• 2020.12.15
  • Article
One of the first questions I get asked by people who find out I’m living in Australia now is whether I've seen kangaroos and koalas. Then, the second question they always ask me, especially the girls and the mothers of my Italian friends, is “How are the spiders over there?”
I must admit that I used to be a sort of an arachnophobe myself... in Europe a very common long-legged spider could easily freak me out but Australia…scaled down my fears! In Australia you need to live with spiders.
You do not have to love them or like them but, at some point, you will need to accept their presence and tolerate them.
And you will actually learn over time that the most visible they are, the better.
It means that the more visible they are, the bigger they are and the bigger they are, probably less dangerous they are too.
In Australia, in fact there are spiders as big as a toy car hanging from the leaves and branches of trees, they are common (but huge) spiders and they are not poisonous nor deadly so people live with them in a peaceful way.
Summer (December through February) is the breeding season for spiders and during the breading season (the one in which they reproduce) it is terrible and at the same fun to see newcomers screaming with fright seeing all these huge spiders and spider webs hanging from the trees.
I must say that the dreaded day also came for me during the spider breeding season once.
I was in my apartment and when I put my hand in the cupboard, I found a brown spider the size of my thumb in a package of pasta…one of those horrible ones with chubby legs.
Obviously, I screamed and ran out of the kitchen and luckily the spider disappeared never to be seen again!
The worst encounter was probably the one I had with a huntsman spider.
We were visiting the seaside house of a friend of mine, which had remained closed for the winter, and when we went in the kitchen there IT was! In a corner of the ceiling there was one of those hairy spiders that look like those you see in movies. The size of a tarantula, but with even longer legs, it took my breath away. I immediately ran to the bathroom, my friend knows they are not dangerous but he knows they can jump from one wall to the other so he said in a funny way “Ok, we are not cooking tonight! Let’s all go to the restaurant!” And he just left the back door open hoping the spider would leave in the meantime (it did) and burglars wouldn’t come in (they didn’t).
I think it’s a funny story and one of my most pleasant memories of my first months here in Australia.
I don't know why but it seems that Mother Nature has concentrated all the most dangerous animals on the planet right here in Australia.
Perhaps she thought she could preserve the beauty of this corner of the planet from the threat of man this way or perhaps she was simply looking for a place to set up her own biology laboratory. The fact is that those who want to take a trip to Australia or those who live here must deal with all these dangers on a daily basis sometimes.
The funnel-web spider is one of the most dangerous spiders in the world (or perhaps the most dangerous). It is found only in Sydney and its surroundings. This fearsome predator is black in colour and 1 to 5 centimetres long and is very aggressive. Its bite is one of the very few in the world capable of killing an adult man due to a powerful neurotoxin contained in its venom. Mysteriously, this toxin is only dangerous for primates, while it has no effects on pets.
Fortunately, it is not easy to meet a Funnel web spider because it practically lives in holes underground.
Its burrows are usually recognizable by the presence of two parallel furrows and a dense, funnel-shaped web.
Fortunately, the antidote exists and no deaths have been recorded since the 80s.


  • Alberto Ferrando
  • Jobcivil engineer

Hello everyone! I’m originally from Italy and I moved to Sydney, Australia, in 2012 after getting a job as a civil engineer. I love walking my dog along the beach, surfing and taking photos. I used to have a travel blog because I’m passionate about traveling and I love writing about it too. Sydney is my home base now and I wish to share how amazing it is to live here. I love to spend time outdoors and I’m always well informed about local events because my girlfriend works in event management.

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