Common Australian Spiders
Spiders of Australia with information
Australian spiders are not all poisonous, but many of them can be deadly if you are not careful. Fortunately, it is very rare for anyone to get killed by a venomous spider in Australia. In 2016, there was one reported death of someone dying from a spider bite. Before that year, the last recorded spider-related death was in 1981. So, it is not a common occurrence by any means.
However, spiders are still very intimidating and scary-looking creatures. Even though spiders may do a good job of eliminating flies and bugs from your home, they are still pests that you don’t want to have crawling around your living environment. That is why you’ll want to do everything possible to eliminate an infestation of spiders, regardless of what type of spiders they are.
Not all spiders will invade your home, though. Some species of spiders will stay outside where there is more room to gather food. But if you see these spiders around your house, you should still educate yourself on how dangerous they are and what their purpose is.
To help guide you in your spider education, below are the 6 most common spiders found in Australia.
1) Webbing Spiders
Webbing spiders are found all over Australia. An adult webbing spider is 10mm in length and has a silverfish-brown colour to them. If you turn them over on their abdomen, you’d see brown markings of various tones as well.
Webbing spiders like to lay their eggs in piles of foliage, which is why they get the nickname of “foliage webbing spiders.” The open forests and woodlands of Australia are where webbing spiders are most prominent. If you see piles of leaves or fallen trees or limbs on the ground, then you can expect webbing spiders to be nesting in them.
Only the younger webbing spiders reside in the foliage. They set up communal nests in the foliage and reside in them until they are about to approach adulthood. After that, the spiders take off and go out on their own.
2) Funnel Web Spider
Funnel-web spiders are unique types of spiders because they create funnel-shaped spiderwebs to catch their prey. The spider hides at the end of the funnel and waits for prey to crawl or fly into the walls of the funnel-web. Once the prey gets trapped in the web, the spider rushes over to the prey and carries it back down into the core before it is consumed.
Australia has around 40 different species of funnel-web spiders. Only 6 of the 40 are believed to be venomous. Funnel-web spiders bite between 30 and 40 people annually, but they are saved at the hospital by antivenom formulas. For the most part, funnel-web spiders consume frogs, beetles, flies, and other outdoor life of modest size.
3) Redback Spider
Redback spiders are venomous spiders that like to shelter themselves in dry, dark places, including garden sheds and mailboxes. They have smaller fangs than your average venomous spider in Australia, so a bite from them may not affect you.
You won’t have trouble identifying a redback spider because they are black with a reddish-orange mark on their backs. It resembles a black widow spider, but with a slightly different shape and size.
Female redback spiders have a length of no more than 15mm, while the male redback spiders only grow to around 5mm in length. Sometimes you’ll see white and yellow lines on them too. One female redback spider may lay as much as 300 eggs over a period of 7 months.
Despite the high number of eggs, many of the hatchling spiders end up getting devoured by their own brothers and sisters as food. Their prey outside the nest consists of frogs, mice, and snakes.
4) Daddy Long Legs Spider
Daddy long legs are not venomous or toxic spiders. You will know them as soon as you see them because they have very long, narrow legs and a tiny body. They grow up to 7m to 9mm in length. Their main sources of food are other spiders and insects.
Humans tend to find some annoyance with daddy long legs because of their loose spiderwebs. You’ll find these webs in garages, sheds, and other sheltered locations of a house. Daddy long legs do not look threatening like other spiders, but their webs can still get in your way.
5) Huntsman Spider
In Australia alone, there are more than 100 Huntsman spider species. They have the capability of growing to more than 160mm in total length. The common colours you’ll see on Huntsman spiders are grey, brown, and black. They tend to walk like crabs because of how their longest legs are positioned on the sides of the body.
The egg sac of a Huntsman Spider is a silky white colour. The sac contains as many as 200 eggs inside of it. The nest with the egg sac would typically be positioned under rocks or tree bark. When the spiderlings are ready to come out, the queen spider will open the sac and let her little ones crawl out.
Huntsman spiders do have poison, and they can bite humans. Fortunately, the poison is not toxic enough to kill humans. Their main sources of food include small lizards, arthropods, frogs, and various types of insects.
6) Trap Door Spider
Trap door spiders have a unique colour on their bodies because they have a chocolatey brown tone to them. There are even tiny hairs covering their legs and body as well. An adult female is about 35mm long, and an adult male is only 20mm long. After a male and female trap door spider mate, the male typically dies soon afterward.
The female keeps her eggs in a cocoon for added protection. Even after the eggs hatch, the spiderlings stay where they are until they’re ready to find food. Their favourite foods are other spiders and insects. If you get bitten by a trap door spider, it will cause swelling and pain within the affected area of your skin. The good news is that the bite won’t be fatal.
Trap door spiders get their name because they dig a burrow in the ground to protect their spiderlings. There is no lid on the top of the burrow, but the burrows serve as tunnels in the ground where they can hide from outside threats.