Tiny but mighty
Redback spiders have a deadly reputation for a good reason.
These spiders are highly venomous, a single bite will cause intense pain – sometimes for days, sweating, headaches and vomiting. It is unlikely to be lethal, but always best to get medical advice immediately. In Australia around 2,000 people a year are bitten by redbacks.
If you do get bitten by a suspected redback spider, antivenom is not regularly used and first aid is recommended instead.
- Wash the area and keep it clean
- Call the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26
- If symptoms are severe, go to the nearest hospital
- It is usually not necessary to call an ambulance
- Do NOT apply a pressure immobilisation bandage
The redback’s dangerous antics don’t stop there – the females also eat their male partners as they are mating with them. Yikes!
You can recognise an adult female because the the distinct black body and red stripe. The male redbacks do not have this obvious marking and are usually light brown with white marks instead.