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Huntsman spiders: Fascinating Facts and Tips to Deal with Them

Greyhuntsman

Huntsman spiders are a common sight in Australia, known for their size, speed, and ability to “jump.” While their presence may send shivers down your spine, these spiders play an essential role in controlling insects like cockroaches. Let’s explore some fascinating facts about huntsman spiders and learn how to coexist with them.

Huntsman Spider Size and Appearance

Australia is home to over 100 species of huntsman spiders, varying in size, color, and habitat. The largest species, the giant huntsman found in Laos, boasts a leg span of 30 cm. In Australia, the grey huntsman takes the spotlight, with a leg span of up to 23 cm. Most huntsman spiders have a grey or brown coloration with leg bands, providing excellent camouflage in their natural environments. Some species, like the badge huntsman, have distinctive color combinations on the underside of their abdomens.

Potter wasp with badge huntsman

The Life Cycle of Huntsman Spiders

Female huntsman spiders lay around 200 eggs in a flat, oval silk sac. Depending on the species, they may either carry the sac or hide it in a sheltered spot, guarding it fiercely. The eggs usually hatch within three weeks, and the spiderlings gradually darken with each molt as they grow. While most huntsman spiders are solitary, the social huntsman lives together in groups of up to 150 spiders.

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Are Huntsman Spiders Dangerous?

Huntsman spiders are generally not aggressive towards humans, and they are more likely to flee than attack unless provoked. Their venom, while lethal to insects, is not particularly toxic to humans. However, the badge huntsman is known to have more potent venom. A typical huntsman bite causes localized swelling and pain, which usually subsides within an hour. In rare cases, victims may experience a headache and mild nausea.

Dealing with a Huntsman Spider Bite

If bitten by a huntsman spider, follow these five steps:

  1. Sit down and try to relax.
  2. Clean the bite with water and disinfectant.
  3. Apply an ice pack to the area.
  4. If possible, collect the spider for identification.
  5. Seek medical attention. Note: Do not apply a pressure bandage, as it worsens the pain and does not prevent venom movement.

Can Huntsman Spiders Jump?

Huntsman spiders have unique leg arrangements that give them their alternative name, giant crab spiders. While they can occasionally jump or fall from surfaces to escape, their real asset is speed. Some of the fastest huntsman spiders can cover up to 5 meters per second, which is about half the maximum speed of Usain Bolt!

Where Do Huntsman Spiders Live?

Huntsman spiders thrive in various habitats, thanks to their flattened bodies that allow them to squeeze under rocks and tree bark. This flexibility also enables them to enter homes and cars through gaps under doors and windows. During the warmer months, huntsman spiders may seek refuge in your home to escape the summer heat. Preventing entry by keeping doors and windows properly sealed and maintaining well-fitted insect screens can make your home less attractive to them.

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Controlling Huntsman Spiders

As huntsman spiders are nomadic with no fixed hiding places, specifically targeting them can be challenging. However, reducing their food sources by implementing a general pest treatment outside your home will make it less appealing to huntsman spiders. Additionally, keeping the perimeter clear of vegetation, maintaining garden beds, and ensuring well-fitted insect screens can help deter them.

FAQs

Q: Are huntsman spiders dangerous?
A: While huntsman spiders are not particularly dangerous to humans, their bites can cause localized swelling and pain. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Q: Can huntsman spiders jump?
A: Huntsman spiders can jump or fall from surfaces when necessary, but their impressive speed is their primary means of escape.

Conclusion

Huntsman spiders may instill fear due to their size and quick movements, but they are beneficial creatures that help control insect populations. By understanding their behavior, taking precautions, and addressing any concerns, you can coexist peacefully with these fascinating arachnids. Remember to respect their space and appreciate the role they play in nature.

For more information about huntsman spiders and other intriguing topics, visit iBlog.

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