Giant house spiders are mostly found in the Pacific Northwest area and Canada, particularly the coastal regions of Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. They are not believed to in habit areas east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington. Giant house spiders are often confused with hobo spiders, but are quite a bit larger and are actually more prevalent than the hobo in this region.
This species originated in Europe and was first brought into North America in the early 1900’s. In fact, this spider is also called the greater European house spider. It is believed to be one of the fastest spiders in existence.
The giant house spider, as one would guess, is quite large compared with other species. The female’s body can reach almost ¾” in length, while the males, as is common among spiders, are smaller. Their body length is approximately 0.5″, but they sometimes have longer legs, and their legs are hairy.
These spiders are generally brownish in color or sometimes reddish-brown or gray, but can vary quite a lot in color. Their bodies are not uniform in color, but bear markings similar to the common house spider, including small spots and a chevron-type marking in the center, which looks like a row of V’s upside down.
Giant house spiders seek sheltered, dark areas to build their webs. They can be found in places like basements or garages, and outdoors in woodpiles, under rocks, or in other sheltered locations. They may also be found in gaps or crevices such as between bricks. Their webs are sheet-like with a hole or funnel in the middle where they will await prey.
The males tend to wander from mid-summer into the fall in search of mates. These are not aggressive spiders and their bite is not known to be dangerous to people. They are more likely to retreat if they feel threatened.