The giant house spider is a close relative of both the hobo spider and the common house spider. The bite of this spider species, however, does not pose a threat to humans or animals. Like most spiders, though, they possess quite a potent venom to subdue their prey with, which can frequently result in an infection.
Females can grow to lengths of about 3 cm, with leg spans being typically around 4.5 cm, although some can grow even larger. Males usually have a smaller body, not more than 2.5 cm in length, and have highly variable leg spans of 2.5 cm up to 7.5 cm. The spider in this photo was a female, and as big as my hand!
The giant house spider has the same coloration as the domestic house spider, namely earthy tones of brown & muddy red or yellow. They also have noticeably hairy abdomens & legs.
Their webs are flat & messy with a funnel at one end, called, therefore, funnel webs. These webs are usually found in corners, on the floor, ceiling, between boxes in basements, attics, or any other area that is rarely disturbed. These spiders are known to lay motionless in their funnels until a small insect happens to get trapped in the web. The spider then scurries and kills it.
With speeds clocked at 1.73 ft per second, the giant house spider held the Guinness Book of World Records for fastest spider until 1987, when it was then displaced by the sun spider.