Female body size can reach 18.5 mm in length with a leg span typically around 45 mm. Males are around 12 to 15 mm in length with a highly variable leg span between 25 to 75 mm. A brown cephalothorax and tan-coloured abdomen often with a characteristic 'herring bone' pattern. Conspicuously hairy legs, palps and abdomen.
Habitat & Breeding
Most common in the autumn months when males leave their webs in search of females. They frequently enter homes through open windows, chimneys or gaps beneath doors and may be found in garages, sheds, attics and cavity walls where they are less likely to be disturbed. These large spiders build sheet like webs which are flat and messy with a funnel at one end. They can run extremely fast, but only for a limited length of time before they have to stop to recover from their exhaustion. Lives for two or three years, but lifetimes of up to six years have been observed. While the female only leaves its nest to feed, males can often be seen wandering around houses during the late summer and early autumn looking for a mate. Males can be found from July to October, adult females occur all year. At least 60 spiderlings emerge from an egg sac. Unusual for spiders, they are subsocial at this stage: they remain together for about a month, but do not cooperate in prey capture. The amount of cannibalism correlates with the amount of available food. Giant house spiders do possess a potent venom and can bite, but they do not usually pose a threat to humans.