• White-tailed (or white-tipped) spiders have a dull black, cylindrical body with a distinctive white spot at the end of their abdomen.
• Females are larger than males, have a plump abdomen and grow up to 20 mm long. Males are thinner and grow to about 12 mm long.
• Adult white-tailed spiders have reddish legs and two pairs of faint white spots on the top of the abdomen. Less mature spiders have striped legs with more distinct white spots which fade with age.
• They are commonly found in homes and other buildings, although their natural habitat is under rocks, fallen timber and bark in gardens and in bush land.
• White-tailed spiders live on the ground and lay eggs in a chamber lined with silk in a dark sheltered place. They do not live in a web but wander slowly in search of prey, which mostly consists of other spiders.
• During the day they seek dark places to hide before emerging at night to feed.
• White-tail spiders will shelter under almost anything including clothes left on the floor overnight and bed coverings. They can often travel in to the home in a washing basket placed on the grass outside.
• White-tail spider bites result in localised pain, redness and swelling which may last from a few hours to a few days, although in some cases the symptoms are more severe.
• This spider has a bad reputation however there is no proof that its bite causes long-term tissue damage. Infection and ulceration of a bite wound can often be due to the bacteria on their fangs from a previous meal.
White Tail Spider Bite Prevention
• Be cautious when bringing in clothes or rugs that have been left on the ground outsid
• Wear gloves when gardening.
• Know potential areas where they frequent.
• Avoid leaving clothes on the floor overnight.
• Check under bed coverings before getting into bed.
• Keep the patient calm and still.
• Wash the area well to remove any remaining venom.
• Apply a wrapped ice-pack or a cold compress and elevate the limb.
• Carefully collect the spider for identification (even if squashed)
• Seek medical advice as soon as possible.