In Australia the only spiders to cause harm to humans are the Red Back Spider and the Funnel Web Spider.

Red Back spider

The red back spider is found throughout Australia. The female red back spider has a red or orange stripe on its back while the male is very small, usually with no stripe. A red back spider bite may result in pain and redness at the bite site, and occasionally symptoms in other parts of the body (e.g. chest pain, leg sweating, headache). Red back spider bites are NOT life-threatening. Routine use of antivenom is no longer recommended as recent trials show antivenom has a low response rate little better than placebo, and any effect is less than might be achieved with standard pain relief. - More Information

First Aid:

  • Wash the area and keep it clean
  • Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26 
  • If symptoms are severe, go to the nearest hospital
  • It is usually not necessary to call an ambulance
  • Do NOT apply a pressure immobilisation bandage

Funnel Web spider

This spider is large and black. A bite from this spider can be life-threatening. A bite will usually cause severe pain, sweating, vomiting, difficulty breathing and muscle twitching.

First Aid:

  • Remove the patient from danger
  • Keep the patient still
  • Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage around the bite and then bandage the entire limb
  • Call an ambulance (000) to take the person to the nearest hospital

Note: White-tail spiders are not venomous to humans and do NOT cause skin ulcers or necrotic arachnidism - More information