Spiders – meet your housemates!

These are some of the spiders that share our Melbourne homes and backyards.

Badge Huntsman Spider

The beautifully marked Badge Huntsman is active at night and occasionally comes into houses. Outside, it hunts slaters and other insects on the trunks of trees or in foliage. It hides under bark during the day.

Badge Huntsman Spider, Neosparassus sp.

Badge Huntsman Spider, Neosparassus.sp.
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

Daddy Long-legs Spider

Daddy Long-legs Spiders are probably the most common spider found indoors. They make their webs behind doors, around furniture, in garages and sheds and in the corners of ceilings. They feed on small insects, silverfish and other spiders.

Daddy Long-legs Spider, Pholcus phalangioides

Daddy Long-legs Spider, Pholcus phalangioides
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

Social (Flat) Huntsman Spider

This is the largest of the Huntsman spiders and is commonly found under the bark of trees in the company of several other adults and immature spiders. It eats insects and other invertebrates.

Social (flat) Huntsman Spider, Delena cancerides

Social (flat) Huntsman Spider, Delena cancerides
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spiders are the large, hairy spiders often found inside homes. Although they are the spiders of nightmares and provoke the loudest screams, Huntsman Spiders are actually timid and relatively harmless. They eat insects and other spiders.

Huntsman Spider, Holconia sp.

Huntsman Spider, Holconia sp.
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

Brown House Spider

The Brown House Spider has a similar body shape and web to the Red-back Spider, but lacks the Red-back’s distinctive red stripe. It is often found indoors and prefers dark places such as in cupboards or under furniture.

Brown House Spider, Steatoda grossa

Brown House Spider, Steatoda grossa
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

White-tailed Spider

White-tailed Spiders are frequent visitors to our homes, particularly our bedrooms. They are nocturnal hunters and feed mainly on other spiders, especially Black House Spiders.

White-tailed Spider, Lampona cylindrata

White-tailed Spider, Lampona cylindrata
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

Black House Spider

Black House Spiders make distinctive lacy webs with several funnel-shaped entrances.  Webs are common in the corners of window frames and on paling fences. These timid spiders appear only when prey is caught in their web.

Black House Spider, Badumna insignis

Black House Spider, Badumna insignis
Photograph: Alan Henderson,  Museum Victoria

Wolf Spider

Wolf Spiders are ground-dwelling hunters. The female carries her egg sac underneath her abdomen until the spiderlings hatch. The spiderlings then ride on their mother’s back for several weeks. This behaviour occurs also in scorpions.

Wolf Spider, Lycosa godeffroyi

Wolf Spider, Lycosa godeffroyi
Photographer: Alan Henderson / Source: Museum Victoria

Further Reading

Walker, K. L., Yen, A. L. & Milledge, G. A. 2003. Spiders and Scorpions commonly found in Victoria. The Royal Society of Victoria.

Comments (165)

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Morgan 20 May, 2009 17:49
I was out looking for social huntsmans today and I found half a dozen of these under the bark of trees. Some of them had young of about 1/3 adult size. A nice-looking species.
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Matt Mahoney 17 October, 2009 14:24
Hi there! I saw a spider outside our house today, and wasn't sure what sort it was. Was hoping you might be able to help me. It was light brown, about the size of a 20c coin. It kept it's back legs together in pairs, making it look a bit like a small stick. It was definitly alive, but when I tried to push it a little, it made no movement. We found it inside an empty flower pot outside. Hope that helps! Thanks very much. Matt Mahoney
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Discovery Centre 9 November, 2009 17:53

Hi Matt,

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you; as you probably know there are many different species of spider and it is hard to identify them from a description alone. If the spider is still there and you can safely do so please feel free to take a photo of the spider and e-mail it to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we will try and identify the spider for you.

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malita 21 November, 2009 20:03
my son was bitten on the hand last night so i searched his room and found what i think is a sac spider in the top corner above his bed, where the bite is on his hnd it has become red and pussy looking he tells me its not sore but he is 2 so i can only believe so much, can the bite get worse??
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Discovery Centre 23 November, 2009 10:47

Hi Malita,

Unfortunately we cannot provide medical advice on your son's possible bite as we haven't seen and identified the spider; and people can react in different ways to a spider bite, (if that is what has caused the problem). I recommend that you take your son to a doctor and have them take a look at the injury.

All the best with your son.

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Teresa 1 December, 2009 04:50
Hi. Your Tarantula webcam is awsome! It would be cool if u could put more webcams up!
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Discovery centre 2 December, 2009 10:51

Hi Teresa,

We are glad you like the tarantula webcam, our Live Exhibits Department are in the process of setting up Bower-cam; a webcam in the Forest Gallery which will be focussed on the bower of our male Satin Bowerbird. They are also looking into the possibility of having some other invertebrate cameras operating in the back of house areas.

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Janine 16 January, 2010 00:17
Hi there, we've just found quite a large spider with distinctive black and white striped legs - very zebra-like- in our home in inner city Melbourne. Any ideas as to what it might have been and whether or not it is venemous? It was more a mottled black/ grey but definitely white as well.
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Discovery Centre 18 January, 2010 16:11

Hi Janine, Museum Victoria has a free identification service but in order for the Entomologist to provide an accurate identification, an image or the specimen is required. You can find all of the details for identifications here: http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/ask-us-a-question/identifications/identification-guidelines-/

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colin 24 February, 2010 21:23
Hi, was after some advice. I have a spider roughly the size of a normal house huntsman. It has a large white stripe down its body. The stripe is roughly 2mm thick. Just curious as to what kind of spider it is. Great website aswell.
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Ashley 17 March, 2010 14:11
Hi, I have pet huntsman I give it crickets that I find in the area where I found it, but it will only eat about 1 or 2 a month is there something wrong thx
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Discovery Centre 18 March, 2010 10:42

Hi Ashley,

Huntsman spiders will feed on a wide variety of insects including cockroaches, moths and beetles. They will basically feed upon anything they can overpower quickly and easily. If you are going to catch food for it avoid any stinging or biting insects such as wasps and ants.

As for the rate of feeding, most will feed a little more often than once or twice a month, but they can certainly survive on that rate. Young huntsman will usually feed as often as they can.  It’s hard to say why yours would only want to feed that often – there are a couple of possibilities that spring to mind. Adult males typically don’t feed much, and elderly huntsmen begin to lose their appetites as they near the end of their lives.

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Neil 25 March, 2010 22:43
Saw what looked like a black house spider hanging from a down-pipe on its thread tonight - but it had 2 white dots about 1/3 of the way up the (thorax) body. Not a white tail - kept climbing up and down its thread. Any thoughts?? (I killed it :( as not sure if it was about to pop lots of little spiders around the house, may have been pregnant from the size of the belly)
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Discovery Centre 27 March, 2010 16:17

Hi Neil,

if you can obtain an image of the spider and e-mail it to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au we will try and identify it for you.

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Rebecca 3 April, 2010 18:33
hi i'm just wondering if wolf spiders are more infectious to animals like chickens rabbits and dogs also how can i get rid of them around my yard?? thanks
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Discovery Centre 6 April, 2010 14:40

Hi Rebecca, I don't believe that wolf spiders pose a serious threat to pets or humans. It is hard to remove them from your property as wolf spiders are wandering spiders and new individuals will recolonise from neighbouring properties. Spiders have no interest in people and as long as you don't threaten them will leave people alone, and will go about their business of catching insects and other invertebrates.