Huntsman spider coming to a wall near you

Huntsman spiders may look intimidating but they are not dangerous.
Huntsman spiders may look intimidating but they are not dangerous.

Illawarra households are set to share their home with an unwanted guest in the coming weeks - the huntsman spider.

Huntsmans tend to head indoors when the cool weather hits, madly hunting for insects before their food starts to hibernate for the winter.

People across the region will soon notice a spate of huntsmans, keen to take up residence in cracks, crevices or inside the car as they search for their dinner.

While the spiders may look intimidating with their hairy legs and large pincers, Gerringong arachnologist Graham Wishart said they were not dangerous.

"People definitely shouldn't be scared of them," he said.

"They are very fast on their feet, which makes them harder to get rid of, and they've got great legs for gripping onto things and climbing up walls."

Common huntsman breeds in the Illawarra include the grey Sydney huntsman, the Shield or Badge huntsman and the Giant huntsman.

The spiders' flat bodies allow them to squeeze under doors while their colouring enables them to blend into their natural environment.

National Parks and Wildlife Foundation chief executive Felicity Wishart said the key to dealing with a hunstman was not to panic.

"Huntsmans are easily disturbed and can move very fast, which is not a good combination for people scared of spiders," she said.

Trying to remove them with a broom or object they can run along is a no-no - instead place a container over them, push a piece of paper underneath and take them outside.

Ms Bradshaw said the spiders were actually handy to have in the garden as they worked to keep insect numbers down.

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