Largest spider in Australia – Huntsman spider

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 in Size

The largest spider to be found in Australia is the huntsman, which also stakes a claim for being the second largest spider after the Goliath bird eating tarantula.

Huntsman spider

 

How big can it get?

The leg span of a giant huntsman can reach 30 centimetres (1-foot) across – almost the size of a Mini Cooper’s hubcap – which means it is of a similar size to the goliath tarantula. It has even been suggested that it may actually eclipse its bird-eating counterpart which makes for an uneasy thought or two.

 

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What does it eat?

Its diet consists mainly of insects, invertebrates and small lizards. It also has a taste for cockroaches which makes it particularly useful when it comes to pest control.

 

How does it hunt?

The huntsman is a nocturnal creature and a formidable foe to bugs. It does not build a web instead it stalks prey and relies on its speed to catch unsuspecting bugs after dark.  When it does catch a tasty victim it uses its venomous fangs to immobilise before devouring.

 

How dangerous is it?

Depends on how you want to look at it? The truth is a huntsman’s bite is discomforting rather than painful and generally they will only defend themselves if they feel threatened, so you could say they’re not that dangerous. On the other hand, their size, speed and habit of scaring the living daylights out of people by popping up in unexpected places, like cars, means these ‘harmless’ spiders cause a lot of serious accidents!

 

How many are left?

There are 1,009 different species of Huntsman trekking temperate climates across the globe. As such there is no shortage in numbers when it comes to this long-legged arachnid.

 

Anything else?

The spider’s giant legs made it an internet sensation when it was snapped behind a clock. Images of ‘Clock Spider’, as it became known, went viral, much to the chagrin of arachnophobia sufferers worldwide.

 

photo by: John Tann
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