Beware of These Deadly Spiders! Get Rid of Them before It’s Too Late
We all know that our land is the home for myriad wildlife, ranging from the tiniest to the largest. Even some of the most exotic species in the world live in our mother nature. We can admire most of them in different sanctuaries, parks, and zoos, but there are some that actually threaten our life. While we can sense the danger from the bigger ones, the paranoia comes from the tiny ones, like spiders.
Some spiders in Australia are among the most venomous spiders in the world. Several of these eight-legged creatures are so tiny that you don’t even realize they’re creeping and crawling near you. Here is your guide to the most venomous Mr Long Legs that you should avoid at all cost.
- Sydney Funnel-Web Spider
This species is considered to be the most dangerous spider in the world. With the body length ranging from 1 to 5 cm, the Atrax robustus are usually found both in gardens and bushlands in the eastern parts of Australia and within a 100 km radius of Sydney in New South Wales. They can also be found in Western Australia.
The distinctive feature of these spiders is their mighty fangs, which can pierce through fingers and toenails, as well as their foul temper. Funnel-web spider bites are extremely toxic and can cause the human nervous system to shut down, resulting in death in 15 minutes flat.
If someone is unfortunate enough to get bitten by this spider, the symptoms begin with tingling around the mouth, twitching of the tongue, profuse salivation, watery eyes, sweating, and muscle spasms. Hypertension and an elevated heartbeat also occur which, when combined with respiratory distress, may be very severe and potentially lethal.
Thankfully, the anti-venom was discovered in 1981. But prevention is always better than treatment.
- Redback Spider
As the name suggests, we can identify Redback Spiders by a distinctive red stripe on its body. The spiders can be found throughout Australia, Southeast Asia and New Zealand, with colonies elsewhere outside Australia. They are believed to originate in South Australia or adjacent Western Australian deserts. They often make a home out of sheltered, quiet places like mailboxes or under toilet seats.
The Redback Spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) are really tiny with the female spiders having a body length of about 1 cm while the male ones are smaller, being only 3-4 mm long. The bite of this spider is capable of causing death, especially in little children, and any bite should be treated with the utmost caution. A Redback Spider injects the venom directly on the nerves, resulting in release and subsequent depletion of neurotransmitters. The symptoms include pain (which can become severe), sweating (always including local sweating at the bite site), muscular weakness, nausea and vomiting.
The anti-venom was made available in 1950. Even though there are many reported cases of bites each year, not too many are considered potentially deadly. Apart from the case in 2016 that kills a young Sydneysider, there has been no reported death.
- Mouse Spider
With the small size of 10 – 35 mm, the Mouse Spiders (Missulena) are usually found in bushes, burrows or slithering its way into suburban backyards over much of mainland Australia with a total of eight species.
Mouse Spiders are rarely aggressive, which is a good thing because their venom is nearly as potent as the Sydney Funnel-web. However, unlike funnel-web spiders, the mouse spiders are believed to use less venom and possibly even “dry bite”. These spiders prefer to wander at night to avoid the heat and other predators and mainly eat insects and small frogs.
- Trapdoor Spider
The Trapdoor Spiders (Ctenizidae) are named after their clever strategy to trick their prey. They hide at the entrance of their burrows to lure their prey into the false security of their lair.
Found throughout the country, the trapdoor spider has mostly harmless bites with minor symptoms. The males are known to bite more than females. With the body length of around 2.5 cm or more, the bite of the Trapdoor Spider is of low risk (non-toxic) to humans. While not very dangerous, local pain and swelling may occur if bitten.
- White-Tailed Spider
White-Tailed spiders are named after the distinctive white stripe on its body. The body size is up to 18 mm, with legs spanning 28 mm. Native to Southern and Eastern Australia, it is found both in natural and urban landscapes. These nomadic critters wander by night in search of food which is, in fact, other lesser powerful and dangerous spiders.
They are not known to bite humans that frequently, but bites by two specific species of the white-tailed spider – Lampona cylindrata and Lampona murina – have led to mild symptoms such as localised pain. There has not been any other recorded health risk.
- Black House Spider
The Black House Spiders (Badumna insignis) live mostly indoors throughout Australia and New Zealand. The female spiders grow up to 18 mm with a 30 mm leg length, while the males are smaller (10 mm).
Though not too dangerous, the bite of this spider has been described as excruciatingly painful with local swelling. Other symptoms that accompany the bite are nausea, sweating, vomiting etc. Sometimes mild necrosis has caused skin lesions, though this happens only after several bites.
- Australian Tarantulas
Australian tarantulas (Selenocosmia) are also known as whistling or barking spiders, a name given due to the sound they produce when they rub their legs together. These tarantulas are the largest spiders in the Australian continent. The length of their leg is a whopping 22 cm with fangs of up to 1 cm. They are also the longest living of the Australian spiders; some females reach the age of 30 (the males, however, last only 8 years).
Their fangs are big but the bites aren’t venomous. Their bite will leave you in pain and could cause nausea and vomiting. These spiders are more fatal to pets than to humans. In fact, tarantula bites to dogs and cats have been found to be fatal in certain instances.
- Fiddleback/Recluse Spider
The Recluse Spiders (Loxosceles reclusa) have one of the more serious bites on our list of deadly spiders. Their venom is hemotoxic, meaning it damages your blood cells and can disrupt blood clotting. They are also infamous for the flesh-eating properties of its venom. Their bites can leave large areas of skin and flesh destroyed and the injuries are slow to heal.
Usually found in the southern parts of Australia, the spider grows up to 2 cm in length. Thankfully, the Recluse Spider is not known to be aggressive and bites rarely. Their small fangs limit their ability to give out the venom. Most bites usually leave mild symptoms.
- Common Garden Orb Weaver Spider
Unlike some of the other spiders on this list, the Common Garden Orb Weaver Spider (Eriophora sp.) does not mess around. It’s highly aggressive and accounts for the most spider bites in Australia every year. Fortunately, their bites have only minor effects and lead to localised pain.
As the name suggests, the spiders are a very common species of spider with many variants in size, shape, and colour. They have very large abdomens when well-fed and exhibit a tremendous colour-range from off-white through tan, brown to almost black. They live in the gardens in eastern and southern coastal areas of Australia. They generally weave webs between trees, on hedges or washing lines in the night. They hide during the day and rest with their legs withdrawn under the body, hanging off a thread under a leaf or in the clothes hanging from the line.
- Huntsman Spiders
Perhaps Australia’s most feared spider due to their appearance as the huntsman grows up to 15cm in leg length, with some species reportedly growing up to 25cm! Despite their formidable size, the huntsman spider is more likely to retreat when under threat and reluctant to bite. The name Huntsman Spiders (Sparassidae) are named so because of their speed and mode of hunting.
The Huntsman spiders are widespread in the country. Their venom isn’t considered dangerous for humans. The venom of Huntsman spiders can cause prolonged pain, inflammation, headache, vomiting and irregular pulse rate.
What To Do If You Encounter One of These Australian Spiders
These top contenders of the most venomous Australian Spiders are really something. They usually live in sheltered places or garden sheds but that doesn’t mean they can’t sneak up on you. If you by any chance encounter them, the best way to do is run away from them. However, it’s better for you to prevent coming in contact with them at all by contacting a city pest control to get rid of any potential danger.