Redback Spiders are known to be poisonous. Multiple resources claim that their species is one of the most venomous spiders in the world. Their bite may cause serious illness and in many cases, it has led to a victim’s death. Unfortunately, redback spiders are found throughout the country. Let’s find out how common they are in Perth so we may be able to take precautions against this deadly spider. In addition, first aid for their bites will also be discussed so immediate response may be done which may help save a person’s life.
Redback Spiders Found in Perth
Redback spiders are common in urban areas, according to the Australian Museum. Since Perth has one of the largest urban sprawls in the country, it might just be one of the redback spiders’ favourite habitats. In addition, it is also believed that redback spiders have originated in Western Australia where Perth belongs.
Redback Spiders Believed to Originate in Western Australia
Up until today, it is still uncertain where redback spiders came from. However, many believe that these spiders originated in Western Australia, where Perth belongs. For instance, World Atlas states that redback spiders are likely to originate in Western Australia. Now, they have spread throughout the region and in the country. In addition, redback spiders also prefer to inhabit places where humans live. In many instances, they were found in houses, toilets, sheds, shrubs, toys, litters, letterboxes, and other common sites.
Redback Spiders Considered to be a Common Pest in Perth
Redback spiders are one of the common pests found in homes that are being controlled by companies in Perth. One of them is Termi Pest who added the redback spiders to the list of spiders they commonly remove in homes. Certain areas that are hot and dry are the common places where redback spiders were found. Some of these are under furniture, window sills, and children’s outdoor toys.
Redback Spider Distribution in a Map
An interactive map available in the Australian Museum also displays the redback spider distribution in the country. It shows that these spiders are widely spread throughout different areas in Perth. The map allows you to zoom in and out to see which specific areas in Perth redback spiders were found.
The Danger of a Redback Spider Bite
If only redback spiders are not poisonous, it would not be a problem if they are prominent in Perth. However, the bites of the redback spiders are dangerous because they can cause serious illness and may lead to death.
Redback Spider Venom
BioMed Central Ltd states that redback spiders produce the neurotoxin (alpha-latrotoxin) venom. It depolarizes neurons by exerting toxic effects on the vertebrate central nervous system. This is done by increasing [Ca2+] I and stimulating the uncontrolled exocytosis of neurotransmitters from nerve terminals, according to the National Library of Medicine.
Effects of a Redback Spider Bite
Western Australian Museum lists the following possible effects of a redback spider bite:
- Five minutes after the redback spider bite, there may be intense localised pain. This is usually accompanied by swelling and sweating.
- After about half an hour, a feeling of pain and swelling throughout the body may be felt.
- After an hour, there may be additional symptoms that will occur. It includes headache, nausea, vomiting, and profuse sweating.
Since redback spider bites may cause death, it is important to treat them with utmost caution. Providing first aid is recommended while seeking emergency help who may administer an antivenom.
First Aid for a Redback Spider Bite
The following first aid practices may be followed to treat redback spider bites:
- Ask the person who got bitten by a redback spider to stay calm.
- Apply ice packs.
- Call 000 for emergency help who may administer the antivenom if symptoms are severe.
Performing other types of first aid treatments like using a tourniquet, excising, or incising the bite is discouraged. All of which are appropriate only for other emergencies which must be performed correctly for proper first aid. Doing so may be possible especially if enrollment in a first aid course in 123C Colin St West Perth 6005 is done where skills and knowledge for proper emergency response are taught.
Antivenom for a Redback Spider Bite
Aside from available first aid management for a redback spider bite, there is also an antivenom. In a study by The Medical Journal of Australia, one among six patients with a redback spider bite experienced no pain at all for 24 hours after being treated with antivenom. Other patients who received more than one dose of the antivenom experienced side effects and recovered.
Side Effects of the Redback Spider Bite Antivenom
Following are some side effects experienced by patients in the same study:
- Mild serum sickness.
Another patient also experienced a localised itchy rash.
Redback Spider Bites in Children
As mentioned above, redback spiders are found in areas where humans stay and live like children’s outdoor toys. Kids may also not be aware of the dangers of insects such as the redback spider. So chances of children being bitten by redback spiders may be higher than in adults. Baby Center also mentions that spider bites may cause more severe reactions in young children than in adults even though the same amount of venom is released in both ages. If possible, letting the children know how redback spiders look may help so they know which spiders to avoid. Being able to identify a female redback spider may be more important.
The Female Redback Spider
The venom mentioned above is present only in female redback spiders, who are said to be responsible for most envenomations as stated by Medscape. Being able to identify a female from a male redback spider may be helpful to know if first aid response or emergency help is needed.
The Appearance of a Female Redback Spider
Female redback spiders may be distinguished by their following appearance:
- Brownish or blackish.
- A longitudinal stripe (sometimes broken) on the upper abdomen that is red to orange in colour.
- An “hourglass” shaped red/orange spot on the underside of the abdomen.
The size of their bodies is almost the same as that of a large pea and they have slender legs.
The Appearance of a Male Redback Spider
In contrast, male redback spiders are:
- Light brown.
- Additional white markings on the upper side of the abdomen.
- A pale hourglass marking on the underside.
The red markings in male redback spiders are also less distinct compared to females.
The behaviour of a Female Redback Spider
Redback spiders can capture quite large animals such as male trapdoor spiders, king crickets, and small lizards. The females also take stored food from other spiders’ webs. Webs are also able to be produced by the females as the male redback spiders do not form them. It is where they mostly stay so humans may only be bitten by the redback spiders if they put their hands on it.
Unfortunately, redback spiders are common in Perth. The female ones contain venom that may cause serious illness and death. Being able to identify a female redback spider from the male one may be helpful so first aid response may be applied immediately. Calling for emergency help is also advised especially if symptoms are severe as there may be a need for an administration of antivenom.