Australia as a continent is unique in terms of the diverse yet distinctive fauna it harbors. However, Australia is also reputable for the notoriety and danger of the many animals found there. Big spiders in Australia carry a formidable reputation. Insects from Australia are particularly famous in this regard as well- and among insects, particularly, spiders are creatures that create a strong reaction of fear for many people. A spider infestation is the stuff of nightmares for many people as well.
However, spiders are technically considered good since they prey on insects such as flies, wasps, weevils, and moths and provide free pest control. They occupy important ecological niches and comprise an important factor in the food chain of the environments they are found in. This article, therefore, discusses the 6 big spiders in Australia.
Interestingly, not all spiders employ this method to hunt, with several different species in and out of Australia hunting insects on the ground. Several species do not spin webs even within Australia’s list of big spiders.
Spiders are often misunderstood creatures and create great fear or even disgust in many people. As stated above, spiders benefit humans since they consume other undesirable insects. Spiders are not naturally predisposed to attack humans but will do so when pushed against a corner- like most other animals; they attack primarily in self-defense.
What Is The Number Of Big Spiders In Australia?
Australia has several spider species, and new spider species are being discovered now and then. Scientists estimate that around 10,000 species of spiders can be found in Australia.
There are many well-known species of small and big spiders in Australia, such as the Sydney funnel-web spider, huntsman spiders, mouse spiders, trap door spider, the brown recluse, redback spider, wolf spider, daddy long legs, and more.
Are There Dangerous Big Spiders In Australia?
Out of the many spiders present in Australia, several are venomous spiders. However, they are rarely aggressive, too much larger than humans. Deadly spiders live in Australia but don’t cause enough severe envenomation to endanger human life. Few human deaths have been reported due to spider bites; the last case was in 1979.
Anti-venom availability has expanded rapidly in Australia for bites from the most dangerous spiders in Australia. No deaths have been attributed to a spider bite in Australia for a long time.
What Are The Characteristics of Big Spiders in Australia?
Like most spiders worldwide, Australian spiders belong to the arachnid family of insects and have eight legs, a thorax, and multiple eyes. As noted before, they are not highly venomous or deadly to humans. Australian spiders don’t behave aggressively and bite humans more than others worldwide. Thus, the big spiders in Australia do not necessarily pose a threat to humans.
Australian spiders mostly prey on insects like aphids, flying insects, and sometimes other spiders. Both small and big spiders in Australia live in bushlands, in urban and semi-urban areas, where they exploit the various nooks and crannies available near human settlements, in garden sheds, moist and damp areas with no bright sunlight, as rock shelters, caves, etc.
6 Big Spiders in Australia
Australia, as a continent, has fairly large spiders found within it. Here is a list of the most famous and most interesting big spiders found in Australia-
1. Sydney Funnel Web Spider
The Sydney Funnel-web spider is well known among the other big spiders in Australia on this list. The Funnel-web spider is named after the distinctive appearance of its web, which they build to trap their prey, consisting heavily of flying insects. The Sydney Funnel-web spider has large fangs to inject its venom into unlucky insects, which become its prey.
Funnel-web spiders are commonly found in forested areas in New South Wales but can also occur in populated urban areas and have sometimes even been found close to swimming pools.
A male funnel web spider is smaller than the female spider, but it can carry slightly more potent spider venom. The Funnel-web spider can be somewhat aggressive when threatened and deliver a bite which can be very painful and even fatal in some cases to humans. However, anti-venom availability has led to no casualties.
Funnel-web spiders rear up and project their large fangs towards danger when threatened as a warning. The Funnel-web spider is among the biggest spiders in Australia and among the evilest in the world.
2. White-Tailed Spider
White-tailed spiders are named after the white spot on the end of their abdomen since spiders do not possess tails. White-tailed spiders are nocturnally active and pursue prey on the ground, frequently hunting other spiders.
They are found in a large swathe of territory in southern Australia, from Tasmania to Queensland, ranging through both eastern and western parts of the regions.
A human having received a white tail spider bite will experience local pain and itchiness around the bite, and some may report mild headaches, nausea, or even vomiting. White-tail spider bites do not cause necrosis simply because their venom is not strong enough. Moreover, spider venom does not contain any bacteria and thus cannot lead to skin infections in the first place.
3. Redback Spider
Redback spiders inhabit all of Australia and can be found in various regions; usually, these spiders can be found in dry and sheltered places such as garden sheds, mailboxes, cupboards, etc. Redback spider females are slightly bigger than males and deliver a more serious bite. Redback spider females will also devour the male during mating.
These spiders are easily identifiable owing to the red stripe running behind their back, from which they get their names. The black widow spider belongs to this family and is one of the most dangerous spiders and most venomous spiders in the world, however, they are hunted by the daddy long legs spider.
Redback spider bites can be commonly identified by the significant and potent local pain, which may last for days, as well as sweating and additional symptoms of lethargy and malaise. Some may even report sickness.
Envenomation from redback spider bites affects the nervous system, but redback spiders thankfully do not have large fangs to deliver lethal dosage. Redback spiders fiercely and aggressively protect their egg sacs.
4. Trapdoor Spider
Trap door spiders are unique in their hunting strategy to secure their prey. The spider burrows into the ground cover itself with a rock or leaf litter and hides until the insect prey arrives close enough.
The trap door spider then leaps out to grab it and injects its venom into it, taking the insect prey inside the burrow to consume in peace. This behavior is how they get their name.
Trap door spiders found in Australia belong to a family of spiders known as Mouse spiders. Mouse spiders such as the trapdoor spider are found in South America, northern New South Wales, and southern Queensland in Australia. Like other Mouse spiders, Trap door spiders are often mistaken for funnel web spiders.
Trap door spiders far outlive other spiders, including others from the family of Mouse spiders, and can survive up to 15 or even 20 years. Trap door spiders are not particularly regarded as deadly and have minor symptoms similar to funnel web spiders in the early stages.
5. Huntsman Spider
The Huntsman spider is the biggest spider on this list and is found throughout Australia, living in crevices, and dark narrow spaces in urbanized landscapes such as below raised decks, in attics, under roofs, and more.
Huntsman spiders get their name from their speed and hunting method, which does not involve making webbed structures. They chase their prey on the ground and capture it. They are easily identifiable from their strong and long leg size.
Huntsman spiders are the largest spiders in Australia, with their leg span reaching up to more than 20cm; they are often portrayed as scary. They have the reputation of jumping onto things from behind the curtains, but this does not stick to last in reality.
Huntsman spiders do not possess fatal venom but will bite when provoked. Their venom is not dangerous to lead to severe envenomation but can cause various symptoms such as nausea, headaches, local pain, swelling, and even heart palpitations in some cases. Female Huntsman spiders are often aggressive when protecting their egg sacs.
6. Australian Tarantula
Tarantulas are perhaps the most well-known species of all the scary spiders known to humans. They are easily recognizable due to large fangs and fine hairs over their body and are often thought of as dangerous and terrifying. This is undoubtedly owing to their prominent feature in popular culture, such as in movies, cartoons, books, etc.
Australian Tarantulas can also be known as whistling or barking spiders and predominantly live in tropical environments.
Tarantulas have interesting anatomy, such as clawed hooks on the end of their legs, sharp bristles, etc. Like all other tarantulas, Australian tarantulas shed their bristles, which are very fine and can cause skin irritations and even eye infections. They don’t use their webs to catch prey but as building material around nests.
Australian tarantula bites can be medically significant and cause pain, swelling, nausea, headaches, vomiting, etc. but are treatable with anti-venom. Australian tarantulas use their large fangs to bite; the pain can persist for several days up to a week.
Tarantulas in Australia use their venom for hunting small amphibians, other insects, and other spiders. They are also known to prey on lizards, such as skinks.
Where to find out more about Big Spiders in Australia?
Spiders are highly misunderstood creatures, but they do not have to be so. Spiders are important ecosystem members and often act as natural pest control. As this article highlights, the spider world includes a host of interesting and diverse specimens over which experts and enthusiasts have pored for years. This article also explored the various habits of big spiders in Australia and where you can find big spiders in Australia.
A great place to start learning about big spiders in Australia is the Australia Museum, which has an excellent database to draw upon for visitors to explore. Other than that, various resources exist online and can be easily accessed.
Did you enjoy reading this article about big spiders in Australia? Do you have any recommendations for other species of big spiders in Australia that we perhaps missed? Feel free to comment in the section below. Also, click on this link to read another interesting and engaging article about the most poisonous spiders found in Florida in the United States.