There can be nothing more frightening then standing in the shower washing your hair to look up to find a huntsman spider perched precariously on the roof looking down upon you with malicious intent and hate in their tiny beady eyes. Personally I think that this scenario is way worse than the shower scene in Psycho.
What about peacefully strolling along the garden path hand in hand with your significant other on a glorious autumn eve only to be choked by the sticky, silken string the golden orb uses to catch its prey. This encounter is enough to turn your voice to a high pitched whail of fright, whilst your limbs are thrown into the expert moves of a grand master in a long forgotten martial art with no previous experience.
Huntsman spiders are shy, quiet creatures that can move sideways at lightning fast speed if disturbed. They prefer to live under the flaking bark of trees, under rocks and under eaves or within the roof spaces of buildings.
The bite of the Huntsman Spider can lead to illness and discomfort. They are a non-aggresive group of spiders. However, a large individual can give a painful bite. Beware in summer months when the female Huntsman Spider is guarding her egg sacs or young.
Huntsman Spiders are pale brown in colour with dark spots on the body, they can grow up to 20cm in diameter.
Golden Orb Spider
The adult Orb Weaving spider is a non-aggresive spider, but the fright of walking through their web at nigttime is enough to give one heart failure, heaven forbid if you end up with one on your face.
The Gold Orb Spider has a bulbous abdomen; and often has a colourful, dark to light brown pattern. The common orb weaving spider has a purplish abdomen.
Garden Orb Weaving Spiders are often found in garden areas around the home. They spin a large circular web of two metres or more, often between buildings and trees to snare flying insects, which they wrap up and keep in their web larder. They can often be seen living with a couple of younger spiders also.
Redback Spiders are an Australian icon. Redback Spiders can inflict a painful bite that can be deadly to the young and elderly, approximately 250 people per year present for treatment for an anti-venom.
The area surrounding the bite will be extremely sore, the venom then attacks the nervous system which can lead to headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pyrexia, hypertension and in extreme cases, paralysis.
Redback spiders’ sizes vary greatly. They have a large abdomen but, not all redbacks have red markings, their webs are messy and dense, they love hiding in the letterbox, underside of seats. Electric lights attract their prey.
The Black House Spider
The black house spider is a dark and robust spider, their webs are messy looking constructed of irregular sail-like shapes. There is a funnel-shaped, silken retreat, usually in the middle or corner of the web, where the spider spends most of its time laying in wait for its prey.
Black house spiders are venomous, but are not considered dangerous. They are timid and bites are infrequent. The bite may be excruciatingly painful and cause local swelling. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, sweating and giddiness have been occasionally reported.
Daddy Long Legs
Daddy Long Legs spiders are easily recognizable by their extremely long, skinny legs and small body. They were introduced to Australia by accident from Europe. They are found in most urban areas, in particular houses.
They like to spin a web to catch insects and other spiders, in sheltered positions were they are unlikely to be disturbed, such as under furniture, behind doors, in the corner of the ceilings, in sheds and garages. It is probably the successful use of these structures that have made this spider so successful.
The White Tail Spider
The White Tail spider is medium in size and native to southern and eastern Australia. They have a dark reddish to grey, cigar shaped body and is so named due to the whitish tips and the end of their abdomens. They are most active at night and feed on other spiders.
The White Tail Spider is a vagrant hunter that lives beneath bark and rocks, in leaf litter, logs and detritus in bush, gardens and houses. They will hide amongst clothes left on the floor, Their painful bite has been blamed for ulcerating necrosis of the surrounding skin, though this is being proven wrong.
The St Andrew’s Cross
These spiders are named for the bright cross shaped decorations in their webs, they build large orb like webs to catch their prey.
The role of the cross-like web decoration has been thought to camouflage against predators. It also reflects UV light which may be used to attact flying insects.
When threatened, the St Andrew’s Cross spider responds either by dropping from the web or shaking it so vigourously that both the spider and the web become a blur to would be attackers.
The Funnel Web Spider
The Funnel Web spider is medium to large in size. They are darkly coloured and range from black to plum to brown. Funnel webs make their burrows in moist, cool, sheltered habitats – under rocks, in and under rotting logs, occasionally metres from the ground.
Females are sedintery and can live up to 20 years in their burrow only coming out to grab passing prey. Young males only leave the burrow in warmer months to find a mate. Funnel Web spiders will hang on and bite multiple times when disturbed or threatened. Funnel Web spiders are considered some of the deadliest in the world in terms of venom toxicity and their strong fangs can penetrate finger nails and shoes.