When I first arrived in Australia, I looked under toilet seats, behind curtains and window shades in the car to make sure there wasn't a huntsman spider hiding by chance. Hunting spiders (Sparacidae) – also known as huntsman spiders – look very scary and trigger every aspect of my fear of spiders.
With an average body length of 2.5 cm and a leg length of up to fifteen cm, the spider is not only gigantic, it also has very long legs, is hairy, dark in colour, is very fast and prefers to stroll around in the evening. . However, this eight-legged animal is a beloved housemate for many Australians. What's up with that?
Learn about the huntsman spider
The huntsman spider gets its name from the way it catches its prey. Instead of weaving a web, it collects a meal by hunting. The spider does this by luring its prey – insects such as cockroaches and mosquitoes – and then chasing it. Its vision is not perfect, but the spider can detect its victim using the hairs on its legs that can detect vibrations. There are over ninety different species of Huntsman spiders in Australia, but only a few are found in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Its intimidating appearance and quick legs give the impression that the hunter is at the top of the food chain, but the spider itself is a favorite snack of geckos, spider wasps and birds. Therefore, the hunter prefers to hide during the day under the bark of trees and between rocks to stay out of the sight of these predators.
In homes, he tries to imitate his natural hideout. As a result, it may sometimes happen that he unwittingly frightens the inhabitants, even though the hunter is more afraid of us than we are of him. Are you trying to catch him? Due to his poor eyesight, he may sometimes accidentally run towards you while trying to escape.
The hunter does not harm anyone
So the hairy look can be quite scary, but it doesn't hurt anyone. Spiders from SparacidaeThe family is not aggressive by nature and only bites when it feels threatened, but this rarely happens. In addition, they are not dangerous to humans – to spiders of the genus Neoparasus Which can cause unpleasant symptoms such as pain, swelling, sweating, nausea and vomiting.
Although the Huntsman doesn't like his appearance, sits in unexpected places and sometimes runs in the wrong direction like a headless chicken, he is a beloved housemate for many Australians. After all, spiders play an important role in the ecosystem. In this way, the hunter ensures that his environment is not full of insects, such as cockroaches and mosquitoes.
He does this not only in nature, but also at home. In addition, the hunter helps control insects that destroy important plants. Is there a hunter in your house? This means that there are enough insects to catch. Therefore, most Australians would rather have a small, furry roommate than a house full of insects, and thus leave the hunter alone.
Do you meet a fisherman while traveling? So don't run away from home right away. Although the Hunter still scares me a lot, these days I try to think of him as a friendly, furry housemate. This doesn't happen without its hitches, but you get used to it. Even a giant huntsman spider.
Are you going to Australia and are curious about which angler you will be dealing with? Then download the Spidentify app to identify the species.
After her internship, Anna began working as a freelancer for Women's Health and Runner's World, and sometimes also for National Geographic. She combines her interests in feminism and sexuality with her passion for exercise and nutrition. She thinks it's important to make a healthy lifestyle accessible to everyone, because she thinks exercising is so much fun! Anna herself runs and boxes, but also loves long walks with a podcast in her ears. She is in the final year of a journalism course in Tilburg
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