Click here for main page content Click here for main blog navigation Click here for competiton link Click here to search the blog Click here to sign up the newsletter Click here for blog information Click here for the main sta travel website links Click here for the main sta travel website lrgal information

STA Travel Blog

What Should You Do If A Redback Spider Bites You?

The most realistic answer to this question might be scream, cry, freeze or maybe even kiss your a** goodbye. But wait, don’t panic! Things actually may not be that serious.

The chances of getting bitten by a Redback are probably something like 1 in 10 million (ok, so I totally made that figure up – but I doubt I’m that far out). It’s not as if there’s a whole host mutant spiders in Australia aggressively searching for travellers to sink their teeth into (we promise), but it is a possibility that you might come into contact with a few less than desirable creepy crawlies while you’re roaming about down under.

So, I’ve grilled an expert on all things travel heath, to give us all the low down on what to do if you do get bitten by a Redback spider. Say hi to Jason, a pharmacist from Nomad Travel.

Image by vagawi

Where in the world might you find red back spiders?

Red back spiders are otherwise known as black widow spiders and various species are found across the globe, although Redbacks are particular to Australia. They would be found in small bushes, rocky areas and anywhere that its main food sources (insects) will be found in large numbers.

Where could you come across them in our daily (Aus based) lives?

They tend to build their webs close to the ground, usually in quite well protected areas such as under floorboards, between boxes, in piles of rubbish.

Go Up

Check your shoes before you but them on to make sure you don’t get a nasty surprise! Image by mhillier

Can they jump?!

They can’t jump, but freshly hatched spiders will climb to a high point and parachute on silk to a new home.

Nice. How quickly should you seek help if you get bitten?

If a bite from one is suspected medical attention should be sought as soon as possible as symptoms can begin to appear within the hour

Can a bite kill a person? How quickly?!

It is very rarely fatal with mainly quite mild symptoms, though individuals with pre-existing medical conditions, the elderly and the young are at greatest risk

What treatment would you receive after being bitten?

Treatment will depend on the severity of the bite and the response of the individual, but treatment will usually revolve around pain relief and management. Antivenom is not usually required and will only be used under hospital conditions when appropriate. Other treatments may be required for muscle cramps, high blood pressure and in the most very severe cases respiratory or cardiac support may be required

What can you do to avoid being bitten?

Take care when moving boxes or stones etc, check your shoes for spiders, check the toilet, as webs are often made under the toilet seat. If you are clearing a garage or something similar, wear heavy gloves and cover up. They will only bite when threatened or when on clothes and pressed or squashed so watch what you’re doing!

Phew ok, so a bite is definitely undesirable but not an 8 Legged Freaks style catastrophe. Maybe the boiler suit and goggles I bought for visitig the toilet is a bit much? Anyone ever been bitten by a Redback? (or any spider) I’d love to hear your stories! Post the deets below.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Showing 5 Comments

  1. Richard Porter

    I lived in Sydney for many years and visit regularly. On the patio of my house was a colony of red backs, I didn’t disturb them and they didn’t disturb me.

    A Red Back bites very slowly and you will know immediately and will just be able to brush it off leaving nothing worse than a bee sting. I believe that it has to bite for 15 to 20 minutes to make a bite that you need to worry about.

    They are more likely to run away than attack.

    In my view there is nothing to fear.

    1945 days ago
    • i completely agree. i grew up in sydney and was a bush kid at heart poking sticks into holes and bringing home spiders in my pockets on a daliy basic. due to this i was bitten several times by red backs and never once had to seek medical attention. slight swelling, pain and discomfort was all that i suffered. unless you have a pre-existing medical conditions, are elderly or young then you’ve very little to worry about. if bitten though i would still recommend that you always seek medical attention.

      1942 days ago
  2. Charlotte

    Interesting and usefull article.
    We have ‘false’ widdow spidders in UK now. If not the same they are similar to the Red Backs in Aus, bearing the same red stripe and a nasty bite if threatened. There have been more sightings than bittings though. Although some adults over here have reacted quite badley to the bite, they made recovery.

    1941 days ago
  3. lizz

    I live near perth, WA and we have them under the outdoor table every year until we brush them away again. They are not aggressive and try really really hard to stay out of your way. I dont worry about them at all, infact I quite like them really. The kids are aware not to touch or torment them (yes, Harry even with sticks!) other than that I would be far more concerned about a wasp.

    1941 days ago
  4. Anna

    I’m 21, born and bred in Sydney! A few years ago I was cleaning up my patio and something fell on my head, I looked up and in my garden tree there was about 50 red backs. I hate spiders, I mean I don’t dislike them, I HATE THEM; but as long as I leave them alone they leave me alone. (The one that fell on my head is an exception but it didn’t bite me.)

    1710 days ago