Nothing to fear from huntsman spider, even if they crawl across your face
- Manly Daily
- March 26, 2014
- Andrew Priestley
I learnt this week that there’s really no need to panic if you find a huntsman spider crawling across your face.
The Manly Daily reported this month that weather conditions could mean an increase in the number of huntsmen found indoors. The prospect revealed a number of readers had a fear of the hairy species.
I’d really let this guy have a place in your house for the winter and just let him do his thing – Olga Kazakova
In a bid to help allay people’s concerns about the common household spider, the Wild Life Sydney Zoo gave me an insight into just how harmless the amiable arachnids are.
HUNTSMAN: Spiders expected to migrate indoors as weather cools
The zoo’s head invertebrate keeper, Olga Kazakova, was on hand as I interacted with one of the spiders.*
She explained we had nothing to fear from the humble huntsman.
“If anything, they’ll be more scared of you,” she said.
“Generally they’re quite friendly little critters.”
Wild Life Sydney Zoo Invertibrate keeper Olga Kazakova with a huntsman. Picture: Braden Fastier. Source: News Corp Australia
This month, the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife stated more huntsman spiders may turn up in homes and cars, looking for shelter and food.
Huntsman spiders have been found in kitchen drawers, under car sun visors, and have even run across car dashboards. They have been known to cause traffic accidents.
The spider can grow up to 16cm in diameter in Australia – a 30cm specimen has been found overseas.
Their large size, quick movements and unexpected hiding places mean they are highly capable at inspiring fear.
“They can go very very fast and they usually jump out of unexpected places so you often find them hiding in the bathroom somewhere, under a towel or something,” Ms Kazakova said.
“Of course, when you find something in your house this large, an unwelcome visitor in the middle of the night is always going to be a bit terrifying.”
It looks terrifying, but journalist Andrew Priestley proven there’s no reason to fear huntsman spiders. Source: News Limited
Don’t hunt the huntsman!
Huntsman spiders look creepy – they can grow up to 16cm in diameter, have hairy long legs and scuttle around places like curtains, cars and kitchen drawers.
They can bite and it does hurt but is rarely harmful.
As house guests, they earn their board by controlling cockroaches, flies and other unwanted nasties, providing chemical-free pest control.
Weather is expected to drive more indoors and wildlife experts urge to leave the arachnids alone.
But Ms Kazakova explained that they were unlikely to do any major harm to people.
Huntsmen can bite, and the bite can be painful. Ms Kazakova said unless you have an allergic reaction, which had never happened to her knowledge, a huntsman bite will not do any serious damage.
“They’re almost completely incapable of causing you long-term harm,” she said.
“They’re there to take down the cockroaches and the flies and all the other nasties you don’t really enjoy having around your home.”
She said we have nothing to fear from the huntsman.
“If anything, I’d really let this guy have a place in your house for the winter and just let him do his thing, clean up your kitchen in the middle of the night,” she said.
“If it’s on the other side of the room, it’s definitely not going to come running over trying to bite you, perhaps maybe for a pat or something, but not for a bite.”
* PLEASE NOTE – the journalist in this video undertook this task in a controlled environment with a keeper at hand. Spiders can be dangerous and we advise people not to replicate this experiment without a trained keeper in a controlled environment.