Trapdoor spiders live throughout the Americas and in southern Africa, Europe, Asia and Australasia. Most species construct burrows in the earth and use silk, soil and foliage to camouflage the exterior. Other species utilize bark crevices as their hideouts.

Trapdoor spiders are ambush predators, patiently waiting for prey to pass by their bunkers before quickly opening the silk-hinged trapdoor and dragging the prey inside the burrow. They can detect prey through a series of trip lines placed around the perimeter.

Most trapdoor spiders are nocturnal. The morphology of the trapdoor spider resembles that of tarantulas or funnel web spiders. Trapdoor spiders often come out of their shelter after heavy rains, and males are more likely to leave their burrows for extended periods of time than females.