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What Are the Statistics of Spider Bite Related Deaths in Australia?

Australia is known to have the biggest, scariest, and most venomous spiders globally. There are an estimated 10,000 species of spiders in the country alone, including the world’s deadliest ones. But do you know how many people die of spider bites in Australia?

Due to the development of anti-venoms, there have not been any recorded deaths related to spider bites in Australia since 1981. However, they do have the deadliest species of spiders like the Funnelweb and Redback.

Spiders are Less Dangerous

In spite of being home to some fascinating species of spiders, Australia is pretty much like any other place. However, spiders are commonly found in and out of the home. (Source: World Nomads)

These arachnids tend to incite fear in most people and sometimes evoke phobias in a few. But despite Australia’s infamy of spider infestation and having the most venomous species in the world, their spider reputation is somewhat exaggerated. According to an arachnid researcher from Macquarie University, Dr. Aaron Harmer, spiders are not technically that dangerous from a human perspective. (Source: Australian Geographic)

Even if most spiders can bite, they are pretty harmless unless provoked. In fact, bee stings tend to be more troublesome than spider bites. Dr. Geoff Isbister, a researcher, specializing in envenoming at the University of Newcastle, stated that more deaths are related to allergic reactions from bee stings than spider bites.

Isbister emphasized that humans have an irrational fear of spiders. As an example, he said that about a thousand people die in car crashes each year. Compared to the most recent spider bite case recorded in 1979. Statistics alone speak volumes. 

Spider venom contains several chemicals, with some that are harmful to humans. The toxin is designed for small prey and delivered in small quantities. It may be fatal to small animals, but their immune system seems to have developed antibodies to combat the venom when tested with larger animals like a horse.

There have not been any deaths in Australia from a confirmed spider bite since 1979. Anti-venoms for the two of the most venomous spiders in the country are readily available. Anti-venom for Redback spiders was developed and introduced in 1956, while Funnelweb spiders were made public in 1980. (Source: Australian Museum)

As statistics show, there are approximately 2,000 Australians who have been bitten by Redback spiders each year, and only 100 doses of Funnelweb spider anti-venom have been given to patients since 1980.

A spider bite is only considered a medical emergency if severe signs of envenomation are observed spider bites are considered blank. No venom is expelled into the human.

Most Dangerous Australian Spiders

As Australia is known to be home to thousands of spiders, the below are considered the most dangerous and should be looked out for. (Source: Australian Geographic)

  • Sydney Funnel-Web – these spiders are usually found in New South Wales and are on average only about 1.5 to 3.5 centimeters big. This spider possesses the most toxic venom and delivers it with big fangs more prominent than a brown snake’s fangs.
  • Redback – these spiders are commonly found all across Australia and usually hide in dry, sheltered places like garden sheds, mailboxes, and toilet seats. This spider is easily recognized due to the red stripe on its back. Their venom affects the nervous system, but their fangs are too small to puncture the skin.
  • Mouse Spider – these spiders are also found all over Australia, but as opposed to the Redback, it is usually found in burrows near bodies of water. This type of spider is generally lethargic and hardly aggressive, but its venom is similar to the Funnel-web spiders.

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