These Are Australia's Most Dangerous Spiders [Infographic]

Australia is home to some of the most toxic spiders on the planet. Thankfully, the development of anti-venom has made fatalities and serious illnesses exceedingly rare. Nevertheless, there are some arachnids that you just don't mess with. This chart from Pest Control Warriors ranks the hairiest heavy-hitters: from the potentially deadly funnel-web spider to the non-poisonous but no-less terrifying huntsman.

Photo: GollyGforce, Flickr

Spiders are not the enemy. Without them, humanity would be besieged with a creepy-crawly plague of Biblical proportions. Admittedly, this is little consolation when a plate-sized arachnid drops directly onto your arm while adjusting the curtains. Or repeatedly bites you on the face for walking into its cobweb. Or slowly crawls inside your ear while you sleep in search of a warm home for its hundreds of baby eggs. Okay, we'll stop now.

The infographic below lists all the Aussie spiders that commonly bite humans. As you can see, it's actually a pretty small list. Doubtlessly you've seen some of these in your house or around the garden and wondered whether they have large enough fangs to sting you. The answer is yes.

The main ones to be mindful of are the red-back, funnel web and white-tip. Otherwise, you're looking at a somewhat painful bite as a worst case scenario.

See also: Everything You Wanted To Know About Huntsman Spiders (But Were Afraid To Ask) [Via Pest Control Warriors]


    There's no verifiable evidence that white tail spiders produce necrosis as per sensationalist media reports and they certainly are not dangerous or deadly. They would be classed as Toxic as their bites cause burning pain, swelling and itchiness.

      I've seen gross wounds caused by white-tip spiders firsthand. I'd definitely class them as dangerous. (In any event, "dangerous" is a very subjective word - anything that has the potential to cause harm can be classed as dangerous.)

        Have you though?

        There's only anecdotal evidence to suggest the white-tailed spider has been the cause of these wounds.

        Anything that has the potential to cause harm can be classed as dangerous

        Like a pencil?

          Its called necrotising fasciitis and can be caused be far more than just spiders, its not specific to white-tales, just common with them. Learned this first hand after winding up in a emergency room!

          I have seen first hand what their poison does after a nights sleep. Looks like a god damn volcano.

      As suffering necrosis from a white tail bite. I don't know where to start.

      my cousin who had to have 2 skin grafts on his foot would probably disagree with you. But no usually not deadly unless left untreated can cause horrific infections that spread. And again if someone had an allergic reaction to the venom then that's a serious issue!

      Pretty much spot on.

      In cases where the spider has been caught at the time of the bite and identified, there has been no development of necrotic ulcers. Converse to that, there appears to be increased reporting of necrotic ulcers in people who have been bitten by something in an environment they believe to be conducive to white-tails i.e. in a bed at Winter. Many early studies and reports linking the two are completely flawed because white-tailed spiders weren't identified at the time of the bite.
      All of that doesn't preclude a spider bite resulting in an ulcer, but it does indicate that the puncture wound acts as an entry point for bacteria, rather than any special property in the venom.

      As time passes and studies on white-tailed spiders become more focused and accurate, it becomes apparent that the link between white-tail spiders and necrotic ulcers is a myth.

      This study from Isbister and Gray covers quite a lot of ground:


      Last edited 06/07/16 3:37 am

        And yet there are 4 people above you (at time of my post) that say otherwise. First hand evidence suggests they have seen the effects with their own eyes. Directly. Person to person, or in at least one case, themself.

        If its not the spider directly, then its definitely a vector in the process, which is just as good. Komodo dragons dont directly cause the septic wounds either, but the bugs in their saliva that do would only get there because of them.

        I for one dont ever want to be near a white tipped spider, whether its them or a parasite sponging off them that does the damage. Either way isnt good for me, and both ways are because THAT spider bit me.

          Four people with ANECDOTAL evidence. This is a problem.

          We shouldn't discount peoples experiences, however it does pay to question whether the facts were all knowable. It may not be a white tail spider, it may be a different spider. It may not be bacteria from the spider, the bacteria could have been present elsewhere and infected the wound.

          I've seen this same 'infographic' solidly debunked elsewhere, its a pity Lifehacker have chosen to perpetuate it and these myths.

            First hand experience is not anecdotal. One of them was talking about themselves (@g-man), so I'm not sure how that's anecdotal. Another about a direct relative (@ompster), again, something I struggle to say is anecdotal.

            If something is anecdotal, you've heard about it from a friend, or something like that. Not seen first hand, or had happen to you. Massive difference there, to think otherwise is quite dismissive and a little insulting. Tell the person above that was bit and suffered necrosis that they were imagining it.

            Regardless, my point was more that the white tipped spider consistently appears in these stories. Not other spiders, white tipped spiders. For that alone, I dont want to be bitten by one for the same reason I never want to be in an enclosure with a komodo dragon. Whether its them or something else, they are the vector that gets it into the body to do the dirty work.

              OK so I got bitten. I didn't feel the bite as such but the crawling on my skin. I nicely squashed him and it's repentant looked exactly like a white tail. Which I have killed many of. Quite common in the canberra regions. Sorry I didn't get the spider properly tested.
              I didn't think to much at first as there was no immediate reaction but as the evening went on the region got itchy and red.after several hours a black patch developed around the bite area and I started loosing feeling in my arm. I went to the GPS by the time I arrived it was now an indentation in my arm. No feeling at all in that are . I told the wait for it Doctor. What had happened they confirmed that my Symptoms matched a while tail bite. I was put on a mix of antibiotics which yaay they were fun random dizzy spells. And after a few days the blackness disappeared but it took a few weeks for the muscle in my arm to regrow? And smooth out the ditch in my arm.
              Now after experiencing this first hand. Seeing the culprit then having a doctor back it up and giving me antibiotics that worked.

              From what I have been led to believe it isn't a poison that does this but bacteria carried by the spider that or/with an auto immune response. Hence why some people suffer and some don't.
              So even if there venom isn't carrying the toxin. There bite still does produce necrosis in some cases.

              Last edited 06/07/16 4:55 pm

              We're not trying to dismiss the experience of those above but, respectfully, you are wrong.

              Anecdotal: (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research. (via Google)

              Anecdotal evidence can be useful, however it is not rigorous and that is why it is never relied on for scientific research. Nobody is going to tell people who suffered necrosis that they are wrong; rather the REASONS for it are not necessarily correct.

              There are plenty of myths around the place that have some semblance of truth, but in this case, there is NO evidence, as shown by proper scientific research that white-tailed spider bites cause necrosis. Any necrotic effects are going to be caused by something else.

              Here's an old article about Australian research that doesn't find any evidence for necrosis being caused by white-tailed spiders:

    It's a shame the infographic wasn't proof-read before being released.

      What, you've never seen an ord-weaver?

        Is there a really big one at the source of the river up north in WA?

        I'd hate to develop a sensitivety to its venom.

      I'm pretty sure this "infographic" is the exact same magnetic card we used to have stuck to our fridge some 20+ years ago. Same spider art, same boxes. And I think yes, same typo.

      I'm worried about the "low risk" spiders that fly out when they present danger.
      Crawling spiders are bad enough, but flying ones... :(

    Only the female bite is dangerous. They can cause serious illness and have caused deaths. However, since Redback Spiders rarely leave their webs, humans are not likely to be bitten unless a body part such as a hand is put directly into the web, and because of their small jaws many bites are ineffective.Oct 30, 2015

      try and find a recorded death from any red back spider in recent years.... the only time it's of concern is if someone has an allergic reaction to the venom in which case the anti-venom can be used otherwise you will just feel seedy and sore at the bite. really not a big deal. You won't find them in your house usually but anywhere outside for sure! especially wood piles ,etc.

        im not disagreeing with you. what i posted was from an article, and youre right, its usually when a person has a specific reaction to the venom.
        ive never found one in my house, but i find them around my BBQ frequently, to which i promptly make mashed redback, but only coz they are ugly, and i have a 4 year old.

    I've been bitten by both red back and white tail. Red back for me was painless on the tip of my right middle finger. Left me with nervous system damage that took many years to recover from. Nasty and not recommended even for my worst enemy. Many report a painful bite but I didn't even feel it at the time.

    White tail was a large one in a bed that got me in the middle of my back. Itchy as hell for a week or so then nothing. Like a bad mozzy bite. I don't deny some people have skin issues from these spiders but for me I am more afraid of biting my cheek while eating.

    So basically this post is just a scare campaign of an ad for a pest control company that obviously wants you to employ their services whether required or not.

    A google image search finds the same chart being offered by another pest control agency as a 'free poster' on a site masquerading as a spider information/identification site.

    Here's how you do the article properly:

    Last edited 06/07/16 3:14 pm

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