Spiders are a far cry from the monsters people make them out to be. Spiders as a group consume more bugs than birds do. In our house, we enlist help from spiders, specifically Huntsman spiders (Heteropoda cf. venatoria) to keep our house as cockroach-free as possible.
The male huntsman you see here was hunting a cockroach in my toilet. I had to use Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens on Canon EOS 5D Mark III as the spider was far on the roof. Holding the camera high over my head, I used autofocus to capture it. Since the light was little, I had to take help of the Canon Speedlite 580EX II flash to illuminate. Since I did not have any softbox to diffuse, the light was harsh. It has also cast an ugly shadow behind the spider.
Unlike most arachnids, Huntsman spiders won’t leave dust-catching webs in hard-to-reach corners. They are web-free spiders that capture their prey with a combination of stealth and speed. Wherever Huntsman spiders reside, cockroach populations decrease along with other pesky home invaders such as crickets and silverfish.
The only drawback to these dedicated hunters is their unexpected size. Fortunately, these cockroach-consuming Goliaths have no interest in people. Their focus is on bugs. Around people, they are inherently shy, rarely appearing during daylight hours.
It is not surprising that house spiders are wary of humans. People bombard spiders with an irrational brutality completely out of proportion to the presumed threat. Armed with whatever weapon can be quickly found, brooms, fly swatters, rolled-up newspapers or aerosol containers of poison, people pursue these harmless bug eaters with an irrational passion.
Huntsman spiders wait for prey to come close, and like lions, chase their prey for short distances. Contrary to their gangly and cumbersome appearance, these spiders are very fast and can chase down their prey with ease. These spiders are extremely aggressive, will arch up to make displays to frighten off perceived threats, and will tenaciously cling to attackers or perceived attackers if they think it will protect them. Given any other circumstance, these spiders are designed to slip through holes and cracks and will escape if they feel outmatched.
Huntsman Spiders are not harmful to humans, and although big and scary. They will bite in self-defense, in which case they are not venomous, and the only result will be a big red spider bite. Don’t worry, you won’t transform into Spiderman, even if you want to 😉 . As mentioned before, they do cling if picked up, and will most likely bite, making a close-up Huntsman encounter a frightening and potentially painful one, but ultimately not life-threatening. These Spiders mainly eat insects, other spiders and sometimes small lizards and snakes. Large enough Huntsman might kill and digest tiny rodents.
You can check two more of my blog on these cute Huntsman spiders