With the abundance of spiders now sharing space with humans, it is important that we can recognise and understand the species and traits of the spiders that we encounter. Here are a few of the most common spiders in Australia, and how to recognise what type they are, and how they behave.
1. Red Back Spider
A Red Back spider is one of the few species of spider that is incredibly harmful to humans. The fact that its typical favourite hangout is inside human dwellings has led to a large number of serious spider bites in Australia. The venom of the Red Back spider causes latrodectism in humans. This means pain beginning at the site of the bite, which becomes severe and travels up the bitten limb, persisting over 24 hours. Sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, and agitation are also likely to occur. Fortunately, anti venom for the Red Back spider bite is readily available and has been since 1956.
2. Huntsman Spider
Huntsman Spiders are "Sparidae" or 8 eyed spiders. Many Huntsman Spiders can grow to frightening sizes. In Laos, male Huntsman spiders have been documented with a leg span of 9.8 to 11.8 inches. These are the spiders that are most often mistaken for tarantulas.
However, Huntsman spiders' legs do not joint vertically to their body as tarantulas do. Most Huntsman spiders are brown or grey, but their undersides are sometimes marked in black and white with reddish patches around their mouths.
Although their legs are spiny, the remainder of their bodies are smooth, yet covered in fur. Usually, they reside under rocks and bark, but quiet places like sheds and garages are where they often encounter humans.
There are several commonly spotted subspecies of Huntsman spiders.
The Banded Huntsman, which is a large grey or brown species with striped bands on its legs. The Badge Huntsman, which is one of the larger varieties and is hairy and brown in color. The Huntsman spider does have fairly decent eyesight overall, though nowhere near as good as the jumping spiders.