How to deal with your household Huntsman

Taryn Elizabeth By Taryn Elizabeth, 24th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Nature>Arachnids

Huntsman spiders can be huge and hugely frightening but there are ways of dealing with them that dont have to end with a rolled up newspaper or a painful bite.

What do they look like and are they harmful?

If you look up the Huntsman spider you may find conflicting reports. However the general concensus is to not worry about them. But how do you do that when its 10 oclock at night, you're home alone and can't go to sleep because you are too busy watching it in horror. Sound familiar?
There are many species of the Huntsman, but it is typically quite a big spider. Some can reach 15cm in leg span! The average one that you will find in your house is usually about 5-8cm wide. They are typically some variation of brown in colour. Their front two pairs of thin legs are longer than the back two pairs and their body is flat to fit in narrow crevices. They can produce web 'silk' but dont use webs to catch their prey. They are terrifyingly fast! When they are spotted indoors they are usually on walls staying very still waiting to pounce on their prey.

The important thing to remember is that you are not their prey! They are actually very helpful because they will eat other annoying insects like cockroaches. If you have a Huntsman, you have less cockroaches. This spider will mostly ignore humans, as long as you ignore them! I have heard of them landing on pets and biting them but that is usually because the pet was threatening them. The same goes for humans, the Huntsman should only harm you if you threaten it. To say they are venomless is misleading, they do have venom, and their bite would hurt but it will only be localised pain and swelling and maybe a headache and nausea (As always, if you are concerned about a spider bite and/or related symptoms seek medical attention).

Your options

If the knowledge that your Huntsman is serving a noble purpose in your house isnt a convincing enough reason for you to live with it, the options are kill or catch and release. If you're going to attempt either of these things remember they are so fast that they dont need a web to catch dinner. So if you misjudge your attempt at hitting it with a shoe or catching it in a bowl and sliding a piece of paper under it (common solutions) it is likely to run at you in defence. We cant blame it for that. So be sure of your plan. The same goes for spraying it with bug spray. This is often a less messy option and avoids getting too close to it but make sure it is good bug spray. It will take more than one blast of spray to kill it (I dont care what the can says) and may take time. Once again be ready for it to run before it dies.

My Solution

This morning I reluctantly woke up after a rough nights sleep. Last night i found a Huntsman an hour before bed but couldnt find it when it came time to go to sleep. Worst nightmare right? so i tucked my sheets in tight around me and slept with a dim light on. My theory was that when i woke frequently over night from dreams of spiders i wanted to be able to quickly scan the walls to see that my friend had not returned and go back to sleep. This is exactly what happened repeatedly.

This led me to wonder why, when I was younger, I was able to sleep easily knowing there was a spider in my room. As a young girl i remember even sleeping with it on the wall above my head! I remember this experience because it wasnt easy, but I did go to sleep. If the spider was there today I probably would sleep in a different room or not go to bed until it had moved on.

So what is the difference today? well I think it is that I have lost the childlike ability to listen to my mother say 'it wont hurt you' and blindly believe it. In other words its about a mindset. I am not going to suggest that it is this simple for someone with true arachnophobia but trying to change your own perspective can only help.

Our fears and situations we feel we can't handle are often closely related to our imagination or our subconscious running the worst case scenario through our heads. When you think of trying to catch it does your mind picture its successful capture and safe release outside or does it see a horrifying image of it running up your arm and onto your face? With every dream i had overnight the Huntsman became bigger and bigger and more aggressive.

So this morning i flipped a mental switch. Taking Hints from my inner child I decided that if I was going to see the Huntsman as harmless and even helpful (in removing cockroaches) I needed to give it a name and start thinking positively about it. So when i think of 'Harold the Huntsman' now i see a helpful arachnid which has a noble job to do. In my mind he belongs in a childrens movie like charlottes web so I dont draw the conclusion that Harold would hurt me. Leaving him to do his job in peace is much more appealing to me than trying to interrupt him and making him angry.
Plus I dont have any bug spray.


Arachnid, Arachnophobia, Bug Spray, Catch And Release, Fear Of Spiders, Get Rid Of Cockroaches, Get Rid Of Spider, Household, Huntsman Spider, Insect, Spiders

Meet the author

author avatar Taryn Elizabeth
I enjoy writing fiction and non fiction about what i know and/or love. This ever expanding list incorporates Society, history, travel, family (of every kind), animals, change and self improvement.

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