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Spiders

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Although there are many different species of spiders in Australia, most are not regarded as dangerous to humans. Only the funnel-web spider and redback spider are known to have caused fatalities in humans.

Funnel-Web Spiders

Funnel-web spiders live in burrows in the ground or rock crevices in sheltered locations. The entrance is lined with a tube of web with a number of trip lines radiating out from the opening.

During the warmer months of the year (November - April) male funnel-web spiders wander at night looking for mates. Wet weather can also flush out spiders at any time of the year.

Wandering spiders can enter houses and hide in articles left on the ground.

Funnel-web spiders are very aggressive and will usually rear up into a striking position if disturbed.

Avoiding funnel-web spider bites:

  • Wear gloves when gardening or carrying out landscaping or excavation work and keep a look out for spiders
  • Wear enclosed footwear when walking outside at night or working in areas where spiders are likely to be found do not leave toys, clothes or footwear on the ground overnight
  • Keep a look out for wandering spiders during the warmer months and after extended periods of wet weather.

First aid

  • Remain calm
  • Move only if necessary
  • If bitten on a limb, apply a pressure bandage and immobilise with a splint
  • Seek medical aid as soon as possible.

Redback Spider

Redback spiders live in dark undisturbed areas in buildings, amongst junk piles and stacked materials. Redback spiders are not aggressive and bites usually occur when the spider is trapped against the skin (eg. when picking up materials).

Avoiding redback spider bites:

  • Keep a look out when working in areas or moving objects where redback spiders might be hiding
  • Wear gloves when picking up materials.

First aid

  • Remain calm
  • Apply an ice pack to the bitten area
  • Seek medical aid as soon as possible.
Last updated on 8 July 2015