The Most Poisonous Spiders in Australia

Mouse Spider
Source: Wikimedia Commons; Licensing: Attribution/ Share-alike

Australia is getting a bad rep all over the Internet for being the deadliest country in the world. The way the Internet sees it, everything here is trying to kill you. We have some of the most venomous snakes, marsupials that can send you to the emergency with one punch, and some of the most dangerous spiders in the world—no wonder the Internet is afraid of us.

Australian spiders are notorious all over the planet. That’s why spider control is one of our most widely used services. Some of our spider species are not only venomous but also extremely aggressive, which is uncharacteristic for most arachnids. More timid spiders would generally prefer to avoid a confrontation, considering they can’t really prey on us. Not these buggers, though. They’re as mean as they come. Here are the 5 most dangerous spiders in Australia.

5. Australian Tarantulas

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Tarantulas are large, hairy beasts from another plane of existence. They’ve been the stuff of nightmares for as long as humanity has known of their dreadful existence. Whoever said size doesn’t matter has obviously never been near one of these hairy monsters. With a leg span of over 22 centimetres, the average Australian tarantula is about as big as your hand. Let that sink in for a moment.

This is not all. At the front of that colossal hulking mass of horror hide two large fangs, 1 centimetre in length each. If you don’t think that sounds like a lot, let us remind you this is big as some snakes’ fangs. And if that weren’t enough, some species can produce sounds similar to barking.

Luckily, tarantulas bites aren’t deadly to humans. That doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, painful, and terrifying. Some of the negative effects may include puking, fatigue, and severe pain for hours. Development of spider-based superpowers has not been reported. Furthermore, their venom is still potent enough to kill a cat or a dog, so they represent a danger to pets as well, cementing their position in the list.

Australian Tarantulas Specifications
Also called bird-eating spiders

Body: Australian tarantulas are large, and for their size, they are quite heavy. Many of the Australian species are still undescribed. The length of the tarantula’s body is around six centimetres with their leg span around 15 centimetres.

Australian tarantulas also sport a pair of fangs which are around one centimetre long.

Habitat: Australian tarantulas live in burrows in the ground. They can be found in Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia.

Diet: Despite their name, Australian tarantulas rarely feed on birds. Their diet mainly consists of frogs, insects, lizards and other species of spiders.

Danger: Bites are rare and only occur when tarantulas are provoked. The bites from Australian tarantulas are painful to humans, and can sometimes lead to illness, nausea and vomiting. Tarantulas are dangerous for pets, and their venom is strong enough to kill dogs and cats.

4. Recluse Spider

recluse spider
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The recluse spider is like the socially awkward kid in class, who (as it turns out) has anger issues when threatened. The good news is the recluse spider is generally rare, so reported bites to humans are few and far between. The bad news is that when bites do occur, they are truly horrific. The venom of the recluse spider has necrotic properties, which means it literally starts to kill the tissue. Reports state the process is excruciating, while the tissues take a long time to heal.

Lucky for us, the rarity of the recluse spider is not the only good news. It also has relatively small fangs, which makes it more difficult to achieve envenomation. Furthermore, it’s not one of the most aggressive spider species out there, though do not be fooled – it will bite when threatened.

More bad news – the recluse spider seems to be resistant to many insecticides, making it relatively difficult to handle. If these spiders were more common, they would’ve been a real problem. In this case, rarity is here to balance the equation.

Recluse Spider Specifications

Body: Fairly small, the brown recluse spider’s body ranges between six and 20 centimetres. They are typically light to medium brown.

Habitat: Recluse spiders prefer to build their webs in garages, closets, sheds and places which are dry and fairly undisturbed. The danger is that they are sometimes found in toilets, gloves, shoes and rarely used beds.

Diet: As dangerous as they are in Australia, the recluse spider’s diet consists of crickets, cockroaches and soft-bodied insects.

Danger: The bites are initially painless; however, they can be dangerous. Their venom can kill the flesh, and the recovery period is often long. The chances for necrotic properties are around 51% of all bites.

3. Mouse Spider

Mouse Spider
Source: Wikimedia Commons; Licensing: Attribution/ Share-alike

Even though it’s not as big or hairy as the tarantula, the mouse spider is scarier for several reasons. First off, it just looks menacing. It can definitely play the part without any preparation. Second, it’s one of the most venomous spiders in Australia (and the world). It’s powerful jaws, and large fangs allow it to hunt even small mammals without a problem. This a spider who has no trouble hunting down mice or lizards whereas most spiders in the world eat insects.

The toxicity of the venom makes this spider extremely dangerous. Lucky for us, there are effective antivenoms, which administered in time should prevent a lethal outcome from a spider bite situation.

Mouse Spider Specifications

Body: The body of the Mouse Spider ranges from 10mm to 35mm. Their heads are distinctively round and large around the fangs.

Habitat: Mouse Spiders are found all over Australia. They inhabit open forests and shrublands.

Diet: The prey of the Mouse Spider are ants, beetles, other spiders and smaller lizards and frogs.

Danger: The venom of the Mouse Spider is very toxic. With proper first-aid with antivenom, it’s proven that fatal ends can be avoided.

2. Redback Spider

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Redback spiders gain their name from the distinctive red stripe on their backs. They are relatively common, even in urban environments, and prefer to reside in dry, hidden places such as sheds, mailboxes, in kitchen cupboards, under toilet seats, and other places where you’re in it for a nasty surprise.

Their size isn’t intimidating, but because they’re small, they’re difficult to spot and are pretty swift, dialling the danger factor up by quite a bit. This accounts the relatively large number of bites compared to other spiders on this list.

Their bite can be lethal. Their venom is a neurotoxin which can shut down different systems in the human body. However, an antivenom was introduced in the middle of the last century, so the number of deaths has fallen drastically (there hasn’t been a single reported case in more than 50 years). That doesn’t mean their bite is harmless – even if it doesn’t kill you, symptoms include severe pain, nausea, and general malaise, all of which can last for hours. This is a threat that should not be taken lightly.

Redback Spider Specifications

Body: The Redback Spider has a length of about 10 mm for female species, and three to four mm for male species. They have an hourglass-shaped body and females sport a red stripe on their back.

Habitat: They are found throughout all of Australia. The Redback Spider commonly seeks shelter close to, or inside human residences. Otherwise, they prefer warm and sheltered locations.

Diet: The Redback Spider preys on insects, other spiders, small lizards and rarely on snakes.

Danger: The Redback Spider has more envenomations that require an antivenom than any other creature in Australia. They can be found hiding in shoes, clothes, outdoor toys. They have been reported to bite multiple times. The outcome of a bite in humans is intense pain.

1. Sydney Funnel-web Spider

Source: Wikimedia Commons; Licensing: Attribution/ Share-alike

The Sydney funnel-web spider is the most dangerous in Australia, and quite possibly the world. It’s often found in forests, but urban areas aren’t a foreign concept to this deadly creature. As long as a place is hidden and humid, it’s perfect for them. They can easily move into a backyard or even fall into a swimming pool, making them relatively common.

What makes the Sydney funnel-web so dangerous is the fact that it has lots of venom and it’s not afraid to use it.  The spider has enough venom to kill a full-grown adult and delivers it through multiple painful bites. It can lead to multiple organ failures.

Its fangs are bigger than those of the brown snake and are strong enough to pierce through the fabric, shoes, and even fingernails. To make matters worse, the Sydney funnel-web is extremely aggressive. It doesn’t need much to be provoked and start biting left and right.

The good news is there’s an effective antivenom, so the lethality of the bites has been significantly reduced. Funnel-webs are far from harmless, regardless. With their powerful and painful bite, they can cause you to agonise for quite a while.

Sydney Funnel-web Spider Specifications

Body: The Sydney Funnel-web Spiders are medium to large in size, with body length from one up to five centimetres. Their hairless carapace on the front of their body with hairs on their legs.

Habitat: The Funnel-web Spider can be found in all of Australia. They live in moist, cool, sheltered habitats. Under logs, rotting burrows and some trees are preferred living places for the Sydney Funnel-web Spider.

Diet: The Sydney Funnel-web spider feeds on frogs and lizards.

Danger: The venom of the Funnel-web spider is extremely dangerous to humans. It takes about 15 minutes for a bite to end fatally in children, while in adults, it takes around 28 minutes for symptoms to occur.

Need help with getting rid of the spiders in your home? We can help you!

Spider Pest Control in Australia


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