Dealing with unwelcome guests in your house (part 1)

by Chris Lang on April 17, 2009

Arachnophobia - fear of spidersWhat you’re about to read is not another article about Aussie real estate or the first home buyers – it is about spiders. You may rightfully ask “what spiders have to do with a real estate blog” and my answer is “they live in your piece of real estate and you need to learn to co-exist”.

I am afraid of spiders. Correction: I am not afraid, I am terrified of spiders. This was my only issue with this beautiful country ever since I arrived – the amount of spiders that a person keeps discovering in their house – supposedly the safest place on Earth.

To keep this phobia under control I follow the old saying: “Know your enemy”. For me this is the only way to stop freaking out every time such unwelcome guest crawls out of some dark corner.

I have compiled a list of the venomous and not so venomous spiders that you can find in Victoria, with pictures, symptoms if they bite and suggested treatment. It should help you to identify the spider (and then spray it), and if it bites anyone you care about, to know how to deal with the wound before you rush to the hospital.

And now the “getting to know your enemy” part – prepare for some scary pictures. People with heart diseases, pregnant women and children, kindly leave the computer screen or proceed at your own risk 🙂

Huntsmen spiderHuntsmen Spider

This is a large spider, with body length of 16-20mm (plus legs), it is famous for hiding in the cars (whenever you forget to close the window) and then unexpectedly jumping on your dashboard. How cute. It occasionally comes into houses, leaving it’s normal hiding place – foliage and trunks of trees.

Symptoms if bites

Local severe pain and swelling, sweating, nausea and vomiting. Not deadly.


Firmly apply a compression bandage first around the bite site and then around the whole limb. Immobilize the limb with a splint to delay venom absorption. If you don’t have enough material to cover the whole limb, apply a broad tourniquet to the limb, it is better than nothing—and keep the person from moving.

Black house spiderBlack House Spider

Mostly found in the corners of windows and door frames. Their web has a form of a funnel but they are not the famous Funnel Web Spider, people call them the Window spiders. As the name suggest, they are black, big, with body length 10-20mm and hairy legs.

Symptoms if bites

Nausea, sweating, localized pain and swelling. Not Deadly.


Same as for Huntsmen.

Update: Part 2 of dealing with spiders is here.

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