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Huntsman spiders is a family of spiders also known as the giant crab spiders, due to their size and appearance. Larger specimens of these spiders are also sometimes referred to as wood spiders, due to their preference for inhabiting woody places (forest, mine shafts, woodpiles, wooden shacks). They are known as rain spiders in southern Africa. They are are found in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean, Florida, and Hawaii, and possibly in many other tropical and semi-tropical regions. While frequently very large – in Laos, Heteropoda maxima males can attain a legspan of 250–300 mm (9.8–11.8 in) As with all spiders, they use venom to demobilise or digest prey, but they are not deadly to healthy humans. They do bite if provoked, but the victim will suffer only minor swelling and localised pain, and will recover in a day or two. Some larger types resemble tarantulas. Huntsman spiders can generally be identified by their legs, which, rather than being jointed vertically relative to the body, are twisted such that the legs extend forward in a crab-like fashion. Many huntsman spiders are dull shades of brown or grey. Their legs are covered with fairly prominent spines, but the rest of their bodies appear smooth. They are frequently found in sheds, garages and other infrequently-disturbed places. As adults, huntsman spiders do not build webs, but hunt and forage for food: their diet consists primarily of insects and other invertebrates, and occasionally small skinks and geckos. They live in the crevices of tree bark, but will frequently wander into homes and vehicles. They are able to travel extremely fast, often using a springing jump while running, and walk on walls and even on ceilings. They also tend to exhibit a "cling" reflex if picked up, making them difficult to shake off and much more likely to bite. The females are fierce defenders of their egg sacs and young. They will generally make a threat display if provoked, but if the warning is ignored they may attack and bite. The males anchor themselves firmly to the surface onto which they have crawled and then use their legs to transmit vibrations from their bodies to the surface. Most of the sound emitted is produced by strong vibrations of the abdomen. The characteristic frequency of vibration and the pattern of bursts of sound identify them to females of their species, who will approach if they are interested in mating. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]
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