Australian Creepy Crawlies
After travelling around Europe and living overseas I noticed one misconception from people who have never visited Australia. A lot of people are under the assumption that Australia is riddled with creepy crawlies (many thinking I need to shake my shoes everyday). Yes, Australia does have spiders, some very big spiders but living on the Gold Coast in Queensland I very rarely come across them and you will find this in most of the cities such as Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.
So I thought I would put together a little advice on where venomous spiders can commonly be found and how you can prevent a bite or treat one.
Australia has around 2000 species of spiders but there are just two spiders that should be avoided, the Sydney Funnel-web and the Redback because their bites can be painful for some days. Both do have a venomous bite but these days it is very easy to get treated and shouldn’t hurt too much more than a bee sting but see your local GP if you have any concerns. Since the introduction of anti-venom, there have been no recorded deaths in Australia from a confirmed spider bite. But if you feel you have been bitten symptoms can include redness and itching, pain, nausea, sweating, dilated pupils, uncontrollable muscle spasms and unconsciousness.
The Sydney Funnel-web can be found within a 100 km radius of Sydney (hence the name) and along the East Coast they will usually be found in dark and moist places such as under rocks, logs or tree bark. If you are bitten firmly bandage the affected area, splint if possible and lie still, because not moving will help to slow the venom moving through the body, you must also see a doctor immediately.
The Redback spider is not aggressive and mainly nocturnal. It is found throughout Australia but mainly in drier/ warmer areas. Only the females are venomous and are easily recognised by a red stripe on the upper side of her abdomen and an hourglass-shaped red/orange streak on the underside. If in the unfortunate event you are bitten by a Redback do not bandage because pressure will increase pain but apply an icepack and see a doctor immediately.
Most spiders can look scary; a Huntsman is a perfect example of a big harmless spider. A bite at most might cause some swelling and some small pain.
If you are worried some tips would include: always wearing gloves, long trousers and shoes while gardening, wear shoes when walking around outside, don’t leave clothes on the floor for an extended period of time especially outdoors (if you do, shake them). Make sure children do not touch spiders. Also don’t assume that a spider at the bottom of a swimming pool is dead, some spiders can survive on an air bubble for 24 hours or more. If you plan on camping, hiking or going inland through one of the many beautiful Australian national parks, be smart, wear protective footwear and gear and constantly check your clothing after rests or breaks.
So now that you know that spiders aren’t that bad, come visit us down under and enjoy what us locals love about Australia; the sun, surf and beach!
Posted By chantelle on 22nd April 2014
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