Spiders are a reality of life in Australia. Yes! We are home to the world’s most venomous spiders, but of more than 2,400 species that live here, less than 50 are harmful to humans. Most web building spiders are not dangerous. Ground dwellers are more predatory and you’re more likely to encounter them when gardening or landscaping.
Spiders you are wise to beware of in Northern NSW include Redbacks, Funnel Webs, Black or Grey House Spiders and Mouse Spiders. A couple of spiders that are beneficial to your garden or home include the St Andrew’s Cross Spider and Hunstman Spiders.
The Redback Spider is a serious danger to humans. They inflict a painful bite causing around 2000 reported calls each year. The female is the one you need to beware of – she’s the one with the red stripe.
FUNNEL WEB SPIDER
These spiders are highly aggressive when disturbed or cornered and able to inflict multiple bites with their large, hardened fangs. The Australian Reptile Park milks the male funnel web spider for its venom to use for antivenene when people suffer a bite. This video clip “How to Catch a Funnel Web Spider” encourages people to collect the funnel web spider, if possible, and gives instructions on how to do that. It’s worth watching and nowhere near as scary as it sounds. Given the Australian Museum reports 30 – 40 people are bitten by funnel webs each year, emergency departments don’t want antivenene stocks to get too low.
Funnel Web Spider.
BLACK & GREY HOUSE SPIDER
The black house spider is often called the ‘window spider’ because they are often found in window frames and crevices.
Black & Grey House Spider.
The Australian Museum says they’re not actually sure about the origin of the name of the ‘mouse spider’. Could be that someone found a spider in a deep burrow that had possibly been an old beetle or mouse hole; they are alleged to eat mice; or the large females resemble mice?
ST ANDREWS CROSS SPIDER
These are fascinating spiders that weave a large cross in the centre of their web. When feeling threatened, they shake their web, making it vibrate to scare off prey or blur the vision of other insects.
St Andrews Cross Spider.
Huntsman are the spiders you find on the bedroom or bathroom wall that make you jump six feet and screech like a hyena. There are advantages to having them around though: they prey on other insects.
Hairy, pale yellow buff to beige brown colour with dark patches on its body; the first 2 pairs of legs are longer than the rear two; flat looking with long, slender legs. These large, flat brown spiders look fearsome with their hairy, long legs but they actually prey on the much more dangerous white-tailed spider, as well as cockroaches and other insects.