Huntsman spiders belong to the family Sparassidae and occur throughout Australia.
Huntsman spiders are free roaming hunters that use speed, agility and power to capture their prey. Moths, cockroaches, beetles, crickets and other spiders are common prey of huntman spiders. They do not build webs to trap food, instead simply run it down and grasp it with their legs and fangs. They use silk to create day-time retreats, to protect their eggs and as safety lines as they move about.
Huntsman spiders are venomous but most species have very mild venom which is not considered dangerous to humans. Most are very reluctant to bite, and will attempt to run away from any perceived danger. Contrary to popular belief, huntsman spiders do not chase people. They do not see like we do, and cannot see us from a distance. Running down a wall towards us is not intentional – they are attempting to get away.
Australia has approximately 200 species of huntsman spiders, and still new species are being discovered. They live in the deserts, rainforests and even in the cool sub-alpine zones. Some species are common over wide areas, while others are restricted to small regions of the country.
Below are some of Australia’s huntsman species with their known distributions.