Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 15: The Huntsman

animals, Sydney Expat Interviews

This post is brought to you by the Tourism Board of Australia. Just kidding!

You know that old chestnut about how every critter in Australia is out to kill you? Well, the Hunstman spider is not one of those things. It is, however, an extremely common and enormous spider that people routinely find behind doors, in shoes, or crawling out from under the car’s sun visor. Encountering one is sort of an expat rite of passage. 

Toughened up Aussies will tell you, “ah, mate, it’s just a Huntsman! Leave it be. It eats the other bugs.” And, I suppose that is one possible response to seeing a spider the size of a basketball in your living room…

I have somehow managed to escape my Hunstman initiation, and every time I say that, I think I’m cursing myself. I don’t know why I’d put it in print.
Here are some other expats and their tales of Huntsman bravery. 

This is the 15th in an 18 part interview series with expats living in Sydney. Please make sure to visit the fantastic websites of the participants linked below, and join me on Facebook for much more on expat life in Sydney.Sydney Expat Interview Series - Hunstman spider


Question 15: Have you encountered a Huntsman spider?

Name: Victoria
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 6 years
Victoria blogs at The Freedom Travellers

Yes! The first one I encountered in my house was literally thudding across the carpet it was that big! Think a house spider on steroids that can run faster than Usain Bolt…not much sleep to be had when one of those is running wild in your apartment!

Name: Julia
Country of origin: UK
Lived in Sydney: 7 years

We had one make its way off our terrace into our lounge one evening – and was positioned just next to my husbands head when he walked back in – I have only ever seen a spider that size in a zoo before – so I am so so thankful that my husband was home to deal with it – my first reaction on seeing it was to scream and jump onto a sofa – it was actually bigger than the shoe my husband hit it with – after that I made a comment about not being able to live in Australia anymore!!


Name: “Bushranger”
Country of Origin: Serbia
Lived in Sydney: 6.5 Years

Yes on our balcony ceiling – it took at least a quarter of the ceiling and retreated fast.

Name: Ashley
Country of origin: United States

Lived in Sydney: 2 years (in Newcastle)
Visit Ashley on Instagram

Ohhhh yes. The first time was in my son’s closet. I shut his closet door, then his bedroom door, and ran out into the living room and stayed there. I left it as a present for my husband. The second time it was chilling inside my bedroom window sideways. I was calm and did not freak out so I didn’t scare the kids. The third time, our front door was open and it had come in from under the screen. It was chilling on the TV. I mean…we’re trying to watch a show here, Mr. Huntsman!!! My husband got a plastic container and tried to capture it but omg those things move faster than I eat a bowl of ice cream. We (he, definitely not me) got it and threw the ENTIRE plastic container on the front lawn! They’re freaky looking and they move fast but the good thing is, they eat all the bugs and won’t eat YOU!


Name: Caitlin
Country of origin: England

Lived in Sydney: 1.5 year
Caitlin blogs at Where’s Wallis

Thankfully not and I hope to avoid one for as long as possible! I’ve heard they are super speedy though and that I shouldn’t be scared of them as they eat all the other bugs!

Name: Debbie
Country of origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 10 years

Plenty! The most memorable story took place in our first house, out at Galston. It was winter time so we were using the wood burning stove daily. I opened the door to sweep out the previous days ashes and lay a new fire, I was really close, had my head almost in the stove while I was reaching to the back when my hubby suddenly said really urgently ‘move, get away from the stove now’. When I looked up there was the biggest spider we had ever seen sitting right there on the door of the stove. I leaped away and we both stood there just looking at this monster. We made a plan, hubby got a broom and I got a mesh waste paper bin. Hubby knocked the spider off the door, at which point the bloody thing made a beeline straight for me and the thingwas FAST, somehow I managed to get the bin over it just before it got to me. We thought it was a wolf spider, but others think it’s a huntsman.


Name: Mollie
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 4 years

Only safely on in the woods or in our garden. I left them alone.

Name: Kirstie
Country of origin: United States
Lived in Sydney: Since September 2013
Kirstie blogs at Venga Vale Vamos

I did once find a spider at a friend’s house that I feared was a Huntsman because of its size. Please keep those spiders away!

Name: Melissa
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year

Melissa blogs at Leche Love

Yes, we had a big one living in our basement! One day, it disappeared, which is even scarier. We finally cleared piles and piles of boxes (thanks, Ikea), and she reappeared. We had named her Charlotte. After a few days, we gave her a new home-outside.


Name: Erin
Country of origin: Texas, USA
Lived in Sydney: 7 1/2 years
Erin blogs at TexErin-in-Sydneyland

Ohhhhh….emmmmm…geeeeee! I hate spiders. With a passion. I was in the passenger seat, looked over, on the window (yes, the outside, but still scary in my book) was the hugest, ugliest, scariest spider I’ve ever seen. I started to crawl into the backseat of the car. My guy still quotes my very weak cry to “Help me!” whenever a spider is around.

Name: Rachel
Country of Origin: England
Lived in Sydney: 4 Years

Earlier this year I had my first close encounter with a Huntsman. I was hanging out my laundry in our sunroom, and low and behold a super fast huntsman shot out from amongst my bed sheets (had been airing on the outside line) and shot diagonally across the wall. It seemed to be larger than a dinner plate. I screamed and my friend Kate helped me capture it. A glass proved too small and we had to resort to using a Tupperware tub before successful capture and subsequent release back into the front yard.

Name: Shane
Country of origin: USA
Lived in Sydney: 1 year
Shane blogs at Sea Salt Secrets

Can’t say I have…but lets not jinx me.


You made it to the end!
Are you ready to cancel your ticket to Australia, or do you think that we expats are a bit soft?
Tell us your Huntsman story. 

Read Part 1: Expectations vs Reality
Read Part 2: The Most Memorable Sydney Day
Read Part 3: Your First Day in Sydney
Read Part 4: Drinking Like an Aussie
Read Part 5: The Birds of Sydney
Read Part 6: Australian Christmas
Read Part 7: Off the Beaten Path
Read Part 8: Questions About Your Home
Read Part 9: What People at Home Think of Australia
Read Part 10: Advice for Moving to Sydney
Read Part 11: A Sydney Weekend
Read Part 12: Australian TV
Read Part 13: Something I Miss From Home
Read Part 14: Favorite Sydney Restaurant

2 thoughts on “Sydney Expat Interview Series Part 15: The Huntsman

  1. Jennifer Herb

    I’ll be happy if I make it through our time here uninitiated into this grotesque club. Fun fact about me: I once called 911 on a spider.

    1. Cristin Post author

      You live pretty high up – you might just be safe! (And, obviously I’ve going to need to hear that story).

Comments are closed.