Are White Tailed Spider Bites Harmful

White-tailed spiders are native to eastern and southern Australia. In most cases, a white-tailed spider bite only causes a mild reaction, including itching and redness. However, occasionally, a bite may blister and cause ulceration, a more serious condition known as necrotizing arachnidism.

These are large spiders, with a body up to 18 mm long, and a leg-span of 28 mm. The females are larger than males. The spider is a dark grey or greyish brown in colour, with lighter, glossy brown legs. They are named for the creamy, white tips on the end of their long, shiny, cylindrical-shaped abdomens.

White-tailed spiders are what are known as “vagrant hunters.” These spiders do not spin webs, but rather, ambush and sting their prey with venom. In nature, white-tailed spiders hide under rocks, logs, and leaf litter. However, if these spiders get inside your home, they like to hide under clothing or towels left on the floor, inside your shoes, in bedding, or any little crevice. Also, these spiders are most active at night. Since the white-tailed spider does not spin a web, but rather hides and only hunts at night, you may not realize this aggressive spider is hiding in your home.

How Dangerous are White-Tailed Spiders?

Compared to the funnel-web spider or the redback spider, the white-tailed spider is not that dangerous. In most cases, a long-lasting, painful, itchy bite is the worst most people will experience. In fact, the itchiness and redness can last for weeks. Moreover, some people may react to a white-tailed spider bite with nausea and vomiting. Most bites occur indoors, at night during the warmer months. However, in rare cases, the bite can become infected, and in even rarer cases, progress to necrosis.

Necrotising Arachnidism

Necrosis is when the skin cells begin to die; gangrene is a form of necrosis. Necrotizing arachnidism is a type of necrosis caused by a spider bite, and the first signs of necrotizing arachnidism are skin inflammation and ulceration. The white-tailed spider has been linked to necrotizing arachnidism. Sometimes, the necrosis is so severe that large areas of skin are lost, and skin grafts are necessary. Unfortunately, necrosis can spread well beyond the bite and it can be fatal . If you are bitten by a white-tailed spider, apply an icepack to reduce the swelling and if it worsens, seek medical help.

The female white-tailed spider lays around 50-100 eggs enclosed in a silken sack. The female spider guards the eggs until the baby spiders hatch. Once hatched, the baby spiders immediately go out into the world to hunt their first meal. Unfortunately, if a female white-tailed spider has laid eggs inside your house, and they hatched, you could have 100 white-tails creeping around inside your home.

White-tailed spiders primarily eat other spiders; their favourite prey is the common black house spider. They also like the brown house spider. However, they could attack and eat any type of insect within their reach.

What To Do If You Find a White-Tailed Spider

The first thing you can do is simply stepping on it. Also, kill any of the spiders they might feed on, and clear away any house spider webs. A single white-tail spider is simple to get rid of. Also, if you find a female white-tail guarding her nest, you’ll have to destroy the egg sac, and any unhatched baby spiderlings. However, if you find an empty egg sac, you could have a very serious problem. In any case,  if you suspect an infestation of white-tailed spiders, you must call a pest control expert immediately, for the safety of yourself and your family.


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