Giant House Spider

Giant House Spider ©Malcolm Storey

Giant House Spider

Scientific name: Eratigena atrica
The Giant House Spider is one of our fastest invertebrates, running up to half a metre per second. This large, brown spider spins sheet-like cobwebs and pops up in the dark corners of houses, particularly in autumn.

Species information

Statistics

Body length: up to 1.6cm
Leg span: up to 7.5cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The Giant House Spider is the larger cousin of the House Spider (Tegenaria domestica), and can be found living behind the fireplace, under the sofa, or in the bath. Giant House Spiders are particularly prevalent in the autumn when the males are out looking for females. The males stay with their chosen females for some weeks, mating numerous times until eventually they die, at which point they are eaten by their female. Giant House Spiders spin sheet-like cobwebs in neglected corners of the room and wait close by for unsuspecting insects to get caught; they are most active at night.

How to identify

The Giant House Spider is one of several very similar species of house spider. As a group, their long-legs, dark hairy bodies and preference for houses and buildings make them unmistakeable.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

Female house spiders can live for several years, and both males and females can survive for months without eating or drinking.

How people can help

Our gardens are a vital resource for wildlife, providing corridors of green space between open countryside, allowing species to move about. In fact, the UK's gardens provide more space for nature than all the National Nature Reserves put together. So why not try planting native plants and trees to entice birds, mammals and invertebrates into your backyard? To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.