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The most dangerous spiders in Australia

The most dangerous spiders in Australia

Australia is renowned for its diverse and unique wildlife, which includes some of the most fascinating yet feared creatures on the planet – spiders. Spiders in Australia are the cause of many phobias, a multitude of beliefs and indeed responsible for fatal envenomations in the past. While indeed, the vast majority of Australian spiders are harmless to humans, a few species possess venom potent enough to cause serious health issues. This article delves into the most dangerous spiders found in Australia, offering insights into their habitats, identifying features, and the precautions to take if you encounter them.

The danger of spiders in Australia

Of the approximately 10,000 species present in Australia (approximately 2,700 officially described), only a few families are potentially dangerous to humans. The vast majority of these species are harmless.

The two most dangerous groups are those commonly known as Funnel web spiders (which include 3 genera of spiders) and Redback spiders. Then come the Mouse spiders which can also cause serious envenomation, even if none has ever been lethal!

You should know that many bites are called blank bite, that is to say without injection of venom. While the thought of encountering Australia’s dangerous spiders may be unsettling, it’s important to remember that bites are rare and fatalities even rarer, thanks to effective first aid and medical treatments. By understanding these spiders and taking appropriate precautions, people can safely coexist with these remarkable creatures that play an essential role in Australia’s ecosystems.

Which spiders are dangerous in Australia?

Have a look at the pictures and guess in which of the following category those spiders in Australia belong. 

  • Category A: Spider is deadly & dangerous
  • Category B: Spider is toxic. That means poisonous. Its bites is very painful.
  • Category C: Spider is a “low risk” spider. Spider can be beneficial in the control of flies & mosquitos…

Just click on the question to get the solution and more information about our (sometimes not so) little friends…and by the way…body size means body size – not total size including legs.

Wolf Spider

Can this lovely spider with its beautiful pattern really kill you? What do you think? Click here to find out
Category B: This spider’s bite is poisonous but not lethal! The bite can be really painful.
Where to find:
Australia-wide, it’s a ground dweller – commonly found around the home, in garden areas Size: 15 mm to 30 mm body length
What to do once you got bitten:
First aid and medical attention (especially for children or elderly)

Huntsman Spider

What about this big buddy? Lethal or not?
Category C: The bite of a Huntsman spider is not toxic to humans and they are non-aggressive although quite scary when you see them cause they’re huge!
Where to find:
Australia-wide they live under the flaking bark of trees, under flat rocks or within roof spaces. The spider wanders into homes and are found on walls.
Their body can reach up to 45 mm (that means without legs!).



Female & Male Funnel-Web

What about those creepy creature? Dangerous or not?
Category A: Watch out! This spider can kill you! The Sydney funnel-web spider is arguably the most dangerous spider in Australia, if not the world.
Where to find:
They are only found in the southeastern part of the country: South Australia, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. They can even survive for days under water! These spiders prefer moist, cool environments and are often found in suburban gardens, under rocks, or in rotting logs.
Females are bigger than males. Female can measure up to 7 or 8cm.
What to do once you got bitten:
Go to the next hospital or call an ambulance immediately. They have an anti-venom!
The Blue Mountains Funnel-Web spiders and the Northern Tree Funnel-Web spiders are also high venomous.

Saint Andrew’s Cross

What do you think about this elegant spider? Is it lethal?
Category C: This spider can’t harm you cause it belongs to the low risk spiders and is non-aggressive.
Where to find:
Australia-wide, found in summer in gardens around the house
5-15 mm in body length

White-Tail Spider (Lampona cylindrata)

What about this one? Can you guess whether it’s dangerous or not?
Category A: This spider can be dangerous. In some rare cases they can cause severe allergic reactions. However, it’s not proven yet…
Where to find:
Australia-wide, prefers cool moist places like in garden mulch areas. In summer they wander into buildings to escape the heat!
Adults between 12 and 20 mm in body length!
What to do once you got bitten:
First aid and medical attention


Female & Male Mouse Spider (Missulena spp.)

Those spiders look so dangerous...but are they?
Category B: Those creepy spiders can cause severe illness especially to young children. The mail spider’s bite can be really painful.
Where to find:
Mouse spiders have a broad distribution across Australia. They are ground dwellers with burrows of more than 1 metre deep. Mouse spiders live in burrows, often near water bodies, and can be found across most of Australia. The male spider wanders around during the day.
Up to 35 mm in body length. They are often mistaken for funnel-web spiders but are distinguishable by their shorter, stockier legs and the presence of a distinct red or orange patch on the male’s head.
What to do once you got bitten:
First aid and medical attention

Garden Orb-Weaving

This thing looks kind of like a crab. Harmless or not?
Category C: This spider is harmless. It’s non-aggressive and its bite is non toxic to humans.
Where to find:
Australia-wide, more common in bush land along the eastern coastal areas, often found in summer in the garden around home.
20-30 mm

Black House Spider

Looks really creepy! But can it really kill you?
Category B: This spider’s bite is poisonous but not lethal! The bite itself can be really painful.
Where to find:
Australia-wide, commonly found in window framing, under eaves, in brickwork, toilets and among rocks and bark.
Adults are about 15mm in length.
What to do once you got bitten:
First aid and medical attention.

Female Trap-Door

Looks like it has 10 legs!? Argh…but really dangerous?
Category C: This spider looks more dangerous than it is. It’s non-aggressive and its bite is non toxic to humans.
Where to find:
Australia-wide, it’s a ground dweller. Commonly found in drier open ground areas around the home
Adult is about 35 mm in body length



Red-Back Spider (Latrodectus hasselti)

Its back looks almost like a tiny red heart. Does this spider really loves you?
Category A: This spider can be deadly! Its poison is highly venomous! The bite is very painful and a small amount of venom can cause serious illness (attacks the nervous system. By the way…they do not always have a red marking. An anti-venom exists since 1956. The males are much smaller and even though they possess venom, they are considered harmless.
Where to find:
Redback spiders are found throughout Australia, often in human-inhabited areas, including sheds, toilets, and underneath outdoor furniture.
Varies, males can be tiny, female’s abdomen can grow to the size of a large pea.
What to do once you got bitten:
Go to the next hospital or call an ambulance immediately. They have an anti-venom!

Congratulation, you just finished the spider quiz! We hope that no matter if you’re an expert or not you won’t come across too many spiders in Australia!

Spiders Chart – overview


Precautions and First Aid

In the event of a bite, you may see redness appear on your skin up to 24 hours later, with itching or irritation.

  • Disinfect the bite area
  • Apply ice to prevent redness and swelling
  • If in doubt, go to the pharmacy
  • If symptoms appear (sharp pain, fever, body aches) go to the emergency room or to the doctor asap.

If bitten by any of the dangerous spiders, it’s crucial to remain calm and seek medical attention immediately. For funnel-web and mouse spider bites, apply a pressure immobilization bandage and keep the limb still to slow venom movement. For redback and other spider bites, applying an ice pack can help reduce pain and swelling.

Source & Pictures: spiders.com.au

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