Witnessing the myriad wildlife in Australia is a rare treat; the continent is home to some of the most exotic species in the whole world. While most of these creatures can be admired in different sanctuaries, parks and zoos, there are some that you need to steer clear of. Australia has some of the most venomous spiders that can leave you with nasty bites. Here’s a roundup of these scary creepy-crawlies you should avoid at all costs if you’re in Australia.
1Sydney Funnel-Web Spider
Considered the world’s most dangerous spider, the Sydney Funnel-Web is a recurring presence in New South Wales, found both in back gardens and bush lands. It’s known for its mighty fangs (that can pierce through fingers and toenails!!) and its foul temper. Their bites are extremely toxic and can cause the human nervous system to shut down, resulting in death in 15 minutes flat.
Luckily, the anti-venom was discovered in 1981 after which fatalities haven’t been recorded. Still, don’t forget to run the other way if you spot one!
This one made headlines in 2016 for killing a young Sydneysider. The Redback spider is highly venomous with a distinctive notable red stripe on its body. It is found throughout Australia (from bushes all the way to urban dwellings) but often makes a home out of sheltered, quiet places like mailboxes or under toilet seats.
There are many reported cases of bites each year but not too many are considered potentially deadly. A small number are treated with anti-venom. Apart from the case in 2016, there has been no reported death because of the arachnid since the anti-venom was made available in 1950.
The mouse spider is usually found in bushes, burrows or slithering its way into suburban backyards. A total of eight species of the mouse spider are spread out across the expanse of Australia and are considered one of the most lethal spiders. Their venom is like that of the funnel-web, but there have been no fatalities linked to their bites.
They are mostly sedentary and the females enjoy the peace and quiet of their burrows. The male spiders are found wandering around in search of them. Mouse spiders frequently roam around during the day time in the heat.
4Trap Door Spider
These spiders 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 Australia, the trap door spider has mostly harmless bites with minor symptoms. The males are known to bite more than females.
Spiders usually live for only a few short years but these spiders can live up to the age of 20.
The White-Tailed spider is named after the distinctive white stripe on its body. 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 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.
6Black House Spider
As its name suggests, the Black House Spider is found to live mostly indoors. They are common throughout Australia and have a maximum leg span of around 30 mm. They build tangled webs (that can often become quite messy and extensive) with a funnel-like retreat and wait for their prey to arrive.
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.
These tarantulas are the largest spiders in Australia. Their leg span is a whopping 22cm with fangs of up to 1cm. 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. It will leave you in pain and could cause nausea and vomiting. These spiders are more fatal to pets than to humans. Tarantula bites to dogs and cats have found to be fatal in certain instances.
8Fiddleback /Recluse Spider
The recluse spider is infamous for the flesh-eating properties of its venom that has gained widespread attention. Their bites can leave large areas of skin and flesh destroyed and the injuries are slow to heal. Sometimes the healing process might even require the aid of skin-grafts. In some of the worst cases, limbs have had to be amputated. The recluse spider has been the cause for many deaths around the world.
Thankfully, the recluse spider is not known to be aggressive and bites rarely. Their small fangs limit their ability to give out venom. Most bites usually leave mild symptoms. The range of the spider comes as another relief, they usually stay limited to small pockets and there hasn’t been a recorded case of this spider biting someone in about 20 years. Nonetheless, be wary!
So here are some of the top venomous spiders in Australia. Now that you know, keep far away from them!