CPR First Aid

Is the Redback Spider as Deadly as the Black Widow

Is the Redback Spider as Deadly as the Black Widow?

While both the redback spider and the black widow are poisonous, there is a common misconception that the redback spider is as deadly as the black widow. In reality, while both spiders can cause serious health effects, the black widow is actually much more venomous. Let’s take a closer look at these two species of spiders, their respective dangers, as well as how to provide first aid instructions for anyone who may come into contact with either one.

How to Identify a Redback Spider?

The redback spider is a species of venomous spider indigenous to Australia. The adult female is easily recognised by her black body with a prominent red stripe on her abdomen and an hourglass-shaped marking on her lower back. Male redback spiders are much smaller than females and are often grey or brown in colour.

Where Are They Usually Seen?

Redback spiders are found throughout Australia, including Adelaide CBD, with high concentrations in urban and rural areas and are particularly common in gardens and sheds. These spiders build their webs in sheltered locations such as among leaf litter, in logs or rocks, or in crevices.

Redback Spiders are Venomous

The redback spider is considered to be of medical significance due to the potency of its venom. Bites from these spiders can cause significant pain and suffering, and in some cases can lead to death.

Cases of Redback Spider Bites in Australia Each Year

Bites usually occur when the spider is disturbed or feels threatened. There are around 2,000 cases of redback spider bites recorded each year. The majority of these bites occur in the warmer months, with October to April being the peak period.

Redback Spider Bite Symptoms

Redback spider symptoms can vary depending on the severity of the bite. Signs and symptoms of a spider bite infection include:

Reddening of the skin

This is one of the most common signs of a spider bite infection. The area around the bite will become red and inflamed.


Another common sign of a spider bite infection is swelling. The area around the bite will begin to swell and may even blister.


Many people who are bitten by a spider will experience pain at the site of the bite. The pain may range from mild to severe, and it may last for a few hours or days.


Once the venom from the spider’s bite begins to work its way into the skin, it can cause the skin to crust over. This is a sign that the infection is getting worse and needs to be treated.


A fever can be another sign of a spider bite infection, especially if the bite is on the face or neck. If you have a fever, it’s important to see a doctor right away.

Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are two more signs of a spider bite infection. If you experience either of these, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible.


In rare cases, spider bites can cause seizures. If you experience a seizure, seek medical attention immediately. Call triple zero (000)

Reaction to the Venom

In some cases, the venom from a spider bite can cause a serious reaction, even if you’re not allergic to it. Symptoms of a serious reaction include difficulty breathing, chest pain, and paralysis. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately.

If you experience any of these symptoms after being bitten by a redback spider, get medical help right away. In some cases, bites from this spider can be fatal if left untreated.

First Aid for a Redback Spider

Despite their small size, redback spiders are venomous and their bites can be dangerous to humans. Here are the first aid practices for redback spider bites.

  1. Follow DRSABCD
  2. Apply a cold pack to the affected area to help reduce swelling.
  3. Keep the affected person calm and still to prevent the spread of venom.
  4. Seek medical help immediately.

Adelaide first aid training is available at CPR First Aid (RTO NO 21903), a leading provider of compliant and accredited courses offered all over Australia. 

How is the Black Widow Spider Different?

A black widow spider is a venomous spider that is found in warm climates throughout the world. The female black widow spider is notorious for its potent venom, which can be dangerous to humans. Black widow spiders are not aggressive, and typically only bite humans in self-defense. However, their bites can cause serious health problems, so it is important to be aware and be in the know on how to manage and treat if a person is bitten.

Symptoms of a Black Widow Spider Bite

Black widow spider bite signs and symptoms include:

  • pain at the site of the bite
  • swelling, redness
  • muscle cramps. In some cases
  • people may also experience nausea
  • vomiting
  • sweating
  • difficulty breathing

First Aid for a Black Widow Spider

If you are bitten by a black widow spider, call 000 immediately. In the meantime, there are some first aid steps that you can take to help ease the pain and swelling.

  1. Apply ice to the area of the bite to help reduce swelling.
  2. If possible, elevate the area of the bite to help reduce swelling.
  3. Gently clean the area of the bite with soap and water.
  4. Take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to help ease pain and swelling.

How to Prevent Spider Bites?

The best way to prevent redback spider bites is to avoid contact with the spiders. If you must work or play in areas where redbacks are present, wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Be sure to inspect your clothing for spiders before putting it on. Inspect your shoes and any other gear that you will be taking into the area.

Keep an eye out for webs and be sure to shake out any clothing or gear that has been sitting in an area where spiders are present. If you do see a spider, do not approach it or try to kill it. Instead, call a professional to remove it.

How to Get Rid of Redback Spiders?

There are a few things you can do to get rid of redback spiders:

  • Remove any food sources that they may be feeding on, such as insects or other small animals.
  • Keep your home clean and free of clutter where they could hide.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to remove them from their hiding places.
  • Seal any cracks or openings in your home that they could use to enter.
  • Apply insecticide around the perimeter of your home and in areas where they are commonly found.

In conclusion, one of the unforeseen incidents that could happen when in Australia would be spider bites. People of all ages should be aware of the toxicity of venoms from redback and black widow spider bites. Avoiding these spider species and calling a professional to get rid of them are the best practices.

However, if the situation calls for it, training in emergency care can be extremely beneficial. To get more information about first aid courses at Level 1/174 Gilles St, Adelaide 5000, give CPR First Aid a call. We’ll match you with the best certification class tailored for you, in a different location as per request, taught by fully qualified trainers.

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