Australia is well-known for its spiders, yet this location is not overrun with them. While we do have some of the most venomous animals on the planet, you’re unlikely to stumble across one unless you’re seeking for it or happen to disturb one that’s been lurking. They are more afraid of us than we are of them.
Here’s everything you need to know about spiders in Australia, including what to look out for and what to do if bitten.
Spiders in Australia
There are around 2,000 spider species in Australia, yet only a few are harmful to humans. Although all spiders have venom glands, only a few have fangs long enough to pierce the skin and trigger an allergic reaction.
In 2016, the first documented spider bite death in Australia since 1981 occurred. However, redback spiders bite approximately 2,000 humans each year. An successful redback spider antivenom was introduced in 1956, and funnel web antivenom has been administered to at least 100 patients since its development in 1980.
The most prevalent species with whom people interact are:
Redback spider – Australian Spiders
These black and red (occasionally orange) beauties, related to the North American widow spider, love to hide from the public in dark isolated locations like mailboxes, beneath ledges, outdoor furniture, near bbqs, and other hiding spots; typically embellished with sticky untidy cobwebs.
Funnel Web spider – Australian Spiders
Funnel nets don’t like the light, thus they like to remain hidden, with shoes and clothes being a well-known preferred hangout, or in a small outdoor web-lined cave. When disturbed, they can become hostile, typically adopting a characteristic attack posture with their front legs in the air and enormous exposed teeth. The funnel web spider’s habitat primarily stretches along Australia’s east coast, with summer being the busiest season. These spiders are occasionally discovered in swimming pools.
White Tailed spider – Australian Spiders
White-tailed spiders, like other species, prefer to hide and are normally only observed at night when foraging for food. They are frequently seen after rain as they leave their hiding location and enter the house to seek refuge from the wetness. They are gray to black in appearance, with a white tip on the abdomen (thus the name “white tail”), and can be found all over Australia.
Huntsman spider – Australian Spiders
These guys are found all over Australia and pose little threat to people, but they are swift and have a tendency to jump. They appear frightening because they can have huge, lengthy, hairy legs. However, they are the best pest control you can have, so if you have one, leave it in your house to nibble on the bugs. They prefer to hide beneath bark, logs, and rocks. Unfortunately, they also like to hide under car sun visors and have been known to skim the dashboard or windshield, so keep the windows and sunroof closed overnight.
Spider bite prevention
- Always give moth-free shoes, suits, or apparel a good shake before putting them on, especially if they’ve been left outside.
- Do not leave clothes or towels on the floor.
- Wear shoes when going out and at night.
- If your bedding is on or near the floor, inspect it.
- Don’t think a spider drowned if you see one in the pool. Some spiders may survive for hours on air bubbles in their leg hairs. The funnel web is renowned as the Australian scuba divers of the spider world, so either let the spider out with a swim net or avoid it to cool off rather than risk being bitten underwater.
Spider bite treatment
If you are bitten, seek quick medical assistance from a mother. If possible, keep the spider in a sealable container for identification or photograph it. Otherwise, when you arrive at the hospital, try your best to describe the spider, focusing on characteristics such as size, color, pattern, where you were when bitten, and so on.