Australia is well-known for its poisonous spiders, some of which are among the most dangerous in the world. This can cause some visitors to worry about their safety. However, many Australian spiders are not dangerous. Learning to identify the most common Australian spiders can help travellers and residents stay safe and get the correct treatment if bitten.
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Funnel-web spiders are a type of venomous spider native to the Sydney and Brisbane areas. Males are smaller than the females -- a little less than an inch long -- and tend to be very aggressive. This spider is shiny black, and has a dark purple-brown abdomen with reddish hairs. According to Spiders.com.au, the funnel-web carries one of the most dangerous toxins in the world. People who are bitten should seek medical attention immediately.
Redback spiders are highly venomous. They deliver extremely painful bites which can be deadly to very young and very old people. However, these creatures are much less aggressive than the funnel-web spider. Redback spiders can be found throughout Australia, and vary significantly in size. Males may be extremely tiny, while females can be as large as a pea. They often have a red marking on their backs. These spiders prefer dry, secluded areas.
The White-tail spider is venomous, but rarely dangerous. Its bite may cause pain, swelling, itching and nausea. In some rare cases, people who have been bitten by a whitetail spider have suffered from gangrene, possibly due to bacterial infection from the spider's fangs. These spiders are relatively small-- about ½ inch in length--and are grey to black with a white marking on the end of the tail. They prefer cool, moist areas such as bathrooms and garden mulch. White-tail spiders can be found throughout Australia.
The mouse spider is fairly large, growing to about 1¼ inches in length. Males have a bright red head and fangs, while females are almost entirely black. These spiders, which can be found across Australia, are normally not aggressive. However, the mouse spider will bite if provoked and can cause a painful wound. Because of the size of a mouse spider's fangs, it has a false reputation for deadly bites.
Huntsman spiders are relatively large and can be startling but are not considered dangerous to humans. The huntsman spider is found throughout Australia and can grow to 2 inches in diameter. It is not aggressive, though large spiders may bite if threatened. This spider is beige, with dark patches on the abdomen, and a hairy body. The first two pairs of legs are noticeably longer than the rear two. Huntsman spiders prefer to live under eaves, flat rocks and in other concealing spaces. When startled, they can move at extremely high speeds.
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