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 (187)

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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.
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
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.

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??
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.

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

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.
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-/

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.
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
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.

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)
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.

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
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.

Jessica 8 May, 2010 05:46
Hi my name Jessica i went into my sons room and there where weds EVERYWHERE i don't now if there daddy long legs baby's or not but there where crawling and they are really tiny they came from a truck i brought in from outside they just showed up out of no where i went into my sons room and seen them all there where so many webs and the little spiders where all over his crib what do i do i am really scared of spiders so please help me i got my mom to clean them out but i don't want my `son in there please help
Discovery Centre 11 May, 2010 10:17

Hi Jessica, no spiders feed on people or have a desire to bite people. The Museum does have a free identification service, so if you or someone else can safely collect a couple of the small spiders we can try and identify them for you. If there are suddenly a lot of small spiders there may have been an egg sac in the house that has released a number of baby spiders. Or as you say you may have brought them inside on a toy. Probably the easiest thing to do is to just keep regularly vacuuming up the spiders and any webs they build.

Shannyn 27 December, 2013 13:06
Hello, I am confident that my 3 month old rabbit was bitten by a black house spider, is this lethal to my rabbit? Thank you
Beth 12 May, 2010 21:13
Hi there, I have a question regarding black house spiders and white tails. Recently my pet cat was bitten by a spider on the top of her thigh. She was either bitten at the veterinary clinic or near after in our home when she was still very weak from the side effects of anesthesia. Very sadly she died within three days of treatment of IV fluids and antibiotics. Since then we have searched the house for any evidence of spiders and have only come across a black house spider outside near a window frame. We have another cat and we are very worried for his well being. Both cats have always been strictly indoors. The whole four years we've lived here we've never seen a white tail, do you think its possible the black house spider could cause such fatal bites in cats?
Discovery Centre 13 May, 2010 14:08

Hi Beth - We'll pass your question through to an entomologist, and see if they have an answer for you.

Discovery Centre 18 May, 2010 16:09

Hi Beth, we are sorry to hear of the loss of your cat. We are not aware of Black House Spiders or White-tailed Spiders posing a high risk to dosmestic pets. These spiders can be quite common in domestic situations and you would imagine that if they could easily kill pets that deaths would be far more common. Both these species of spiders tend to run when faced with a threat. It may have been that your cat's immune system was reduced as a result of treatment or the anesthesia. 

Claire 20 May, 2010 15:07
Your website is fantastic! I love that you are able to help identify spiders!! We have sent you 2 photos and look forward to finding out if it is indeed a redback or not! Thanks!
Discovery Centre 21 May, 2010 10:48

Hi Claire, thank you for sending us your very good quality images complete with coins to give us an idea of scale. The e-mail we sent letting you know that the spider looks to be a juvenile redback should have reached you by now.

Shannon Rosemary Selvaratnam 23 May, 2010 17:24
Hi I found a red back spider in my garage I would like to know more about the red back spider the red back spider I found in my garage was scary.
Discovery Centre 24 May, 2010 12:29

Hi Shannon - Our Red Back Spider infosheet and the Victorian Spiders website contain lots of information about Red Back Spiders that you may find helpful.

Beth 3 June, 2010 20:09
Hi there, I wrote to you earlier this month about my late cat that was bitten by a spider while under the effects of anesthesia and sadly died. Since then we have found an 'insect' in our washing machine and are wondering how it can be identified. Can we send it in? Any information would be appreciated. Many thanks.
Discovery Centre 4 June, 2010 12:25

Hi Beth, we do have a free identification service at the Museum. If the insect is still alive, please place it in the freezer overnight which will humanely kill it, (it is illegal to send most live insects through the post). Then place it in a small container which won't get crushed such as a pill jar and mail it to Discovery Centre PO Box 666 Melbourne 3001, along with your contact details. It is illegal to send flammable material through the post so please don't add any methylated spirits or anything like that. 

Beth 15 June, 2010 15:39
Thanks for letting me know about the free identification. I sent the spider early last week, just wondering how long the identification process usually takes? Many thanks again.
Discovery Centre 16 June, 2010 14:50

Hi Beth, you're very welcome and glad we can help out. Sometimes identifications can take up to a few weeks depending on the workload and availability of our collection managers and curators. We'll contact you directly as soon as we have an identification on the spider.

Kenneth Twomey From Pest Control Treatments 18 June, 2010 23:03
All Spiders can make us fear them just the sight of one and my wife will scream, this is a good thing if we did not have fear of them my kids would have a spider collection instead of a ant farm as I do pest control I have seen some large spiders the one I remember the most was when a Childs helmet had a red back spider as big as a 20 cent piece in it
john 12 July, 2010 00:24
found a huntsman today with unusal markings and colour.have seen many different types but none like this.can i send you in a pic?
Discovery Centre 12 July, 2010 13:26

Hi John, you are welcome to send an image of the spider to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we will try and identify it for you.

ben 22 July, 2010 20:43
hi i came across this spider and it is as big as a twenty cent coin and skinny shinny legs it has a an very large abdomen roughly a bit smaller then a 5 cent coin its hairy on the abdomen and the rest of the body i found it in a shed in a web near the ground i am wondering what type of spider is it thanks ben
Discovery Centre 23 July, 2010 16:49

Hi Ben, there are many different species of spider and we need to see an image to ensure we give you the correct identification and information. If you can safely do so please take an image of the spider and e-mail it to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au

Daniel 7 October, 2010 02:46
hi ive got very strange looking spiders all around my house and i notice u dont have any pics of these types of spiders can i give a plce where i can send pics of these spiders kinda worryed they might bite us 1 day and we wont know what to do
Discovery Centre 7 October, 2010 10:29
Hi Daniel, please feel free to send some images to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we can attempt to identify the spiders.
martin 12 November, 2010 15:26
Hi, I absolutely love this service from the Discovery Centre. I live in Thornbury and have a large gum and a silky oak close to our back door. At night, I practically only have to open the door and a huntsman will come in. I've found two in the garden today, and a black house spider crawled up my arm. I know they're all pretty harmless but it's freaking my wife out, particularly because we've got two toddlers. I'm thinking of chopping down the silky oak anyway because it's old and positioned to fall through my kitchen roof if I don't. Might that reduce the number of spiders, or are they likely living in the bark of the gum? Apart from getting rid of the tree, is there anything else I can do to reduce the number of spiders? Because there really are quite a few. Thanks very much in advance.
Discovery Centre 16 November, 2010 09:19
Hi Martin, tell your wife not to be too concerned as no spiders feed on people and they do not seek us out as we pose more of a threat to them than they do to us. Cutting down the Silky Oak would remove one resource for the spiders but your gum tree will also have spider inhabitants. The Australian Museum's Spiders in the House and Garden page will provide you with some tips to minimise spider numbers in the home and garden. Note it talks about the Sydney Funnel-web which we do not have in Melbourne.
Amy 1 December, 2010 22:38
great site, trying to ID the nice spider that bit me tonight, so I sent an email provided as above with some links to photos
Jake 30 December, 2010 05:29
I've noticed a spider wandering around and it either looks like a white-tail or a black house spider but it uses a web which is around the room. It's appearance is closer to that of a white tail though. My question is, while white tails dont spin webs, would they make use the webs of other spiders (this one seems to make extensive use)?
Discovery Centre 30 December, 2010 11:59

Hi Jake, it is very hard for the Museum team to know what to tell you without identifying the spider first.  Are you able to snap some photos and email them in to us?  Please quote your enquiry number, DC ENQ 5762, in all future correspondence.

Petra Hook 15 January, 2011 22:16
I have two little Jack Russells and we have alot of wolf spiders around our house and one of our dogs is always biting them, will they hurt at all?
Discovery Centre 18 January, 2011 16:39
Hi Petra, depending on the size of the spider a bite will hurt. The dogs will either be quick enough to avoid getting bitten or if not will soon learn to give the spiders a wide berth.
Tammy Hammond 30 January, 2011 20:17
Are there bees that hunt spiders? We have seen a bright orange bee hunting down a wolf spider on the ground. It was behaving like a predator by following its scent on the ground. The spider was jumping and fleeing as though it were being hunted. We know it was a bee as it was short bodied and fuzzy, with orange red wings.
Jonathan 4 February, 2011 17:18
Found 2 spiders in the house today, one on the ceiling and it looked like a white tail spider, except it had a very large clear lower abdomen, would it be a whitetail spider or a brown spider?
Discovery Centre 7 February, 2011 16:04
Hi Jonathan! For identification enquiries, please have a look at the identification service and guidelines page. Don't forget, we need a photo to identify your spiders!
Discovery Centre 9 February, 2011 16:09
Hi Tammy, it is hard to say without an image as there are many wasp species that hunt spiders. They sting and paralyse them and lay an egg on them, thus ensuring their young have a live food source upon hatching. We are not aware of any bee species that do this; one of the large wasps that we receive enquiries about is Heterodontonyx bicolor, (also called Crytocheilus bicolor on some sites).

If you see it again please feel free to take a photo if you can and send it into us.

Someone 25 February, 2011 18:38
My house has seems to have a Cryptocheilus bicolor which I think has made a nest for itself inside the wall. Also, it dragged a spider inside and is probably going to do what it is expected to do. My questions are, should I leave it alone? And if I do, what becomes of its offspring? Also is its sting able to paralyse us somewhat like it does to the spider?
mikayla mcphilbin 26 February, 2011 13:59
i was on camp yesterday and the look alike wolf spider was on our door
Jenny 28 February, 2011 14:09
I found a big spider (60mm body length) with blue colour legs in my garden. What's its category? I got a photo.
Discovery Centre 1 March, 2011 16:03
Hi Someone, its up to you but I would be happy to leave her there. Any young she has will attempt to continue the species, so they will emerge, feed, mate and attempt to catch spiders for their young to feed on. This species of wasp does have a sting and a sting would most likely be quite painful. They do not have the ability to paralyse us and are generally not aggressive if left alone. 
Discovery Centre 2 March, 2011 16:34

Hi Jenny,

Could you please send your photo of your spider with your enquiry to the Discovery Centre? We can't identify it without seeing it! Thanks.

Mal 2 March, 2011 22:49
The other week I put my hand under my car seat and instantly felt a stinging sensation on my fingers, when I looked under the seat there was a white/grey sac about the size of a small cotton ball. I couldn't see them, but I believe there were a number of needle like prickles either in the sac or on the outside. Days have gone by now and it seems like I've got 100's of prickles in my fingers, which are quite painful. Would this have been a spider nest or sac? I haven't been able to find anything with this description on your site. Hope you can help. Thanks
Andrew Nowak 11 March, 2011 20:32
Hi, tonight I Mortiened a very different looking spider as it started to build it's web over our garden setting table. It was about 2cm in body length with long thin legs; head and middle was dark reddish; and bum (thorax??)was charcoal grey, round and about 1cm in diameter with a very distinct white strip along it's back - looked almost as if soeone had painted it on with thich white-out. It is not a white tail as we have plenty of big ones here, but I have never seen this one before, and I can't find a picture on any of the sites depicting Australian spiders - I do have a rather poor picture of the dead spider on my phine but no idea how to attach it for you. Can you please help??? Andrew.
Discovery Centre 16 March, 2011 12:27
Hi Andrew, please feel free to send any images you have to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we'll try and identify the spider for you.
Jess Ness 30 March, 2011 09:07
I came accross this amazing spider yesterday and couldn't id it. It had a massive circular web, at least 4 foot accross (just the round part) and the spider was also quite huge with it's body being at least 5cm in length with quite chunky legs. It was brown and hairy. It's head was sort of rectangular and its abdomen was diamon shaped and a little bulbous..perhaps with two slight lumps (it appeared that way but i wasn't getting any closer). Its back legs curved inwards past it body and had bands of lighter colour where the front pair of legs were together and appeared darker and bandless. The spider could also bunch itslef up completly and just look like a small brown bundle. I have a couple of pictures, but couldn't see how to attach. Can you help me?
Jessica 30 March, 2011 14:22
My cat has recently suffered envenomation from a spider (best guess by the vet)he lost the use of all legs, but retained movement of his head, very dilated pupils that didn't react to light. First symptoms at 7pm Sunday night, totally recovered by am Wednesday morning. Once he started to move it was a very quick recovery. Did a snake kit venom test which proved negative. No sign of a paralysis tick. We live in the Dandenongs on 20 acres of bush. Any ideas what sort of spider it might have been? He's an indoor cat now (it was an expensive vet bill!) but spiders love the inside of my house as much as the outside.
Discovery Centre 31 March, 2011 11:13

Hi Jess,

You might want to look at our spider identification page. If you can't find it there, you can contact us through our Ask the Experts page. Images can be attached at the bottom of this page when you submit your enquiry.

Discovery Centre 6 April, 2011 14:47
Hi Jessica - Sorry, but the Museum doesn't really have a lot of expertise with this sort of thing in the absence of an actual spider specimen to identify. Anecdotally, our experts mentioned that a Redback spider bite can affect cats, or possibly a wolf spider; the bite of this species is known to affect dogs and cats but not so much people.
Brendan 3 May, 2011 11:37
I just found a small mainly black spider in my house in melbourne. It had yellow markings on its back and redish legs. Just wondering what it is and if it is dangerous. Thanks.
Discovery Centre 6 May, 2011 16:11

Hello Brendan - without seeing the spider ourselves we wouldn't be able to provide an identification, feel free to send us a photo via the 'Contact Us' link at the bottom of the page, otherwise you may wish to try identifying the spider via our Victorian Spider website at http://museumvictoria.com.au/spiders/

Hope this helps!

Michael 9 May, 2011 21:03
Rogaining in Kimbolton Forest near Lake Eppalock last weekend. Enormous number of large shiny (deep purple/black) spiders with webs (up to 2 or 3 metres across and as high as three metres). Made for a very sticky 6 hours - it was hard to move without running into a web and often collecting the spider down the back of the neck as well. Any thoughts on type of spider?
Discovery Centre 11 May, 2011 15:47

Michael - the spiders you saw could've been one of any number of species, sorry - but it doesn't sound like a pleasant experience! If you managed to get any photos, you are welcome to email them to us via the Contact Us link at the bottom of the page, or you may want to use our Victorian Spiders website at http://museumvictoria.com.au/spiders/ to try identifying them yourself.

Hope that helps!

glenys kennedy 7 June, 2011 11:06
have just built a new home in vic builders pilled dirt around house lots of brown spiders in dirt,horrid looking come into house hide under mats & in carpet edges also baby black ones on cornices are they the young of brown spiders neighbours have them too have never seen them before.
unsure 19 June, 2011 08:13
What can the bite of the white tail spider do? what are the small spiders that are in the corner of windows that are about 1cm big? can they harm you?
unsure 19 June, 2011 08:19
what would you call a spider with white legs and a red body? is it venomous?
worried 19 June, 2011 16:11
Ok so one morning i looked at my fence and there was this black and white spider that had a very long tail )about 2cm long) and it was straight the spider was about 5cm long (including tail). Can you please tell what it could be and if it was dangerous or not?
olivia vana 20 June, 2011 09:33
i have daddy long legs in my garage and i named them all
Tabatha 30 July, 2011 04:11
Can Huntsman spiders be found in Alabama??
Discovery Centre 30 July, 2011 16:07
Hi Tabatha, there are many different species of spider that are commonly known as huntsmans and these are found in many parts of the world. If you have a query about a spider in Alabama you may want to contact the Natural History Museum in your state which will have more expertise on the spiders of your region. 
Linda 13 August, 2011 14:55
13/08/11 Hi, I've just been spraying outside, all the frequent haunts for my lovely house spiders and as I was taking out the umbrella from the outdoor chest which I frequently sit on, I came across a red back spider. I haven't seen one for many, many years, so I called my son and his friend out to have a look, and of course have the image imprinted in their brain for future reference! Then I sprayed it and squashed it. I felt quite sad, but I just was not going to risk having it reside where I sit! Can you tell me what happens when bitten by a red back, and how quickly the venom spreads and how painful it is? How soon should you get yourself to hospital. Should you immobilise the limb? etc.. thank you, great website.
Discovery Centre 13 August, 2011 15:17

Hi Linda,

Good advice on first aid for redback (and spiders in general) bites is available from the Australian Venom Research Unit.

Sarah 14 September, 2011 13:45
i just came across a brown spider with a big belly and underneath its belly was black with 2 small white stripes??
Ashley 22 October, 2011 01:07
I live in Perth and am unable to find a local website like this. I found at least 6 unusual spiders in a large bush of rosemary. They were roughly 40mm in length and were a bright yellow/gold with a black leopard print. I have never seen these spiders before and am wondering if they are deadly or harmful as young children play around that area.
Discovery Centre 22 October, 2011 09:31
Hi Ashley, the Western Australian Museum have a similar facility to ours, where you can have biological specimens to be identified. You might want to contact their Discovery Centre to find out what they can do for you. Alternatively, you can send us images or specimens and we'll try to answer you questions through our Ask the experts service. 
Thomas Goulding 23 October, 2011 22:25
Hi ive a pet female redback and just wondering whats best to feed her and where to find it thanks
Discovery Centre 27 October, 2011 14:16
Hi Thomas, the Red-back Spider (Latrodectus hasseltii) will eat a variety of invertebrates such as cockroaches, crickets, moths, flies and beetles. One good way of collecting food for the spider is to look at what is flying around your porch light at night. One other possibility is that some pet shops sell live crickets for food sources and these could be used for the spider. You need to take a lot of care with this spider as the bite of the Red-back Spider is considered life threatening.
Anne MacLean 30 October, 2011 15:01
I was wanting to find out what would eat a white tail spider it must have a natural predator. Thanks anne
Discovery Centre 31 October, 2011 09:48
Hi Anne, it is likely that White-tailed Spiders would be prey for some of the larger spiders such as huntsmans and wolf spiders. Centipedes and scorpions would also be predators of White-tailed Spiders.
Lightning 7 November, 2011 10:20
Hi, my family has just gotten a new caravan and my 7yr old brother found a tiny spider, probably the size of a 5 cent peice with its legs pulled in. It has thin hairy legs with golden knees, tarantular like fangs and is black on its body/abdomin. its heas is a silverish black and abdomin is fairly large to the rest of its body. I am unsure of its kind as it has not bitten me yet, I have let no one but me and my brother touch it... Can you help? Thanks Lightning
Discovery Centre 7 November, 2011 10:35

Hi Lightning, Museum Victoria has a free Identification Service. If you send us in a photograph of the spider (or the creature itself), we'd be very happy to identify it for you.

Leanne 22 November, 2011 14:50
I have a lot of very large wolf spiders living in my back yard in holes in the ground and I am concerned as i have 3 small children and these wolf spiders have big fangs, how can i get rid of them? Do I need to be concerned? Your thoughts will help. Thanks for your time. Leanne
Discovery Centre 22 November, 2011 16:16

Hi Leanne,

Wolf spiders do not pose a serious threat to humans or pets. As long as you do not threaten them, they have no interest in people and would much rather catch insects and other invertebrates. If bitten, symptoms include local pain and swelling. There are no records of any serious symptoms resulting from wolf spider bites in Australia.

It is difficult to remove them from your property as wolf spiders are wandering spiders and new individuals will recolonise from neighbouring properties.


Debra 27 December, 2011 18:27
I live in North Eastern Victoria on a farm that is in bushland. I came across a brown spider with a similar body shape as a black house spider that had a black spot either side of its abdomen. As I was watching it crawl across the ground, it climbed on some leaf litter which flipped it onto its back. It had an orange triangle shape on the underside of its abdomen with a white patch either side. It also had an electric blue band on the underside of its legs (closest to the abdomen) and 2 yellow band on each leg (closer to the end of its legs). Can you tell me what this spider may be as I have been searching for days on various websites to find out what type of spider if may be as I am very interested in spiders. I did take some photos but they are not very clear. Hoping you can help me solve the mystery.
Mike 1 January, 2012 04:05
At my cousins on the weekend and an enormous spider similar in appearance came walking across the floor. At first we thought it was just a massive huntsman but when we looked at it we could see it was totally different. It had quite large fangs, not aggressive, actually tried to avoid us. It stood quite high of the ground, not skittish. Similar coloring to a huntsman and massive abdomen. Unfortunately my cousin decided to kill it as she has young children. I would say over all it was about the size of a small mouse. I initially thought it might be a member of the tarantula family but when I checked pictures on the Internet it seemed to be quite different. My cousin told me this is the second one to come through the house over the last month and she is quite concerned about the safety of the kids. It appeared to have entered the house from the back door that was left open on both occasions. Are you able to help us out and shed any light on this for us. We'd greatly appreciate it. Thanks Mike
Discovery Centre 1 January, 2012 10:46
Hi Mike, if it wasn't a huntsman there are trapdoor spiders that can be found throughout Melbourne that can be quite large in size and also mouse spiders. If you do see one again see if you can safely take some good quality images and email them to us at discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and we'll try and provide an identification.
Ruth Whittle 3 January, 2012 00:40
Just before midnight tonight, I saw what appeared to be a black (or brown) house spider on the floor of my bedroom. I put my foot on it and, when I looked, the spider had escaped (I subsequently caught it). There was a dark patch where it had been, about 3cm diameter. At first I thought it was a squash stain, but then realized it was a clutch of tiny baby spiders who rapidly dispersed. I sprayed the remaining ones with fly spray which seemed to work. My questions are: If spiders lay eggs, how could this happen? Will any escapees survive without their mother and bother me later? I look forward to your advice. Sincerely, Ruth Whittle
Discovery Centre 3 January, 2012 11:47

Hi Ruth, we have asked the Entomologist about your strange spider activity and he has suggested that it was most likely a wolf spider as they carry their young on their backs, and black and brown house spiders do not. If the spiderlings were still very young they probably won’t survive and if they do wolf spiders are not considered dangerous and have no interest in people, etc. Have a look at the infosheet we have about wolf spiders.

J Mudaliar 8 January, 2012 14:59
This is a interesting site - and is appreciated. Perhaps someone can help me with information as to how many huntsman spiders at a given time are likely to be on a single Eucalyptus tree(?). The tree in question is in my front garden, and is the very fibrous and deep-barked, E. cinerea (Argyle Apple. Also I'm trying to find our if our intuition is spot on re re-location - i.e., if we re-locate a huntsman, or any other spider, do they come back in .. especially if they have been re-located to the nearest eucalyptus or other tree? Hope someone can help.
Discovery Centre 11 January, 2012 14:31
Hi Amanda, we 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.
Discovery Centre 24 January, 2012 12:30
Hi Janine, yours is a difficult question to answer as it depends on a number of factors. For example is your garden conducive to high numbers of spiders, is it in an area with some bush nearby, do you have many other trees in your garden, do your neighbours have much vegetation in their gardens? Also it will depend on the species of huntsman that you have in your tree, there are communal species of huntsman, so you can get large numbers living together or it may be a more solitary species. Huntsman spiders are not attracted to the insides of our homes per se, their interest is food. So if the spider can find sufficient food in the garden it is less likely to come inside. However, our homes are usually playing host to a range of insects such as cockroaches, moths and flies, all of which can attract a hungry huntsman inside.
Javan B 24 January, 2012 14:06
my dog just got bit by a wolf spider in the muzzle, what do i do?
Discovery Centre 24 January, 2012 15:37

Dear Javan,

This question has been answered already in the above Discovery Centre responses. Hope this helps!

Jarrod 26 January, 2012 22:06
I went to open my flats security door the other day only to see an oddly large insect crawling vertically up the door. What was even more frightening was that this insect was dragging what appeared to be a fully grown huntsmen spider up with it. I have lived in Melbourne all my life and had always assumed that the huntsmen was the king of the local insect/arachnid kingdom, do you know of any local insect predators capable of such a feat? I'd love to give you a description but fear that I may only mislead as I only caught a fleeting glimpse of the strange creature.
Discovery Centre 27 January, 2012 10:17

Hi Jarrod, it is likely to have been one of the spider hunting wasps that you saw dragging the huntsman. These wasps search for spiders to sting and paralyse. They then lay eggs on the spider so that upon hatching their young have a live food source to feed on. One species which we have had quite a few reports of this summer is the native species Heterodontonyx bicolor.  


Lou 6 February, 2012 01:44
Just removed a large (huntsman sized) spider from my house. It was bright/fluroscent type orange colour. Not dark orange but bright orange. Can you help?
Discovery Centre 6 February, 2012 10:33

Hi Lou, Museum Victoria has a free identification service, but we need to see either a photograph or the creature itself. If you see another one, we would be very to identify it for you.  In the meantime, you can try and identify it yourself using our resources:   

Gemma 6 February, 2012 12:26
Just wondering what affects a huntsman spider would have on my cat? his seen it and has been eyeing it off and tried to attack it but luckily the spider is high up. I was also worried about my budgie, I have moved her away from the spider. Hopefully my fiancee can move it outside after work, any ideas on how he can safely do it?
Discovery Centre 9 February, 2012 13:10

Hi Gemma, huntsmans have no interest in pets, but if your cat was to grab it the spider would probably bite in self defence. We are not aware of huntsman bites posing any particularly high risk to pets. To remove a huntsman if you feel confident just place a small plastic bowl or glass over the spider and slide a piece of paper between the bowl and the wall. Take the glass outside and release the spider.

Kyla Villa 28 February, 2012 20:21
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Alison 1 March, 2012 22:05
Thanks for your great website. I have recently become a fan of spiders after years of severe arachnophobia. I will now happily escort larger spiders from my home, but I was getting overwhelmed by the number of Daddy Long Legs, so have been leaving them to their own devices. However, they are making an awful mess with discarded prey and cobwebs. Is there a humane way to kill them? I worry that just vacuuming them up maims, rather than kills, them. Thanks.
Discovery Centre 6 March, 2012 09:26
Hi Alison, if you place spiders in a freezer this is a quick way to kill them that is probably preferable to being inside a vacuum cleaner. With the Dady long-legs you may be fighting a losing battle as they are so numerous in our suburbs and towns. The best thing if you don't like them around is to just keep destroying their webs. 
Aerogers 8 March, 2012 12:15
Hi, I saw a huge whitetail charging towards my baby's cot last week, got it and threw it in the toilet to show my husband when he wakes up. 5 mins later it was gone! Since then, I have killed 10x small/baby whitetails and I'm afraid there will be more if these are the offspring. I read that they can lay upto 90 eggs. My questions are: Is it true whitetails can crawl up slopey, slippery surfaces therefore possibly escaping up the toilet bowl? What attracts whitetails? My room is tidy and they constantly come into MY room! What other spiders eat whitetails and Is it true that spiders don't like peppermint oil? I'm petrified of whitetails, it takes me hours of checking the house before bedtime before falling asleep. I think I need mental help! I live on the central coast of NSW..
Discovery Centre 8 March, 2012 17:17
Hi Aerogers, many spiders are very good at climbing sheer surfaces such as glass panes and so I would imagine a toilet bowl wouldn't present too many problems unless it was flushed. This link is from the Australian Museum in Sydney and details ways of minimising spider numbers in the home including white-tailed spiders. The article also points out that it is almost impossible to rid your home of spiders and that is better to learn their habits and avoid intercation. No spiders feed on Australia and so do not seek us out to bite. 
Nathan Oxford 13 March, 2012 12:46
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Claire 30 March, 2012 23:39
Hi, I was bitten by a spider last Friday and it was a nasty bite! Lots of fluid and I now have a small infected crater on my wrist (sorry for the yuk image)...I can only assume it was one of the spiders I've been finding in my flat recently. I've removed about 9 of them now (and accidently stood on one) and let them go in the garden. They look just like the black house spider. Tonight, i found a big one and let her go outside. When I tipped it off the envelope, I caught a glance of 2 or 3 small pale red eggs or something on her underside. Are these eggs? Is the black house slider known to carry eggs like this? Thank you so much for your help!
Discovery Centre 2 April, 2012 09:03
Hi Claire, it's hard to be sure without an image but rather than being eggs I would say that the spider you saw may have been carrying some mites. The Black House Spider does not carry its eggs around.  
Claire 8 April, 2012 20:32
Hi again, I have identified the spider as a Victorian funnel web. The one that I caught tonight (yes, I've found a couple since the last email!) had two little orangey spots underneath. I will send the through photos if I figure out how. Very interesting! I think it's definitely the Vic funnel web as it has big thick fangy bits at the front and two little spikes on it's bottom. They are all about an inch long. Thanks for your help, I didn't know spiders could get mites! My bite is getting better thanks to some antibiotics and cream. Kind Regards, Claire
Nathan Oxford 20 April, 2012 22:42
I am very happy to be here because this is a very good site that provides lots of information about the topics covered in depth. Im glad to see that people are actually writing about this issue in such a smart way, showing us all different sides to it. Please keep it up. I cant wait to read whats next. buy nolvadex
Rachel 22 April, 2012 12:46
Hi, I found a large black spider living in a funnel shaped web on some furniture we had stored. Total length would be about the 30-35 mm mark. It was dark black, hairy, with a thick body and legs. We live in central Victoria so I assumed its a black house spider but it says they don't usually leave their webs. This one leaves and gets itself into the washing basket or under some curtains we had folded in the room. I've found this one, a smaller one of the same species in the same room and then one in the bathroom. It also says that white tails love to prey on them but I havnt seen a whitetail on our property for a good ten months. Is there anything else it could be? And how bad are their bites?
Discovery Centre 22 April, 2012 13:26
Hi there Rachel, unfortunately we can't do identifications based on description but we do have an excellent website called Victorian Spiders that is allows you to identify different spiders and will give you information about their toxicity. On this site you can also look at the characteristics of the Victorian Funnel Web and information about its bite.
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David Fischer 5 October, 2012 22:21
This is a great collection of various types of spiders. The college where I studied (Sacred Heart College) had a vast collection of various types of spiders. The college also offered specific courses on spiders that came under the zoological department. Thanks for the post.
Steven 22 October, 2012 12:22
Hi there! I have recently captured a large huntsman spider and I have been keeping him in a spare fishtank I have. I was wondering how often I should feed him. I have bought some crickets from a pet store and he has eaten one of them but I don't want to overfeed him. So how often should I?
Eliza 5 January, 2013 00:44
I have recently found a spider just on the outside of my house and would like a bit of info on it. I don't have a picture at the moment but was hoping you could have a go at givin me a suggestion so I can look it up. I'm in SE Melbourne suburbs if that helps. The spider was creamy white in colouration. The front ofIt was sort of like a daddy long legs (tiny body) however it's abdomen was more like that of a red back in shape. The abdomen was a beautiful silvery/white and looked like a small pearl. On the abdomen it had a clear greyish mark. Not quite sure what shape. Sort of like a diamond I suppose. It was only about 7mm (estimate excluding legs) Is it a daddy long legs of some sort or what? If you could please provide me with an educated guess it would be much appreciated. Thanks very much!
Discovery Centre 5 January, 2013 12:16
Hi Eliza, it is difficult without a specimen but from your description it may be a species of spider from the genus Parasteatoda and maybe a species like Parasteatoda tepidariorum
Lizzie 29 May, 2014 19:14
Hi there! I sought out your website as I too have just discovered a white spider on a wall in my house. It is the size and shape of brown house spider and the web is on the inside frame of my bathroom window. I am wondering if it could be an albino or some other form of spider altogether. It is rather pretty and I would like to keep it safe so putting it outside seems a bit unfair if its coloration would make it hard for it to hide and catch prey (the paint on my window frame is about the same colour). On the other hand, I am from NZ and a bit paranoid about Australian spiders and don't really want to keep it in the bathroom if it could be really poisonous! If it is a very pale Parasteatoda tepidariorum, is it safe to leave it inside or should I put it out in the garden to take its chances?
Mick 8 January, 2013 08:28
Hi! Does anyone know if there's been clarification on the species name this Deinopsis species yet? Link: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=321466504629371&set=a.321451014630920.70109.100002980730311&type=3&theater
Discovery Centre 12 January, 2013 09:56
Hi Mick, we don't currently have an arachnologist on staff but to me the spider looks like Deinopis ravida. According to the Find a Spider Guide for the Spiders of Southern Queensland website, D. ravida has a very similar appearance to D. subrufa and there appears to be some uncertainty that they are indeed separate species. However, at the present time they are listed as different species in Platnick's World Spider Catalog.
Evie 17 January, 2013 00:37
I found a black spider, I'd guess the body was maybe 15mm long, on my cardigan tonight. I was wondering what type it may have been. I have what I take to be a black house spider in a web in the corner of my window, but have heard they are shy; is it possible that the spider on my shoulder was one of the window spiders babies in search of a nesting place, or was it more likely a white tail (being on cloth and all)? Should I just vacuum up the one in the corner if I don't want spiders wandering all over?
Discovery Centre 22 January, 2013 12:18
Hi Evie, female Black House Spiders generally remain in their webs but the males will go wandering looking for a female. Without an image we couldn't say for sure what the spider species was. Regular vacuuming should help to minimise numbers of wandering spiders.
Sam 25 January, 2013 11:16
We recently moved into a new home 6 weeks ago and noticed that there were a lot of spider webs outside (ie guttering eves, roof of the deck, plants etc). We have seen the odd spider inside but over the last 3 days we have found 4 white tailed spiders crawling on bedroom walls. We have 3 young children including a baby (3 months old) and was wondering what is the best preventative measures for this situation. The home is uncluttered and all windows and doors have flyscreens with no obvious gaps. We do have airconditioning ducts in the roof and heating ducts in the floor. Any advise would be appreciated?
Jessica Mitchem 27 February, 2013 20:34
Hello I was bitten by a spider Monday night on my big toe. The pain was bad and only stayed in the toe, then on Tuesday. Have now a skin rash so I have gone to the doctors thy have put me on antihistamine and cream. But no one can Id the spider, I believe from research it might be the black house spider baby. Am I able to bring it to you to get an idea???
Discovery Centre 28 February, 2013 12:05
Hi Jessica, you can bring the spider to us in the Discovery Centre at the Melbourne Museum, we are open between 10 and 4.30 from Tuesday through Saturday. Or you can place the spider in a small container which won't get crushed in the post and mail it to Discovery Centre PO Box 666, Melbourne 3001.   
Vicki 2 March, 2013 19:54
Massive spider web found in west Brunswick. What spider does it belong to? I'm trying to attach photo
Discovery Centre 3 March, 2013 09:31
Hi Vicki, unfortunately we are not able to identify a spider species from the web alone, we would also need to see an image of the spider. If you are in Melbourne and there is a large web it may be a species of orb weaver. There are may different species of orb weaver, none of which are considered highly dangerous. These spiders tend to remain in or near their webs and are timid, bites are rare.  
Henry Walker 4 April, 2013 14:50
Hi I have a spider that has built its web up in a corner between a veranda pillar and the roof, it is quite a large circular web of about 30 centimetres in diameter. It has brown-red legs that have white bands around them, it has a black head, pure white torso and a large silvery-grey abdomen. Any ideas on what it could be?
Discovery Centre 6 April, 2013 10:02
Hi Henry! Does your spider neighbour look like the photo on this page? If not, do feel free to send a photograph to us through our Ask the Experts service, and we will get an entomologist on the case!
Marg 17 April, 2013 20:23
We live in the Dandenongs and over the last week have had at least a dozen HUGE black spiders inside the house. We moved into this house just before Christmas. We have lived in the HIlls for decades but never seen these big black monsters inside in these numbers. Is it normal is certain areas or have we bought some kind of freakish spider haven??
Brittany 31 May, 2013 20:51
Help please I live in wa and I have a suspicion that my 1 yr old cat has been bitten by the black house spider I'm only 17 and I love my cats to bits please replay soon I'm worried like hell and I dono wat to do she won't let me touch her front right leg and when I try she pulls away and meows she won't lay down ether
andre olres 21 September, 2013 22:22
White-tailed Spiders are frequent visitors to our homes, particularly our bedrooms. Los Angeles game truck
Mel 3 November, 2013 23:43
I have just found a lot of holes in my yard in one area not that I'm getting very close but I can not see a web around them or a small dirt mound the holes are roughly a 20 to 50 cent piece really hopping its not spiders because we have young kids who love playing outside what could cause these holes there was about 10-15 holes in a small area
Discovery Centre 5 November, 2013 11:11
Hi Mel, if you can take some close up photos of the holes and send them through to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au that would be great. We won't be able to tell the species of spider from the holes, but we may be able to get an idea as to whether they were made by spiders or something else.  
Jodie 1 January, 2014 00:07
It would be excellent if you could add in your descriptions something about whether I need to worry about being eaten/poisoned/terrified by the spiders you've listed above. Many thanks!
Jana 14 January, 2014 16:56
Hi, I was clearing out our shed and we have these spiders everywhere. They look like daddy long legs except they have white dots on them. They also seem to have a white sack on them. I was just wondering if you might know what they are and if they are poisonous ? My childrens outdoor toys are kept in there and I can't find it on google. Thank you ;)
Kathrin 30 January, 2014 19:40
Hi. I found my cat on Monday outside near the door entrance lying there lifeless. Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and there was excessive saliva present. I played with her about 2 hours before that. She was in great shape.When I found her her pupils we're complete dilated. The body seemed completely paralysed. But I don't believe she was alive anymore as she didn't appear to be breathing or reacting to any touch. She appeared to have two strange patches on her back leg that were missing the fur around it. One of the patch had a very small dark purple spot. Her rip cage was swollen. I have had a look around the house and the only thing I found was a dead black house spider in the curtains near her bed. Is it possible that it could have bitten my cat in such a fatal manner.? What other spiders or insect cause such reactions in animal. I can't believe that healthy cats can die like that. I live in langwarrin in Victoria.
Vladimir Dayrit 14 April, 2014 01:03
Hi, i have a photo of a spider that looks like a huntsman but its sitting on a web. Now Im not sure what sort of spider it it. I have a picture, let me know if you want to see it. thanks :)
Discovery Centre 15 April, 2014 10:47

Hi Vladimir,

You can send a photo to us at discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and one of our experts will look at it for you.

Monique 6 June, 2014 12:51
Hello. I found a spider in my kitchen that I cannot identify. It is very flat, at first I thought it had been squished, but I put a jar over it just in case, and it is very much alive. It is a dark brown colour, pointy at the tail end, very long legs. And like I said, very flat. About the size of a 20 cent piece with it's legs extended. Just about cm long in body. Can you help me identify it please? Thank you Monique
Discovery Centre 7 June, 2014 14:33
Hi Monique, it is hard to say what the spider is without an image. From your description it could be a species from the genus Hemicloea, try Googling that by image and see if it looks like what you have. If not take see if you can get some good quality images and email them to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au
Thomas C. 10 June, 2014 17:41
I saw a spider in my house and I killed it because I did not know if it posed a risk to humans or not. I can't seem to find it anywhere, on the internet. It was not a brown recluse or a wood or wolf spider. It was about medium size with pretty long legs and it had a single white stripe down the back of it's upper and lower body. What kind of spider is it?
Discovery Centre 12 June, 2014 11:46
Hi Thomas, it is difficult to say what the spider is without seeing an image. If you have some good quality images, (not sure how squashed the spider is) please feel free to send them to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au
Discovery Centre 21 June, 2014 13:14
Hi Thomas, it is very hard to say what the spider was without being able to see a specimen or image. If you see any more feel free to take some good quality images and send them to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au
Vladimir Dayrit 13 July, 2014 23:24
I have already sent you a picture of that spider that looks like a huntsman but its on a web. Cheers
Discovery Centre 15 July, 2014 14:02
Hi Vladimir, the image that you have sent us is a male and most likely a species from the family Miturgidae. These spiders are not known to sit in webs.
John 23 July, 2014 20:12
Hey I was bitten by a spider a few days ago and the area is getting darker even after cleaning it I was just hoping you could help me figure out if I need to see a doctor or not.
Helen 9 August, 2014 15:34
I'm having a debate with a friend re huntsmen vs daddy long legs spiders. She claims dll spiders are "lethal" to huntsmen. Puddin, who's been living with me for six months, seems to have cleaned up all my dlls. Who's deluded-me, my friend or Puddin the huntsman?
Discovery Centre 14 August, 2014 10:30
Hi Helen, good question and one that doesn't seem to come with a definitive answer. It is known that Daddy Long-legs Spiders can catch and kill huntsman spiders but then various species of huntsman spider will also feed on other spiders. It may simply come down to who is the 'better' spider on the day in the event of a meeting between a Daddy Long-legs and huntsman spider.  
Gary 15 August, 2014 01:00
My partner and I found a black house spider out the back and have been keeping a close eye on it every now and again but we have noticed a small (about the size of a 5 cent coin) black spider has come into it's territory and it refuses to take action almost acting scared. I've seen this spider kill and eat a wolf spider in three minutes literally tearing it apart but I don't understand why it's so afraid of this other small spider?
Discovery Centre 17 August, 2014 11:19

Hi Gary,

The smaller spider may be a male Black House Spider. Males are short-lived compared to females, and upon maturity the male will find a female's web and wait at the edge until she is ready to mate. This, however, doesn't explain the resident spider's behaviour.

Another option is that the new spider is a White-tailed Spider. The white spot on the abdomen of this species is not always obvious, particularly as the spider ages. Black House Spiders are a favoured prey of this species, which would explain why the resident is apparently 'acting scared'. However, generally there is nothing stopping a White-tailed Spider entering a Black House Spider's web and consuming it on the spot.

There may be other options, but the best way to determine what's happening is to send in a photo of the spiders.

Christine T 1 September, 2014 03:39
I have what I believe to be a Black House Spider has taken up residence on a spice rack on my kitchen window and it has created a web with funnel holes, It doesn't seem to move around very far just within its web, it's lived there for a month. How long do you think it will stay there for? I also worry that not many flies seem to land in it's web so what does it eat to stay alive? I'm quite happy to share so long as it doesn't grow too big! Any help or advice would be very grateful. Thank You
Discovery Centre 3 September, 2014 11:43
Hi Christine, the Black House Spider, Badumna insignis will live for around two years and the females won't get much larger than about 18mm. As you've noted the spiders tend to remain in the webs; the exception being when males go looking for a female. Even if she isn't catching large numbers of big flies she may be catching a range of smaller moths, flies and ants.  
Shayna 15 September, 2014 12:30
I found a black shiny spider on our porch. It has a large pearl colored body. I can't find anything like it online. It was around one inch in length. I have never seen one like this. I took a picture of it but I'm not sure how to upload it.
Discovery Centre 15 September, 2014 12:33
Hi Shayna, feel free to send your image to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au and if you can let us know where you took the photos, i.e. suburb or city, as location helps with the identification.
Caty Malo 20 October, 2014 23:53
That's a lie.. Black house spiders are very shy psssshhh I just found one in my bed, with me in it, trying to climb on my iPad screen while lying in bed. Guess who's not sleeping tonight...
Pip 22 October, 2014 16:08
Hi there, Under the pergola of my house there are heaps of funnel webs with what look like black house spiders. Are dangerous, we have a small dog and 2 cats and are very concerned about their welfare. And we love going outside to garden but are concerned about the growing number of these spiders. Is there any way to irradicate them from our property, is getting out of hand.
Discovery Centre 27 October, 2014 11:35
Hi Pip, Black House Spiders are a generally timid species and seem to retreat down the funnel of their web in the presence of danger. This makes interaction between them and pets less likely. You can destroy their webs and try to dissuade them but the reality is that as soon as you wreck the webs the spiders, (or others if you have killed the residents) are likely to start recolonising. 
belinda 3 December, 2014 03:41
Hi there, living in northern suburbs of melbourne we have frequent encounters of spiders in our home but are becoming more strange. Tonight we caught a spider resembling a white tale spider although it's body wasn't as long and had four dots on its abdomen with a red is tinge to its legs and strange large bulbous looking feelers (I thought they were fangs) seemed really aggressive walking high off the ground. What species to you think it could be? Can send a photo perhaps upon request! Thank you
Discovery Centre 6 December, 2014 14:38
Hi Belinda, from your description it could be Storena formosa, this is a spider with a black body, reddish legs and spots on the abdomen. Do a search for this species by image and see if it matches what you have seen. If not and you have an image please feel free to send it to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au
Glen 4 December, 2014 22:18
Hi there spider lovers! I have a pair of what I believe to be wolf spiders sharing my home with me atm. They are almost identical to every single wolf spider description that I have read. But they seem to have the ability to straighten their legs and stand, walk and even run like this. I would really love to get a definitive answer on this, as the internet has made 85% (you can never fully believe what you read lol). Thanks any help would be greatly appreciated. Glen.
LizzyBeth 8 January, 2015 21:00
Hi,I have been searching the net for names of spiders that carry their babies on their backs.All the sites say only Wolf spiders do this. Twice I have had to remove small brown spiders from inside to outside and babies have scurried from their backs. The spider/s look nothing like the images on the net of the Wolf spider. Is it true only one spider(the Wolf) carries their babies on their back? Im from Melb Australia.
Discovery Centre 17 January, 2015 14:40

Hi LizzyBeth, thanks for your enquiry.  The Wolf Spider is unique in carrying around its spiderlings.  There are many species of Wolf Spider, and their colouring varies.  You can read more about this interesting arachnid at:  http://australianmuseum.net.au/Wolf-Spiders

Daniel 13 February, 2015 22:39
Hi, I found a spider that was nasty looking under the eave outside the bedroom window. At first glance it looked like a huge whitetail(about 6 cm long) but when I caught it saw its abdomen looks more like a huntsman's. I hope the huntsman and white tails haven't joined forces! I sent some photos through so look forward to finding out what it is! (Great website by the way!)
rommeljun 24 February, 2015 20:13
hello, i am searching for different spider species as my study, i have seen same like species above but when i caught it and put into a disposable glass it died suddenly that is why im not sure if what kind of species those spider i've found, next time we will go again to our study site to take a picture for those spider it is merely like a wolf spider or huntman spider which have been living in fallen leaves or in ground. can you help me to identify those kind of species?
mathilda 1 April, 2015 23:12
I found a spider in my room it was small and had striped legs it looked like a whitetail but from the pictures ive seen it looks nothing like it it kinda freaked me out so plz help!!
Pauline 24 May, 2015 23:07
I live in suburban NE Melbourne. We had a car parked in our garage for over 12 months and it became infested with red back spiders. One night when I went out with a torch, I found 11 redbacks, varying from very large to quite tiny, suspended on webs from the car out to the ground. I have found lots of red backs around the garden, under plant pots, among vegetables like tomatoes, etc Are these excessive numbers of these spiders and should I do anything about reducing their numbers? Having been bitten by a black house spider today, I worry about walking into red backs (at night) that may be hanging off our other cars......I am sure they will have found refuge in the cars we drive as well.
Discovery Centre 26 May, 2015 15:23

Hi Pauline, Redback Spiders (Latrodectus hasselti) don't build large orb webs that you might walk through in your backyard at night, but instead build messy webs in concealed places, such as under plant pot rims or hidden corners in the shed. Wearing gloves and being careful when poking into dark corners will prevent most bites.

Like many spiders, Redback populations vary dramatically from place to place, depending on local conditions. In any year they can be abundant in one suburb and almost absent in the next, which appears to be the situation you're faced with.  Whatever the environmental conditions present in your garden, they seem to suit Redbacks this year, but may not next year, particularly with a cold winter.

Most people have a population of Redbacks in their gardens and sheds but because the spiders are well-concealed they go unnoticed. Your Redbacks may return to a 'normal' population next summer - in the meantime you can reduce their populations with the judicious use of pesticides, or an insecticide bomb inside the car. Make sure you read the labels of any insecticide carefully, and keep in mind that sometimes a chemical-free environment is better than a Redback-free one.

Charlene 26 May, 2015 20:08
Lifted up my dish towel this morning and found underneath a spider about size of a 10c piece and a half, big brown abdomen smallish head very very bright red legs. Living in ferntree gully victoria, never seen one like this before.
Discovery Centre 28 May, 2015 10:02
Hi Charlene, it is hard to say what it was without an image, sometimes the legs of the Slater-eating Spider, (Dysdera crocata) can be orange grading into a reddish colour. Some of the species of Orbweaver from the genus Eriophora do have red legs so that is probably more likely. If you see the spider again see if you can get some images and send them to discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au
Matthew 11 October, 2015 21:16
Hi love the info on this site. I live in Sydney aand was in my lounge room. It was raining outside and i noticed a spider running accross the floor about the size of a 10c piece. Once i sprayed it all these little babies ran off it and i had to spray them too. I picked up the bigger spider and it was black with a bit of a grey bum but not much different to the rest of it. Everything i look up says wolf spider however no pocture matches the one i saw that night any suggestions?
Discovery Centre 19 October, 2015 15:39

Hi Matthew - we checked with our Live Exhibits team, and they've responded as follows:

The spider you describe is definitely a Wolf Spider (Family Lycosidae). These are the only spiders likely to be in your area that carry the young on the female’s back. There are 167 species of Wolf Spiders recorded in Australia but there may well be more than 400 species when the final count is done, so it can be difficult to match the exact species you have against pictures on the internet. All Wolf Spiders are active hunters, running across the ground (and sometimes into houses) at night in search of prey. To help with this life style they tend to be a uniform brown, grey or black, sometimes with stripes or similar pattern, which means most species look like all other Wolf Spider species.

Aidan 20 October, 2015 10:46
Do you know of any spiders that have red legs, white furry fangs, and a yellow striped thorax( kind of like a wasp)? I just had one craw up my arm and I would like to know if its poisonous or not. Thanks
Discovery Centre 20 October, 2015 16:51
Hi Aidan - we can't provide any kind of identification without seeing the specimen ourselves; if you have a clear image you can send it to us via the Ask the Experts page, or you can bring the specimen to us in the Discovery Centre at any time during our opening hours, which are Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 4.30pm.
Tim 19 December, 2015 19:32
I keep Wolf spiders as pets, I have had varying degrees of success, and have found it hard to find more than general information on the species. For example, One female (Named Liriel) had about 3 loads of babies, each time her abdomen got smaller, then she died (was this normal?). We had a healthy adult female (no name she was only with us for a few days) who was super aggressive (she would kill every cricket we put in, and often would not eat them- unlike our other spiders who usually ignore the prey if they already are eating one) who died randomly. Our first ever spider lived almost a year (Named Cai), she was a very lazy hunter, but her abdomen got very fat. (I was unable to discover if i may have been over feeding her or if it is normal for the abdomen to swell so large?) Currently we have 2: (They are kept in separate terrariums) #1(Named Amberly) Is large, and her abdomen too is now very fat. She had a missing leg when I found her, but she is quite the efficient hunter #2 (Named Kistrel) Was found quite small, and has not grown in size at all. she nearly always refuses to eat, often her prey die and have to be removed. She also almost always stays in an enclosed hole in the ground. She has produced 2-3 egg sacs but no spider-lings. I usually feed them Pin-Head Crickets and small meal-worms once a week. (and the occasional bug that i find around the home) Is there any information or an expert i can talk to about my spiders? I have various pics of all spiders that I have kept.
Discovery Centre 28 December, 2015 10:27
Hi Tim, our manager of Live Exhibits has said there is not a lot of information available for Wolf Spiders (Family Lycosidae), even though they are one of the more prolific groups of spiders in Australia. There are 167 known species in Australia and an estimated 400 species yet to be discovered. They are common in habitats such as grasslands, alpine areas, sandy beaches etc, and are often the dominant spider group in arid areas across the centre of Australia and in WA. There is even less known about Wolf Spiders in captivity.

We’re not sure exactly how long they live, probably 1-3 years, and each batch of eggs produced takes its toll on females, particularly if the food supply is limited. Different species have different levels of ‘aggression’, activity levels and hunting techniques. Some remain around the burrows whilst others roam widely in search of prey at night. There are often also individual differences in behaviour and ecological tendencies within species, as well as between species. Females will only produce viable eggs if they have mated, although they may produce egg sacs that don’t hatch if they haven’t mated. The eggs remain in the egg sac for about two weeks and the hatchlings stay on the mother’s back for up to a month after emerging.

Dr Barbara Baehr at Queensland Museum is probably the best expert of Wolf Spiders in Australia at the moment.

Karen Hansen 31 January, 2016 21:55
I in a small country town on the edge of the Otways National Park. When I shifted into my Cal Bungalow in 2009, I had huntsman spiders. Over the past 6 years, they have been overtaken by the black house spider (lots of webs etc) and the huntsman pretty much are gone. I assume it is a territorial issue although I can't find any research on that. Will reintroducing huntsman spiders into my home overcome the infestation of black house spiders? (seriously, I am so over removing webs! And I love huntsman spiders, they are so chill). I would prefer to try that than spray, which in turn can cause problems for the local wildlife.
Discovery Centre 18 February, 2016 12:40

Hi Karen,

In nature, Black House Spiders (Badumna insignis) and Huntsmans (Isopeda species) share the same habitat, particularly on and under the bark of tree trunks. Neither preys preferentially on the other spider and both feed on the same sorts of insects, so there may be some level of competition between them. It’s more likely that the environment inside your house has changed in some subtle way (or a number of ways) that suits one group of spiders over the other. Black House Spiders can be relatively easily deterred by removing their webs – they commit a large amount of their resources to producing silk and as these resources are limited they will soon run out of the ability to produce silk. If you keep removing the webs wherever they appear, the spiders will depart and seek a more conducive location elsewhere.

Thomas 22 November, 2016 22:23
Hi, I live in Sunbury NW of Melbourne and was wondering how big wolf spiders grow as there have been some large ones in my back yard, some seem to be as big as huntsman spiders. There is a creek behind my back garden, could this be to reason?
Discovery Centre 15 December, 2016 16:16
Hi Thomas, apologies for the delay in getting back to you. According to the Australian Museum website wolf spiders can reach up to about 8cm in length; this would be from front leg tip to back leg tip. If you have water bodies nearby you may also be getting spiders from the family Pisauridae, commonly called water spiders. These can be 25mm in body length, plus the leg length.
Kathryn Dumaresq 27 January, 2017 23:30
Hi I found a spider in the house today that looked almost exactly like a white tail but in reverse. It was white with a black thin stripe down its back. It was probably the size of a 20c piece and was in the toilet i have never seen one before and googled but couldnt find a matching image and was too slow to get a photo should i be worried a out it being in my house😣? What is it? Please help Thanks
Discovery Centre 28 January, 2017 10:04
Hi Kathryn, unfortunately we can't hazard a guess based on a written description, but do feel free to email us with any pictures you manage to get if you see the spider again. It certainly sounds interesting! discoverycentre@museum.vic.gov.au
John 8 February, 2017 10:45
We often see Huntsman spiders in our house and they are welcome guests. Sometimes they seem to have cobwebs wound around their legs. Is this some sort of camouflage or have they become tangled in daddy longlegs webs? Is it harmful to them? And what's the best way to relocate Huntsmen to the garden without harming them? I hope you can help. Thank you.
Discovery Centre 15 February, 2017 14:03

Hi John,

It may be that the Huntsman you describe made the silk. Spiders are capable of producing many types of silk with different properties and for an array of functions. The ability to make silk is one of three main features that classify spiders - including the varieties of Huntsman. Spiders use silk for a variety of applications other than prey capture. Some female Huntsman produce silk to wrap eggs and leave the ‘ground sheet’ part behind after creating an egg sac.

You can read more about this at


To relocate spiders, place a container over the spider and slide paper or card gently under it. Then release the spider outside.

Daniel 21 March, 2017 00:10
Hi John, We have had some prolific web spinning around the windows and doors of our house over the last few months as well as many hatchings of medium sized spiders with an opaque appearance similar to a daddy long legs but pregnant females have only half the leg span at most of a daddy long legs and they have a larger orb/abdomen. I was also bitten on the face by a spider recently while asleep - this became septic and so I am keen to ID the criters swarms around our house at the moment. They are not on your Victorian list..
Chelsea 20 April, 2017 22:15
Hi! So am 27 years old, and have for most of my life believed that having 'daddy long legs' in your house is a good sign, because they eat white-tail spiders! Have just read up on the 'myth' that daddy long legs are the most poisonous spider but cant penetrate human skin because their fangs are too small. Have ALSO just read that white-tails arent as dangerous as people think! There is so much on the internet i dont know what to believe! What of my statements are true? False? Help if much appreciated! Chelsea
Discovery Centre 22 April, 2017 10:32
Hi Chelsea! The Australian Museum has a great spider facts sheet here which answers a lot of these questions: https://australianmuseum.net.au/spider-facts

In short, there's no reason to believe that the venom of daddy-long-legs is particularly potent, but they're not very good at biting people anyway. They do eat other spiders though - the infosheet above mentions redbacks particularly. It seems that the fearsome reputation that white-tailed spiders have for causing necrosis is misplaced. Here's the 2003 study many people are referring to at the moment, if you're interested! https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2003/179/4/white-tail-spider-bite-prospective-study-130-definite-bites-lampona-species
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