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10 Spiders Found in Australia

Oliver Jones

If you came to this guide looking for every spider species in Australia, you’re out of luck. That’s because in Australia, there are over 10,000 different spider species, and it would take a full book to highlight them all!

But considering that only a handful of these spiders are harmful to humans, we decided to narrow down the selection here to the most common, most dangerous, and largest spiders that you can find in Australia.

If you’re an arachnophobe, this is a list that you might want to avoid because Australia has some truly massive spiders!new spider divider

10 Spiders Found in Australia

1. White-Tailed Spider

Species: Lampona cylindrata
Longevity: 1 to 20 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1 inch
Diet: Arachnids

Spiders aren’t supposed to have tails, but that’s exactly what it looks like the white-tailed spider has, with a small protrusion on their abdomen. They are native to southern and eastern Australia, but they don’t pack a ton of venom.

If you get bit by one, you’ll likely experience localized swelling, and that’s about it. What’s interesting about these spiders is that they hunt down other arachnids for food. So, while you can keep one as a pet, feeding it can turn into a bit of a challenge.


2. Black House Spider

Species: Badumna insignis
Longevity: 2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.5 to 0.75 inches
Diet: Insects

While Australia is known for all their spiders, it’s interesting that one of the most prevalent spiders in the country is actually an invasive species. Europeans brought over black house spiders long ago, and now you can find them in every corner of Australia.

These smaller spiders are not aggressive and rarely bite, and they’re quite common. They have an average lifespan of 2 years, although it depends on where they’re living.

These are web spiders that feed primarily on insects.


3. Huntsman Spider

Species: Heteropoda maxima
Longevity: 2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 12 inches
Diet: Insects, arthropods, lizards, and frogs

If there’s a spider that you would only think of in your wildest nightmares, it would probably look a bit like the huntsman spider. These spiders can routinely reach 12 inches in size or larger and are lightning-fast.

They hunt down insects, arthropods, lizards, and frogs for food, but they also occasionally capture and eat mice, birds, and other small mammals.

But while these are massive and terrifying spiders, they tend to leave humans alone and have a shorter lifespan of around 2 years. Still, it’s not a spider that you want to see roaming your kitchen at night.


4. Queensland Whistling Tarantula

Species: Selenocosmia crassipes
Longevity: 8 years for males and 30 years for females
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 8.5 inches
Diet: Insects, lizards, frogs, and other spiders

Not only does Australia have some of the largest and most venomous spiders in the world, but it also has spiders that scream at you. The Queensland whistling tarantula has a leg span of 8.5 inches and a body that stretches up to 3.5 inches.

When provoked, they produce a hissing noise, which is how they got their name. If this spider also sinks their fangs into you, then you’ll have more than just a sharp pain to deal with.

While not fatal to humans, their venom can cause up to 6 hours of vomiting, and it can kill dogs and cats in just 30 minutes.

So, while you can keep a Queensland whistling tarantula as a pet, you need to be extremely careful with them around both you and other pets.

Related Read: Do Tarantulas Make Good Pets? What You Need To Know!


5. Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

Sydney Funnel-Web Spider
Image Credit: James van den Broek, Shutterstock
Species: Atrax robustus
Longevity: 1 to 2 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.1 to 0.2 inches
Diet: Beetles, cockroaches, insect larvae, snails, millipedes, and small vertebrates

If you’re looking for the most poisonous spiders in the world, the Sydney funnel-web spider is going to make that list every time. While the bite of a Sydney funnel-web spider is rarely fatal, you want to seek out medical help as soon as possible.

Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, sweating, and tingling sensations around the lips. However, those are all mild responses. In severe cases, fluid can fill around the lungs and lead to unconsciousness or even death.

These spiders are much smaller than many other spiders that you’ll come across in Australia, but it’s this tiny spider that should worry you the most.


6. Redback Spider

Species: Latrodectus hasselti
Longevity: 2 to 3 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.5 inches
Diet: Small insects

Most Americans haven’t heard of the redback spider, but they have heard of their almost genetically identical cousin, the black widow.

The redback spider has a red marking along their rear dorsal, and this is about the only difference between a black widow and a redback spider.

Every year, more than 250 people need a redback spider antivenom, but these are rare cases. Typical redback spider bites will cause nausea, vomiting, and localized pain and swelling but don’t require medical attention.


7. Mouse Spider

Species: Missulena
Longevity: 2 to 6 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.4 to 1.2 inches
Diet: Small insects

The mouse spider is a potentially dangerous spider that you can run into in Australia. But while these are extremely aggressive toward other animals, they tend to leave humans alone.

However, if they do decide to bite, they can leave deep and painful gashes. Often, these spiders won’t inject any venom when they bite humans, but when they do, it can cause a severe illness and require medical attention.

Typically, the mouse spider only eats small insects, but they can get up to 1.2 inches in length, and in America, that’s no small spider.


8. Trap Door Spiders

Species: Ctenizidae
Longevity: 5 to 20 years
Good to own as a pet?: Yes
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1 inch
Diet: Insects, frogs, baby snakes, mice, and fish

A large spider that you can find in Australia is the trap door spider. They don’t want to interact with humans and are extremely timid and not aggressive. However, if you provoke them, they can bite and it can be painful. They have small amounts of venom that isn’t dangerous to humans, although it can cause localized swelling.

Considering their long lifespan, timid nature, and low toxicity, there are worse choices than the trap door spider if you’re looking for a pet spider. Just keep in mind that tracking down appropriate foods for a trap door spider can be a little challenging.

Related Read: How Do Spiders Find and Communicate with Each Other?


9. Garden Orb-Weaving Spider

Species: Araneidae
Longevity: 1 year
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 0.75 to 1.25 inches
Diet: Small insects

A spider that you can find around homes and gardens in Australia is the garden orb-weaving spider. These spiders are not aggressive and typically leave humans alone.

They rarely bite, but even if they do, they carry such low amounts of venom that they don’t pose a threat to humans. However, they can reach a size of over 1.25 inches, which makes them a relatively large spider in Australia.

They thrive on insects, which makes them a great way to reduce pests in and around your garden throughout the year. If you can handle spiders hanging around, the garden orb-weaving spider has positive effects.


10. Daddy Longlegs Spider

Species: Pholcus phalangioides
Longevity: 1 to 3 years
Good to own as a pet?: No
Legal to own?: Yes
Adult size: 1 inch
Diet: Small insects

These spiders are extremely prevalent throughout Australia, and while they can have a leg span that exceeds 1 inch, their bodies are extremely small.

While there are tons of tall tales surrounding the daddy longlegs, these spiders contain no venom, although they could theoretically bite humans. These spiders are docile and harmless, even though their larger legs can freak out arachnophobes.new spider divider

Conclusion

There are few places in the world with more spiders than Australia. With over 10,000 spider species in the country, it’s not easy to narrow it down to only 10.

So, the next time that you’re in Australia, don’t be surprised if you come across more than a few different spiders that didn’t make this list. Also, keep in mind that most spiders in Australia are timid and help keep other insect populations at bay.

While arachnophobia is a real concern, spiders typically do more to help us than hurt us.


Featured Image Credit: krzysztofniewolny, Pixabay

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.