Instinctively, the first thing to do during a spider infestation is to call pest control. But if you happen to live in Australia, you’re going to need an army! The country’s rich animal biodiversity, arachnids included, makes Australia practically a haven for strange spiders. We’ve listed below five of the most dangerous spiders found there, just to help you understand where we’re getting at.
A species indigenous to southern and eastern Australia, White-tailed Spiders are identifiable through the white tips that decorate the end of their abdomens. They have no permanent home, preferring to stay in secluded nooks and crannies or discarded clothing left on the floor. Another important thing to note about them is that they do not build webs in order to trap their prey (most of which are usually other venomous spiders, by the way); they actively hunt and envenom them instead.
Despite originating in Asia, the Huntsman Spider (sometimes also called the banana spider) can also be found in Africa, South America, and Australia. They are drawn to warm climates and unattended small spaces; in Australia they are especially notorious for constantly hiding in cars and homes. They’re not hard to miss, though, considering they’re the world’s largest spider by leg span due to their sprawled limbs, which can reach lengths of up to 12 inches. And similar to White-tailed Spiders, they actively hunt their prey and do not make use of web traps, thus earning them their ‘huntsman’ moniker.
Widespread in Australia and in some parts of New Zealand, the Redback Spider – named after the red stripe on their abdomen – is one of the most dangerous species there is due to its potent venom and penchant for living in human residences. It’s also the leading cause of most of the spider bites in Australia, victimizing as much as 2,000 to 10,000 Australians yearly. They’re one of the few arachnids that practice sexual cannibalism as well; the female eats the male after mating, though their main diet consists of medium to large insects or even small lizards that they catch using web traps.
As their name implies, this spider can be found in Sydney, Australia and their main modus operandi for hunting is to build funnel shaped webs and ambush any unsuspecting prey unfortunate enough to wander near it. They tend to hide in damp areas, owing to their susceptibility to get dehydrated quickly. The females rarely leave their burrows while the males are the complete opposite – they’re more mobile because of their active search for mates, leading them to have more human encounters. In fact, all human deaths attributed to this species are caused by males. Their venom is more potent than their counterparts’ due to the presence of a chemical called Robustoxin in it. The Sydney Funnel Web is truly one to avoid; they are often listed as incredibly dangerous and is capable of killing a person in 15 minutes.
As any arachnophile would tell you, no list of dangerous spiders would be complete without the notorious Black Widow. Found in temperate regions across the world, they like to camp out in dark, dry places such as outhouses, tree stumps, and dense vegetation areas. Their main diet usually consists of flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, beetles and caterpillars, which they catch with web traps. Their name comes from the fact that, much like the Redbacks, the females practice sexual cannibalism. Black Widows can be recognized by the red and orange hourglass figure that can be found on their abdomens; they also have “combed” feet which they use to wrap up their prey before eating them. As the most venomous spider in North America, they possess venom 15 times stronger than a Rattlesnake’s.
Avoid these spiders whenever possible. Although there haven’t been any recent deaths thanks to the presence of anti-venom, not getting bitten at all is obviously a better alternative. Oh, and make sure your friendly pest control is at hand, too.