accompanied by a need to vomit. If a person rests and keeps hydrated, they should come out just fine.

It must be stated again though that if any of these symptoms persist, then it is in people’s best interest to seek first aid


In some rare cases, people may prove allergic to this spider’s bite, as well as the spider itself. If a person who is allergic to any of these comes into contact with them, anaphylaxis may be triggered which is dangerous in its own right. 

In one study, a Huntsman crawled over a man. This went on for about half an hour, leaving tracks of rashes along his arms. After medications, he was able to recover in just six hours. 

Danger Is as Danger Does

As an offshoot of Forrest Gump’s quote, “Danger is as danger does.” This means that depending on what happens and how it is understood, there is still a chance that something is dangerous. 

In some cases, “danger” is a subjective concept and must be clearly defined. For starters, there is a distinction between fatal and dangerous. If the question is whether a social Huntsman Spider can kill humans, the answer is no. 

Despite that, their venomous bite is still something to be cautious over, presenting several dangers to people. 

One of the best things to do is learn first aid and be prepared for any spider bite. 

Learn relevant first aid practices via CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today. Terms and conditions apply. 



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