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Spiders in Australia | Which ones do you come across and how do you recognize them?

Before we left for Australia, we both looked up a lot of information about Australia. After all, you want to know what there is to do and see in the place where you will in principle live for a longer period of time. When you Australia you might notice that people are quick to talk about the scary animals that live here. Snakes, spiders, crocodiles, sharks, jellyfish and scorpions. We travel, living and working been in Down Under for almost two years and have seen many of these cool, but also terrifying beasts. Spiders in Australia: they are really there! But which dangerous spiders do you encounter? And how do you recognize these spiders?

Also read: The world of insects: Know what bit you! 8 common travel bug bites and how to spot them.

Thom and Lianne from Whatifwefly_
Thom and Lianne from Whatifwefly_

Spiders in Australia

We will tell you in several blogs what we have already experienced. In the first part we focus on the spiders, perhaps the scariest creatures of all.

“I don't know if you can imagine a guy with a high-pitched scream, but this was one of those moments…?”

We can call ourselves real animal lovers. Yet there are two beasts, of which we both get the creeps. And these are those hairy spiders and slippery snakes. During our farm work in Queensland, a state in the northeast of Australia, we saw these animals with some regularity. And this has led to violent and scary scenes. For example, on a hungover Sunday morning, Thom wanted to take his Ajax training pants out of the wash and put them on, after which a large spider suddenly jumped from his trouser leg onto the bed. I don't know if you can imagine a guy with a high pitched scream, but this was one of those moments… ? Thom ran out of the room and we then asked some tough householders to remove this large 'huntsman' spider. These aren't even dangerous spiders yet, but they are the size of an adult human.

In Dutch they are actually called a hunting crab spider and this is the largest spider in Australia† Recognizing them is quite easy: they are really huge! You will know it when you see one.

A huntsman spider in the laundry basket (Hunting crab spider)

Not much later, Lianne was doing laundry before another giant spider jumped from the laundry basket onto her arm. Thom heard a huge scream from the shower, after which he walked in his bare branch towards Lianne to ask what had happened. It was now high on the couch with no idea where the spider was. An hour later, Lianne was still trembling at the thought of a furry giant spider on her arm. Neither of us are heroes at all in this regard and literally shit four colors. Since then we have experienced this about two or three times!

Also read: Surfing and Shark Attacks in Australia + Drone Video of White Shark

The redback spider

“If it bites you, you have to go straight to the hospital to get antivenom”

A slightly smaller, but life-threatening spider is the redback spider. The name says it all, it is a spider with a red back. These animals like to hide in dark workplaces, for example under pallets. Guess who's in it three times Western Australia had to drag many pallets. It has happened several times here that Thom lifted a pallet and there was a redback spider in that pallet. If it bites you, you should go straight to the hospital to get antivenom. If you do not do this or if you are in poor health, there is a good chance that you will not make it to the end of the day. Such a small spider that can just mean the end is bizarre. After these experiences we both notice that we are more careful in grasping the 'unknown'.

Also read: What are bed bugs and how do you recognize a bite? † Prevention + tips against itching

Other spiders in Australia

In the end, you're more likely to be killed by a bee than a spider (yes, really), but that doesn't stop the Arachnophobes among us from screaming in sheer terror when they see a spider of any size in the corner. see sitting. Nevertheless, spiders are among Australia's most deadly species. If left untreated, their bite can be fatal. So it's good to know which spiders are dangerous and/or deadly in Australia, where to expect them and how to recognize them.

Funnel Web Spider

The Sydney funnel web spider is without a doubt the most venomous spider in Australia and one of the most feared in the world. This spider can be found throughout New South Wales in forested and urban areas and can reach a leg span of 1,5cm to 3,5cm. While it's not the largest spider in the world, don't let that fool you. A Sydney funnel web spider's fangs can grow longer than a brown snake's and are so powerful they can even pierce your toenails.

Funnel Web Spider | Tirin at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Funnel Web Spider | Tirin at the English-language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

To make matters worse, the venom that comes out of their huge canine teeth is highly toxic to humans and can be fatal, especially if bitten by a male. Their venom attacks the nervous system and organs, leading to severe pain and injury. Fortunately, scientists have produced an effective antidote and no deaths have been recorded from a Sydney Funnel web spider since 1981.

The Sydney Funnel Web Spider prefers to burrow in moist sheltered areas and are known to enter homes when looking for a mate.

White tail spider

White tail spiders are hunters and roam at night and can be found in natural and urban areas, preferring cool, moist locations. They are generally dark red or gray with dark orange striped legs.

White tail spider | Toby Hudson, CC BY-SA 3.0 AU
White tail spider | Toby Hudson, CC BY-SA 3.0 AU

Despite a reputation for producing flesh-eating venom, scientists have refuted this, suggesting instead that their venom causes only mild pain in humans. This doesn't mean they are harmless though, we guarantee it would still suck to be bitten by one.

Unlike trapdoor and mouse spiders, white-tailed spiders actively hunt at night, targeting insects and even other spiders. They often come into contact with human environments as they roam at night, so be sure to shake your boots before putting them on in the morning.

Mouse spiders / Missulena (Mouse spider)

Mouse spiders may not be the most venomous on the list, but they are certainly one of the more terrifying looking spiders found in Australia. Like trap door spiders, mouse spiders are often found in burrows along riverbanks and near waterways, as well as in suburban gardens.

Mouse spider | Bruiser15, CC BY-SA 3.0
Mouse spider | Bruiser15, CC BY-SA 3.0

They are rarely aggressive which is a good thing as their venom is almost as potent as the Sydney Funnel web. These spiders prefer to walk around at night to avoid the heat and other predators and mainly eat insects and small frogs.

Black house spider

The black house spider prefers dry spaces such as window frames, eaves, gutters and sheds. They like electric light because they attract their favorite foods such as mosquitoes and moths.

Black House Spider | CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org
Black House Spider | CC BY-SA 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org

Australian Tarantula (Australian Tarantula)

Ask anyone who is afraid of spiders and they will tell you that tarantulas really are the thing of nightmares. In fact, we're almost certain that Harry Potter 2 had something to do with the surge in Arachnophobia around the time the Chamber of Secrets was opened.

Unlike the spiders of the Forbidden Forest, Australian tarantulas are not deadly to humans. However, they can reach 16cm in leg width with 1cm canine teeth, so while their bite can be very painful if they get you, poisoning effects are rare. Australian tarantulas are also known as whistling or barking spiders, a name given for the sound they produce when they rub their legs together.

Wolf Spider (Wolf Spider)

Wolf spiders are a shy species that hide in burrows and are absolute ground dwellers, often covered in leaf litter and hidden in gardens.

wolf spider | By Muhammad Mahdi Karim - Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/
wolf spider | By Muhammad Mahdi Karim – Own work, GFDL 1.2, https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Next time: snakes in Australia

Did you like this piece to read? Then hold Wereldreizigers.nl closely monitor! In the next blog we will focus on the snakes. There are also plenty of these slippery boys living here. To make it even more concrete, five of the ten deadliest snakes live in Australia! We would also love it if you follow us on Instagram or take a look at our website† See you there!

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Thom Lianne
- Dutchies Living in Australia
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- Taking life with a grain of salt

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