A List of Australia’s Deadliest Spider Bites
Australia is notorious for having some pretty deadly animals - including spiders! But exactly how many do we really have roaming around our country? Here is a list of Australia’s deadliest spider bites.
Are Australia’s spider bites really deadly?
Short answer: yes, Australia has a list of deadly spiders. The Sydney funnel-web spider is the most toxic spider in Australia- and holds a position as one of, if not the most toxic in the world.
- Australia has two of the world's deadliest spiders: The Sydney funnel web and the redback spider. We also have quite a few other deadly spiders in the country, even if they don’t make the global list.
- Fortunately, there is a remedy for spider bites from both the spiders. No fatalities have occurred for a long time. Anti-venom has been proven very effective.
What Australian Spider has the Deadliest Bite?
We have quite a few dangerous spiders roaming our wide land, but let’s just cut to the chase.
Which spider is the deadliest?
Well, you may be quite familiar with the name - the funnel-web species are a highly common Australian spider, and amongst the most toxic spiders in the world.
There are quite a few species of funnel-webs, but the deadliest spider in Australia and potentially the world is the “Sydney funnel-web” spider.
While prevalent in Sydney of course, this spider is found in NSW in both forests and highly populated areas.
Let’s take a look at the features of this spider!
- The Sydney funnel-web is quite small considering the power it holds!
- Funnel-webs are a common species, with many different types around Australia.
- One of the most notable features of the Sydney funnel web spider is the enormous and powerful fangs.
Measuring a mere 1.5-3.5cm in length, they can be present in the backyard or forestry areas.
Some of them are quite toxic, but the Sydney species is the most venomous of them all.
However, a couple of funnel-web species are right behind - taking the places immediately below the Sydney funnel-web and the redback spider.
So overall, in the list of Australia’s deadliest spiders we can say it is centralised to the funnel-web species in general as well, because they can be highly toxic in general.
The fangs of the spider are so powerful they are capable of piercing through fingernails.
They can be quite spectacular if the spider is triggered - at sign of danger they may become quite aggressive.
For the most part, spiders will leave you alone if they do not feel that they are under any threat.
If the spiders choose to defend themselves, they may rear up their large fangs.
The other toxic types of funnel-web spiders.
As mentioned, honourable mentions goes to the northern tree funnel-web spider and the southern tree funnel-web spider.
How Many of the World's Deadliest Spiders are in Australia?
Well, you may be relatively unsurprised by the answer.
The funnel web spider and notorious species we previously discussed has the privilege of taking not just one, but two trophies.
Not only is it effectively the deadliest spider in the world, it is also the fastest killer.
It takes a mere 15 minutes for a funnel web spider to kill a human being.
The venom responsible for the deadly effects is known as “atracotoxin”.
It has potent effects upon the nervous system, basically causing the relaxation system in the body to cease function.
This results in the constant activation of the nerves, which repeatedly begin to fire (also known as fibrillation).
This causes a number of symptoms, including:
- Increased heart rate
- Numbing of the mouth
- Raised blood pressure
- Breathing difficulties
- Lastly, if antivenom is not administered it can result in a rapid death.
The most dangerous part of the body to be bitten is the stomach/torso area.
A tourniquet is not able to be applied to this area.
Fortunately, we discuss below why this luckily has not been the case the vast majority of the time.
Is There a Remedy for the Deadliest Australian Spider Bite?
Thankfully; one of the most important things to note before panicking over the Australian environment and hiding away, is how rare a fatality is as a result of a spider bite.
We can attribute this to the successful creation of “antivenom”.
Yes, the good news is that includes BOTH of these top 2 deadly Australian spiders.
An antivenom (in other words, antidote) was successfully created for both of these spider bites.
The antivenom for the funnel-web spider was invented in 1981.
30 to 40 people are bitten every year.
Amazingly, since the creation there have been no fatalities as a result of a bite.
Severe reactions occur in approximately every one in six bites. Prior to that however, 13 funnel-web fatalities had occurred.
This was essentially what led to the development of the antidote and the research that backed it.
Prompt administration of the antivenom means that the odds of death are low, and outcomes are significantly less dangerous than in the past.
Redback spider antivenom has been available since the 1950s.
The even better news is that it is highly effective.
Fortunately, no deaths have occurred since then either.
An average of about 2000 redback bites occur each year. Out of these, only about 250 people receive antivenom.
And lastly, in terms of overall spider deaths - we have not had any bite related deaths in Australia since 1981, aside from one case in 2016.
What should I do if I am bitten by a spider?
As mentioned, thanks to the creation of antivenom the odds of death as a result of the spider bites are quite low.
However, this is only the case if antivenom is promptly administered.
You should ring for an ambulance immediately and seek medical attention to be given the antidote as soon as possible.
Prevention is also better than cure, so it is best to be very careful and vigilant about spiders - especially ones that could be hidden in tucked away areas like the redback.
When is antivenom necessary?
Antivenom is only administered in cases of severe envenomation.
It will most likely be determined upon medical examination and overviewing of symptoms if it is necessary.
It is rare for it to be necessary to administer antivenom.
Australia does boast a pretty decent collection of deadly spiders.
In this article we covered a list of Australia’s deadliest spider bites.
As mentioned, we hold a 2 seated global position on the list of the deadliest spiders: the redback and the Sydney funnel web.
The fortunate invention of antivenom means that despite the toxicity, deaths as a result of the spiders are very low and unlikely.
Make sure to take preventative strategies to avoid being bitten entirely.
Keep an eye on areas in your backyard and check before you touch anything (especially items or areas where spiders could be hidden).