There’s no doubt that spiders are one of the most common household pests in Australia. While the majority of spiders can’t harm you, there are a few which are toxic and poisonous.

Here’s how to identify 10 household spiders to help you separate the dangerous from the not-so-dangerous. 

household spiders
Photo: Pixabay/DirtyOpi.

1. Funnel Web Spiders

Funnel web spiders are often considered to be one of the most aggressive species of spiders. They are found only in Australia. Both the male and female variants carry the deadly toxins by the name atraxotoxin which can kill human beings. Funnel webs wander in backyards and will sometimes fall into swimming pools. They’re not often encountered but can become aggressive when threatened.

2. Black Widow Spiders

This type of spider is known to cause painful bites and could be fatal especially for children and also the elderly. You can spot a black widow by the coloured, hourglass-shaped mark on its abdomen. In humans, the spider’s bite can produce muscle aches, nausea and paralysis of the diaphragm. Fortunately, fatalities are relatively rare – the spiders are non-aggressive and only bite in self-defense.

3. Redback spiders

One of the more common household spiders around Australia, the redback can be found in many habitats, including urban areas. You’ll find this spider in dry, sheltered places – likely your garden shed, mailbox and under toilet seats. Their venom can affect the nervous system, which is potentially dangerous for humans, but a redback’s fangs are so small, this renders most bites ineffective. No deaths have been reported since redback antivenom first became available in the 1950s.

4. Mouse spider

The mouse spider comes in eight different varieties around Australia and while they’re typically found in burrows, they do pop up in suburban areas from time to time. Their venom is similar to the funnel web; yet no deaths have been attributed to them.

5. White Tail spiders

This species of spider varies around 12 to 20mm in size. The bite of the white tail spider could cause severe nausea and pain accompanied by a burning sensation. In some rare cases, ulceration similar to gangrene can occur.

6. Wolf spiders

Though the wolf spider is known to possess a poisonous bite, it may not be lethal. It is a non-aggressive species of spider but can be easily provoked. It is sized around 15 to 20mm in length and has a grey to brown colour tinge.

7. Black House Spiders

This species of spider can inflict an extremely painful bite, but the bite is not lethal or poisonous. Some people experience heavy sweating, vomiting, muscular pains, giddiness and headaches. The adult of this species is around 15mm in size and they prefer dry habitats.

8. Trap Door Spider

Trap door spiders could be considered as low risk and a non-aggressive category of spiders. The trap door spider is very timid and bites rarely, usually only when cornered or provoked. It could grow up to 35mm in size. It is a ground-dwelling spider and prefers dry locations.

9. Orb-Weaving Spiders

This is another common type of spider which grows to a maximum size of around 30mm while averaging between 20 to 30mm. They are non-aggressive in nature and their bite is considered non-toxic and non-lethal. Symptoms from an orb weaver bite are mild local pain, numbness and swelling.

10. White-tailed spider

Luckily for humans, the white-tailed spider doesn’t offer much danger to us and the symptoms of a bite are limited to mild local pain. The white-tailed spider is a vagrant hunter and will wander about at night, hunting other spiders. They have a reputation for releasing necrotising (flesh-eating) venom, but scientific evidence is yet to support this assertion.