The Red Back Spider

There is lots of talk about the red back spider and how deadly it is. Yet, there have been no fatalities from this spider in the last 50 years. It is the Funnel Web Spider that has caused more deaths.

Still, these small spiders deserve the utmost respect and you should definitely try to avoid them at all costs.

Red Back Spider Facts

Found throughout Australia this is another of the nasty spider variety.

It is the female spider that has the red markings on its back and the one most likely to bite you. The male variety has no red markings on its back. It can give you a bite but is likely just to cause a little swelling and localised pain.

The female has a round body, about the size of a pea. It is a deep black (although sometimes more brown) and usually has a distinct red or orange stripe on its back or “Abdomen” Underneath there is also usually an orange or red spot.

They can eat crickets and small lizards as well as an array of insects. The females live up to about the age of 2 with the males dying after about 7 months. This is because the female eats the male after mating!

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Where To Find Red Backs In Australia

They can live anywhere in Australia and their webs are generally found built in dry, sheltered sites, such as among rocks, in logs, shrubs, old tyres, sheds, outhouses, children's toys or under rubbish or litter.

Basically they could be anywhere!

Number of Reported Red Back Bites

There are probably about 2,500 cases a year of bites from these spiders in Australia with numbers peaking over the summer months.

Out of all of these bites only about 250 needed anti venom and in the last 50 years there have been no fatalities.

Symptoms Of Their Bite

You have enough time to get to the hospital if you are bitten by a red back spider. It takes about 3 hours before the symptoms start to kick in but this seems to vary by victim with some taking 3 weeks to feel any impact.

Pain starts around the bite and then spreads to affect the entire limb. Goose bumps and excessive sweating can also be symptoms of a red back spider bite leading to vomiting and hypertension.

First Aid: How To Treat A Red Back Bite

Firstly call the hospital (000) and get there as soon as you can in case you need anti venom. They are likely to keep you in an observation ward for 6 hours to see how serious the bite is and whether anti venom is required.

Unlike a bite from the funnel web spider, you don’t want to put a tight bandage over the wound as this will merely aggregate the pain. Instead you want to treat with ice packs.

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