About spiders, there are a lot of urban legends and false beliefs. One of them is that all Australian spiders have the ability to bite. Only a small number of spider species are present in Australia that can hurt people with their venom. We’ll look at the various kinds of Australian house spiders and talk about whether or not they’re dangerous to people. Additionally, we will offer some advice on how to handle any potential spider bites.
Spider Bite Injuries in Australia
There are over 2,000 different spider species in Australia, although the majority are generally safe for people. The funnel-web, mouse, redback, and white-tailed spiders are all venomous in Australia albeit there haven’t been any documented deaths in Australia from a verified spider bite since the development of antivenom.
Common Types of Household Spiders
Spiders are generally considered to be beneficial to humans because they help to control populations of other pests, such as flies and mosquitoes. However, there are a few species of spiders that can pose a threat to human health. These spiders are often found in and around homes, so it is important to be aware of them and take precautions to avoid being bitten.
Sydney Funnel-web Spiders
The Sydney Funnel-Web Spider, often regarded as the most hazardous spider in the world, is a common sight in New South Wales, where it may be found in both backyards and wilderness. It is renowned for both its vicious temper and its powerful fangs, which can puncture through fingers and toes. The human nervous system can shut down as a result of funnel-web spider bites, which are exceedingly poisonous and can cause death within 15 minutes.
The venom of funnel-web spiders contains a substance that can make the venom very toxic for humans and other animals. Bite symptoms first start with:
- a tingling sensation around the mouth
- twitching of the tongue
- excessive salivation
- watery eyes
- muscular spasms
High blood pressure and increased heartbeat occur, and when coupled with respiratory difficulty, can be extremely severe and even fatal.
The Daddy-Long-Legs Spider is found throughout Australia. Its long, thin legs and small body make it easily recognizable. This spider is not aggressive and is actually quite harmless to humans. However, their webs can be a nuisance if they’re built in areas where people live or work.
Daddy-Long-Legs Spiders do not bite. Their fangs are too small and weak to penetrate human skin. Some people can cause an allergic reaction if they are bitten.
In 2016, redback spiders made news after one of them killed a young Sydney resident. A Redback spider has a noticeable red stripe on its body and is extremely deadly. It may be found all throughout Australia, from bushland to metropolitan homes, although it prefers to settle in calm, protected areas like mailboxes and behind toilet seats. Despite the fact that many bites are recorded each year, not many of them are thought to be fatal. Anti-venom is used to treat a tiny percentage. Since the anti-venom was made accessible in 1950, there haven’t been any known deaths caused by an arachnid other than the instance in 2016.
Redback spider bites can be fatal, especially to young children, hence any bite has to be handled with extreme precaution. A redback spider injects its venom straight into the nerves, causing neurotransmitters to be released and then depleted. Pain, perspiration, muscle weakness, nausea, and vomiting are some of the symptoms.
Often found in dark, damp places such as basements and laundry rooms. There are over a dozen species of white-tailed spiders in Australia, and they are among the most commonly reported spider bite cases. The bites usually cause only localised redness and swelling, but in some cases can lead to more serious symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and headaches. White-tailed spiders are not considered dangerous, but it is always best to seek medical attention if you think someone has been bitten.
Huntsman spiders are large and long-legged with some species growing to over 20cm in length, often mistaken for tarantulas. Widely distributed across Australia, they are found in warm climates and are known for their speed and agility, running down their prey. Their diet consists mainly of insects and other small animals.
Huntsman spiders are not considered to be dangerous to humans, but their large size and quick movements can be unsettling. Symptoms of a huntsman spider bite include:
- itchiness at the site of the bite
In rare cases, more serious symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and dizziness may occur.
The mouse spider typically lives in bushes, burrows, or creeps into the backyards of suburban homes. The mouse spider, one of the deadliest spiders, is one of eight species that are dispersed throughout the country. The females like the quietness of their burrows since they spend the majority of their time inactive. The species’ male is often seen stumbling around looking for them. Due to the heat, mouse spiders regularly wander around during the day.
This species’ bites often only have mild to moderate effects. The mouse spider, in contrast to funnel-web spiders, is thought to produce less venom and may even “dry bite”. The venom of some mouse spiders is extremely poisonous and can be just as lethal as that of the Sydney funnel-web spider although their bites have not been associated with many deaths.
Are Australian House Spiders Poisonous?
No, Australian house spiders are not poisonous. While they can bite if provoked, their bites are not typically harmful to humans. If you are concerned about a spider bite, seek medical attention immediately.
Most spider bites only cause minor irritation, with symptoms such as redness, swelling and itchiness. However, some spiders can cause more serious reactions, including:
- difficulty breathing
- swelling of the face, lips or tongue
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- nausea or vomiting
- a rapid heartbeat
If bitten by a spider and if the affected person experiences any of these symptoms seek medical attention right away.
A severe reaction can be life-threatening. Treatment for a severe spider bite allergic reaction typically includes medications to relieve symptoms and prevent anaphylaxis. The following are:
- antihistamines to relieve itching
- corticosteroids to reduce inflammation
- antibiotics if the bite becomes infected
- intravenous (IV) fluids to treat dehydration
- oxygen therapy if you have difficulty breathing
Signs of Infection
In some cases, a spider bite may lead to a bacterial skin infection evident by redness, swelling, pain, pus or other drainages.
If the infection is present, the doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. To help prevent infection, clean the bite area with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment. Schedule another appointment with the doctor if the bite doesn’t heal after a week or two.
While the majority of Australian household spiders are harmless, it is still best to be prepared and knowledgeable with the skills and treatment for emergency cases. This will help ensure the safety and health of the person suffering from an allergic reaction as a consequence of a spider bite. Have you ever been bitten by an Australian spider? What was your experience?
When to Administer First Aid?
Severe allergic reactions would usually require first aid. If you’d like to go through formal training and acquire first aid certification in Cheltenham, send your queries to CPR First Aid and we’ll be happy to walk you through our courses.