Following torrential downpours, in Australia’s south-eastern state, lakhs of spiders wove webs that stretched across trees, signage, and pastureland, producing massive “gossamer” sheets. Days of heavy rain in the state’s Gippsland area have prompted spiders to employ a survival strategy known as “ballooning,” wherein the spiders release silk that hooks on to plants and allows them to escape. The webbing has been characterised as a single sheet swarming with tiny spiders and blowing like a wave. Read on to learn more about this dangerous ground-dwelling critter that bites humans and causes property damage in Australia every year, thereby initiating Australia spider season.
The primary reason behind Australia spider season
Last week, some of the Australian cities were hit by severe rains and high winds, resulting in flash floods and significant property damage. As a result, ground-dwelling spiders began to toss strands to adjacent trees in an attempt to get off the ground as quickly as possible. Thousands of spiders worked together to create “gossamer” sheets that covered the marshes between Sale and Langford, which are about 8 kilometres apart. A spider web stretched for more than a kilometre along a road in Gippsland.
This natural calamity is most common in Victoria during the cold season when the state gets the majority of its rainfall. Whenever it happens, spiders, that can generate a broad range of silks, create a thin, fragile web that enables spiders to fly away with the wind, often up to 100 kilometres distant. Because the spiders’ ballooning silk is massless, it clings to surfaces like tops of trees, grass, and roads, helping them to climb higher. The spiders that weave these webs are known as “vagrant hunters,” as they usually reside on the ground and do not weave webs. Even after a deluge, each spider just produces one thread, implying that each line in the huge web blanket was created by a distinct bug, with a total number in the millions.
Is Australia spider dangerous?
In Australia, there are approximately 2000 different spider species, although only a small percentage of them are detrimental to human health. Venom glands are found in all spiders, but only a few species have fangs big enough to pierce the skin and produce an allergic reaction. In 2016, Australia’s first death from a spider bite was documented after the 1981 incident. However, redback spiders bite about 2000 people per year, and funnel-web spider anti-venom has been administered to at least 100 patients since it was first created in 1980.
Common species found during the Australia spider season
These black and red, and occasionally orange spiders, which are related to North American widow spiders. During the Australian spider season, they like to hide from the world in dark, secluded places such as letterboxes, beneath cliffs, garden furniture, and other hidey locations, frequently adorned with sticky untidy webs.
The most famous eight-legged creatures of Australia sider season are funnel webs and redbacks. They don’t like the light and will hide in places like shoes and clothes, or a little web-lined tunnel if they’re outside. If disturbed, they can turn hostile, striking in the swing with their front legs mostly in the rise and huge teeth on display. Funnel-web spider habitation is predominantly found along Australia’s east coast, with summertime being the greatest active season for them. These spiders are occasionally spotted in swimming pools.
White-tailed spiders, like other species, prefer to conceal and are most visible at night while they search for food. During wet weather, you’ll often find them crawling out of their hiding places and into homes, looking for protection from the rain. They are grey to black in appearance and have a whitish tip on their belly, so the name “white tailed.” They may be found all throughout Australia.
Humans are not killed by Australian Tarantulas though their bite may feel like a dog’s bite pain. Their huge fangs, on the other hand, may produce severe bites. However, side symptoms like vomiting and fever are quite rare. Queensland, South Wales, western and southern Australia are home to Australian Tarantulas. Some species can be found all the way down to Victoria during the Australia spider season.
These creatures are found all throughout Australia and aren’t hazardous to people; they’re simply incredibly quick and have a habit of jumping. The spider has the image of being frightening since they may grow huge, have lengthy legs, and are fairly hairy. However, they are the most effective pest control, so if you have one hanging about your place or wherever you are, keep it there to eat bugs. They like to hide behind the bark of trees, wood, and boulders.
Mouse spiders come in eight different species, all of which may be found in and around Australia. However, there has only been one incidence of severe envenomation documented. Because the two bites are identical and are handled with comparable caution, Funnel-Web spider anti-venom has been proven to be effective on Mouse spider bites. They are normally found in burrows, near rivers, and on rare occasions in residential settings.
Trap Door Spiders
Only mild symptoms, such as acute discomfort, are caused by trap door spiders. Their venom, on the other hand, can occasionally produce nausea, tiredness, and fatigue. Trap Door spider bites are nearly identical to Funnel-Web spider bites and should be handled with caution. Trap Door spiders may be found in both urban and agricultural settings in Australia.
Does Australia spider season see a bird-eating spider?
Large spiders belonging to the Theraphosidae family are sometimes referred to as “bird-eating spiders.” Tarantulas are another name for these spiders. The whistling spiders represent the theraphosids in Australia. Although these ground-dwelling spiders are large enough to devour tiny frogs and snakes, they are not known to feed on birds. Barking spiders are another name for them.
How many spider bites occur in the Australia spider season each year?
Since 1979, no one has died in Australia during the Australia spider season as a result of a verified spider bite. In 1956, a successful antivenom for Redback Spiders was produced, and in 1980, one for funnel-web spiders. These are the only two spiders that have ever killed anyone in Australia. Every year, over 2000 individuals are bitten by Redback Spiders. Since 1980, at least 100 individuals have received funnel-web spider antivenom. Antivenom is only administered if there are symptoms of severe envenomation. Most spider bites are ‘blank,’ meaning there is no venom injected.
Spider bite prevention during Australia spider season
- Always give your shoes a good shake before slipping them up, especially if you’ve had shoes outdoors.
- When you’re outside and at night, avoid leaving towels or cloths on the ground and wear shoes.
- Check your mattress to see whether the spider is on or near the ground.
- If you see a spider in a swimming pool, don’t assume it’s dead. Some spiders may live for hours on the air bubbles connected to their leg hairs.
First aid for spider bites
Knowing how to recognise hazardous Australian spiders and their habits will help you prevent damage during the Australia spider season, but you need also to know what to do if you are bitten by one of these animals. The following material is useful, but it should not be construed as health advice. A bite from one of these venomous spiders needs immediate medical treatment. Please contact the nearest emergency room or hospital as soon as possible.