Contributed

The big dry is forcing huntsman spiders indoors

WHETHER hidden behind a painting on the wall or nestled against your bath towel, the mere sight of a huntsman spider can make your skin crawl.

With their pincers and fast-moving hairy legs, the creepy critters are not the most welcome house guests.

But spare a thought for the often unloved huntsmans. They've been doing it tough.

Queensland Museum's curator of spiders Dr Robert Raven said an unseasonably dry summer had reduced the huntsman's main food source, juicy insects.

"There's not much outside to be feeding on," Dr Raven said.

"The rains haven't come to allow the plants to grow for insects to feed, and spiders are dependent on rains coming at the right time."

But not all spiders hate the dry weather.

Redbacks thrive in hot, dry areas and have increased in numbers this summer.

If bitten by a redback, victims feel increasing pain that causes distress.

"The significant thing is that despite this, the huntsman is probably responsible for more deaths than any other spider in Australia," Dr Raven said.

"They get inside a 4WD and run across the windscreen or window."

Many people have had accidents when spiders appear mid-journey.

So to avoid serious injury, slowly pull over, open the car's doors and windows and figure a safe way to take it out.

Other spiders you're most likely to find locally are funnel webs, currently trailing off due to lack of rain, trapdoors and mouse spiders.

HUNTSMAN FACTS

  • To safely remove a huntsman from your home, gently place a container over them and push a piece of paper underneath. You can now carry them safely outside to release them.
  • Huntsman spiders have flat bodies that allow them to squeeze under doors or through cracks. Fill cracks, and attach a door sweep.
  • Watch out for spiders trying to enter your home or car particularly after rain. The moisture drives them to find dry areas. Keep your windows closed if it looks like it might rain.

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