The Truth About White Tail Spiders

The Truth About White Tail Spiders

The Truth About White Tail Spiders

White tail spiders have gained a notorious reputation for their alleged dangerous bites. But is there truth to these claims, or are they simply misunderstood creatures?

With myths and misconceptions surrounding white tail spiders, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Understanding the truth about these spiders is essential for dispelling fear and misinformation.

In this article, we will explore the facts about white tail spiders, debunk common myths, and provide valuable information about their behaviour and bites. Through an examination of scientific research and insights, readers will acquire a comprehensive comprehension of these creatures, distinguishing fact from sensationalized conjecture. By adopting a nuanced perspective, this exposition aspires to furnish an equitable portrayal of White-tailed Spiders, shedding light on their ecological relevance and actual implications within human settings.

Let’s uncover the truth behind these often misunderstood creatures.

Key Takeaways

  • White-tailed Spiders have a dark reddish to grey, cigar-shaped body and dark orange-brown banded legs, with a grey dorsal abdomen bearing two pairs of faint white spots.
  • They are vagrant hunters that live beneath bark and rocks, in leaf litter, logs, and detritus in various habitats.
  • White-tailed Spiders are most active at night and feed on other spiders, such as curtain-web spiders, daddy-long-legs spiders, Redback Spiders, and black house spiders.
  • Despite controversially being implicated in causing severe skin ulceration in humans, studies have found no evidence of ulceration resulting from White-tailed Spider bites.

White Tail Spider Identification

Identifying white-tailed spiders (L. Cylindrata) involves examining their physical characteristics, including body coloration and leg markings. These spiders, such as Lampona cylindrata and Lampona murina, have a dark reddish to grey, cigar-shaped body with dark orange-brown banded legs and come in a variety of species.

The grey dorsal abdomen displays two pairs of faint white spots or white patches, with a more distinct white spot at the tip, while the male has a hard, narrow plate on the front of the abdomen.

Female white-tailed spiders have an abdomen size of approximately 18mm, while males are around 12mm not including their leg span. These vagrant hunters can be found beneath bark, rocks, leaf litter, logs, and detritus in bush, gardens, and houses.

White tip spiders are most active at night, preying on spiders like curtain-web spiders, daddy-long-legs spiders, redback spiders, and black house spiders. To differentiate between male and female white-tailed spiders, one can observe their size and abdominal markings.

In case of a white-tail spider infestation, removing their webs and catching any visible spiders can help manage their presence effectively.

What Does a White Tail Spider Look Like?

Identifying White Tail Spiders

  • Dark reddish-grey cigar-shaped bodies.
  • Orange-brown banded legs.
  • A white spot at the tip of their abdomen.
  • Males measure approximately 12mm.
  • Female spiders measure around 18mm.

Recognising these physical features is helpful for distinguishing them from other spiders such as the Huntsman Spider and clarifying misconceptions about their appearance and potential threat.

Are White Tail Spiders Dangerous?

The reality is far from it. Despite widespread beliefs, there is no substantial evidence to support the notion of these spiders causing flesh-rotting injuries. On the contrary, recent studies provide compelling evidence to refute such claims.

Misconceptions surrounding white-tailed spiders persist, often fuelled by sensational media coverage. A recent incident, featured a sensational headline claiming a man lost his legs due to a white-tailed spider bite. However, there was no concrete evidence linking the spider to the reported infection.

Despite subsequent debunking by experts, the public remained gripped by fear, exacerbated by misleading headlines.

In a 2004 article published in The Lancet, Geoff highlighted the enduring prevalence of these misconceptions despite the lack of substantial evidence.

What’s more alarming is the perpetuation of these misconceptions within the medical community itself. According to Geoff, misdiagnoses of white-tailed spider bites are not uncommon. A study conducted in 2004, co-authored by Geoff, examined nine cases where patients were diagnosed with either a white-tail spider bite or ‘necrotic arachnidism.’ However, none of these cases were attributed to white-tailed spider bites upon further investigation.

One of the aspects to address regarding white-tailed spiders is their potential danger to individuals.

Here are important points to consider when evaluating the danger of white-tailed spiders:

  1. White-tailed spider bites can result in initial burning pain, swelling, and itchiness at the site of the bite.
  2. While there have been reports of and is a common perception, welts, blistering, or local ulceration, known as necrotising arachnidism (spider bite necrosis), these conditions are occasionally associated with white-tailed spider bites.
  3. Notably, there is no confirmed evidence that white-tailed spider venom can cause severe ulceration or result in fatalities although they can cause severe pain.

Understanding the potential effects of white-tailed spider bites can help individuals make informed decisions about treatment and prevention strategies.

How Poisonous Are White Tip Spiders?

The toxicity of white tip spiders can vary depending on the species and individual circumstances. White-tailed spiders primarily prey on other spiders like curtain-web spiders, daddy-long-legs, redback spiders, black house spiders and other common Australian spiders.

They are not aggressive towards humans and only bite if provoked. When bitten, symptoms include immediate burning, mild swelling, and an itchy red mark – similar to a bee sting. Contrary to common misconceptions, white tail spiders are not considered a venomous spider, well enough to cause severe harm or death to humans.

It is advisable not to kill white tail spiders as they play a role in controlling other spider populations. In the case of a white tail spider bite, basic first aid should be administered, and medical attention sought if symptoms worsen.

White Tail Spider Bite Symptoms

Symptoms Of A White Tail Spider Bite May Include

Symptoms of a white-tail spider bite typically include an immediate burning sensation at the site of the bite, followed by mild swelling and an itchy red mark.

  1. Immediate Burning Sensation: The affected area experiences a sudden burning feeling upon being bitten by a white-tailed spider.
  2. Mild Swelling: Following the initial burning sensation, mild swelling may occur around the bite mark.
  3. Itchy Red Mark: An itchy red mark is likely to develop at the site of the bite, causing discomfort to the individual.

These symptoms are commonly associated with white tail spider bites and are usually mild in nature. If you suspect you have been bitten by a white-tailed spider and experience these symptoms, it is advisable to clean the area with mild soap and water, apply a cold compress to reduce swelling, and seek medical attention if any severe reactions occur.

How to Treat White Tail Spider Bites

To address white tail spider bites effectively

  1. Immediate cleaning of the affected area with mild soap and water is recommended to avoid bacterial infections and long term skin infections.
  2. After cleaning, apply a cold compress to reduce pain and swelling.
  3. Elevating the affected limb can also help.
  4. Over-the-counter pain relievers and antihistamines can alleviate discomfort.
  5. Keep the bite site clean and dry to prevent infection.
  6. Avoid scratching the area to prevent further irritation.
  7. If the bite shows signs of infection, such as increasing pain, redness, or discharge, seek medical attention promptly.

Medical treatment may include antibiotics for infected white tail spider bites. In most cases, white tail spider bites resolve on their own within a few days. If symptoms persist or worsen, consult a healthcare professional for evaluation and appropriate management.

Remember, most white tail spider bites are mild and do not cause severe symptoms but in the case of an allergic reaction, it could be deadly. Sometimes, in some people the effects of bites can cause Anaphylaxis, which is to be treated as a medical emergency and should be treated at the emergency department.

Where White Tail Spiders Are Found?

In locations where white tail spiders are commonly found, they tend to thrive in diverse environments, both natural and man-made. Here are three key points about where white tail spiders are typically located:


White-tailed spiders are vagrant hunters that reside beneath bark, rocks, leaf litter, logs, and detritus in various settings such as bushes, gardens, and houses.

Geographical Distribution

The white tail spider, particularly Lampona cylindrata, can be spotted across southern Australia, including regions like south-east Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and southern Western Australia. Lampona murina (L. Murina) is present in eastern Australia, ranging from north-east Queensland to Victoria.

Indoor Presence

White tail spiders are adaptable to both bush and urban environments. They have been observed lurking in homes, especially during warmer months, primarily to prey on black house spiders. Despite their presence indoors, white tail spiders are not aggressive towards humans but may bite if accidentally provoked.

Inside Whit tips are commonly found under washing piles, shoes and in dark spaces.

White Tail Spider Behaviour

These types of spiders exhibit nocturnal behaviour as they actively hunt for prey, primarily targeting other spiders in various environments. They are known to travel in pairs, especially during mating season.

When it comes to juvenile white tail spiders, they often stay close to their mothers for protection until they reach maturity. White tips are commonly found in Australia, where they play a very important role in controlling the population of other common species.

Although white tail spiders have a bad reputation due to misconceptions about their bites, they are not aggressive towards humans and only bite when threatened. The first stage of a white tail spider bite may cause initial burning pain and mild swelling, similar to a bee sting. Despite sensationalised reports, there is limited evidence to suggest that white tail spider bites lead to severe skin ulceration.

White Tail Spider Diet

The diet of white tail spiders primarily consists of other spider species, their favoured prey are curtain-web spiders, daddy-long-legs spiders, Redback Spiders, black house spiders and other species of spiders.

Preferred Prey of White Tail Spiders:

  1. Curtain-web spiders (Dipluridae)
  2. Daddy-long-legs spiders (Pholcidae)
  3. Redback Spiders (Theridiidae)

White tail spiders are most active during the night, hunting for their favoured prey. They are commonly found around houses, benefiting from sheltered areas and a good supply of black house spiders to feed on.

Are White Tail Spiders Dangerous

Upon analysis of their behaviour and bites, White Tail Spiders are generally considered to be not highly dangerous to humans. White tail spider bites can cause initial burning pain, swelling, and itchiness at the bitten area. Occasionally, there are unconfirmed reports of weals, blistering, or local ulceration, a condition known as necrotising arachnidism.

But! A recent study monitoring over 100 verified White Tail Spider bites found no cases of ulceration. Skin ulceration is not a common outcome of a White Tail Spider bite.

Most white-tail spider bites occur indoors and are usually not provoked, with victims often finding spiders in bedclothes or clothing.

White Tail Spider Reproduction

The reproductive cycle of white-tailed spiders involves the female laying up to 90 eggs in disc-shaped egg sacs.

  1. Egg Laying: Female white-tailed spiders can lay up to 90 eggs at a time in disc-shaped egg sacs, providing a safe environment for the eggs to develop.
  2. Incubation Period: The eggs typically have an incubation period during which they are protected until they hatch into spiderlings (baby spiders!)
  3. Maternal Care: Once the eggs hatch, the mother spider provides some level of care to the baby white tail spiders, ensuring their initial survival.

The reproductive process of white-tailed spiders  maintain their population. By laying numerous eggs and protecting them in egg sacs, these spiders ensure the continuation of their species. The maternal care provided after hatching contributes to the survival of the spiderlings, aiding in their growth and development.

How to Prevent White Tail Spider Infestations?

To prevent white tail spider infestations, implementing proper household cleanliness practices is essential. Regularly vacuuming, dusting, and decluttering can help eliminate hiding spots for white tail spiders.

Seal any cracks or crevices in walls, floors, and windows to prevent their entry. Keep outdoor areas tidy by trimming vegetation and removing debris where spiders can hide.

Avoid leaving clothing, shoes, or towels on the floor, as these can be attractive hiding spots for white tails. Consider using pest control measures such as insecticides or natural repellents to deter spiders from entering your home.

If you suspect a white tail spider infestation, contact a professional pest control service for assistance. By maintaining a clean and well-maintained household, you can significantly reduce the risk of white tail spider infestations and minimise the chances of a spider bite.

White Tail Spider Myths Vs Facts

Myth: White-tailed spiders are venomous and their bites always lead to skin necrosis and damage to skin.
Fact: White-tailed spiders are not considered highly venomous, and ulcerative skin lesions is not a common outcome of their bites.

Myth: All definite white-tail spider bites are caused by white-tailed spiders.
Fact: White-tailed spider bites are often misdiagnosed, and not all skin reactions are a result of their bites.

Myth: All white-tailed spider bites require immediate medical attention.
Fact: While some bites may cause mild symptoms and mild effects like burning and itching, severe reactions are rare, and medical attention is usually not necessary unless symptoms persist or worsen.

Why do I have white tip spiders in my house?

Vagrantly roaming at night, white-tailed spiders can be commonly found in houses, especially in warmer months.

Reasons for White Tail Spiders in Houses:

  1. Prey Presence: White-tailed spiders are attracted to houses due to the abundance of their favoured prey, such as black house spiders.
  2. Shelter: They seek shelter in the nooks and crannies of homes, providing them with protection and a place to lay eggs.
  3. Urban Adaptability: Being adaptable to urban environments, white-tailed spiders easily find their way indoors while hunting for other spiders.

These factors contribute to the presence of white-tailed spiders in houses, making encounters with them more likely during certain times of the year.

White Tail Spider Lifespan

The white-tailed spiders have a lifespan ranging from approximately one to three years, depending on various factors such as environmental conditions and availability of prey.

These spiders, including the Lampona cylindrata species found in South Australia, typically live for one to three years. The common household spider is known to be an active hunter that actively seek prey such as redback spiders.

During the warmer months, white-tailed spiders are more active and can be commonly found in and around houses where they search for shelter and prey like black house spiders.

White-tailed spiders, like Lampona cylindrata, do not usually engage in definite bites towards humans unless provoked.

Understanding the lifespan and behaviour of white-tailed spiders can help dispel myths surrounding their major effects on humans.

White Tail Spider and Pets

In relation to pets, white-tailed spiders are not typically aggressive and do not pose a significant threat to animals. However, it is essential to be cautious and aware of potential risks. Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Low Aggression: White-tailed spiders are not known to be aggressive towards pets, and most interactions are accidental rather than intentional.
  2. Risk of Spider Bites: Although white-tailed spiders are not considered highly venomous, bites by spiders can sometimes result in mild symptoms such as localised pain, swelling, and itchiness in pets.
  3. Monitoring and Care: If a pet shows any signs of discomfort or unusual symptoms after a suspected spider bite, it is advisable to seek veterinary advice promptly. While not considered dangerous spiders and severe skin ulceration after spider bite or necrotic lesions from white-tail spider bites are rare, careful monitoring and expert spider identification can help ensure the well-being of pets.

White Tail Spider Control and Removal

Controlling and removing white tail spiders can be achieved by actively catching and eliminating any visible spiders around your house and by removing the webs of the spiders that they prey on. It is essential to address both the spiders themselves and their food sources to effectively manage their presence in your living spaces. By implementing these strategies, you can create a less hospitable environment for white tail spiders and reduce the likelihood of encounters.

How To Get Rid of White Tail Spiders?

To effectively manage white tail spiders, regularly inspect and address potential entry points into your home. Here are three key steps to control and remove white tail spiders:

  1. Remove Clutter: Declutter your home and yard to eliminate potential hiding spots for white tail spiders. Clear away leaf litter, logs, and detritus where these spiders typically reside.
  2. Seal Entry Points: Seal cracks, gaps, and crevices in walls, doors, and windows to prevent white tail spiders from entering your living spaces.
  3. Professional Pest Control: Consider hiring a pest control service specialising in white tail spider removal if the infestation is severe or persistent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can White-Tailed Spiders Harm Pets if They Are Bitten?

White-tailed spiders can potentially harm pets if bitten, causing local symptoms like burning, swelling, and itchiness. Owners should monitor their pets for any adverse reactions and seek veterinary care if necessary to ensure proper treatment.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a White-Tailed Spider?

The average lifespan of a white-tailed spider ranges from one to two years. These spiders typically live for a relatively short period, with most individuals completing their life cycle within this timeframe.

Are There Any Natural Predators of White-Tailed Spiders?

Natural predators of white-tailed spiders include birds, larger spiders, and some insects. These predators may feed on white-tailed spiders as part of their diet, helping to control the population of these spiders in their natural habitats.

Do White-Tailed Spiders Have Any Unique Behaviours Compared to Other Spiders?

White-tailed spiders exhibit unique behaviour by being vagrant hunters that prefer to roam at night instead of spinning webs. They feed on other spiders and are known to inhabit both natural and urban environments, including homes.

Is There Any Correlation Between the Presence of White-Tailed Spiders and Certain Environmental Factors?

The presence of white-tailed spiders may correlate with environmental factors such as access to prey, shelter, and suitable habitats like bush, gardens, and houses. Understanding these associations can aid in managing spider populations effectively.

The Wrap Up

If you’re concerned about white tail spiders in your home and want to protect your family and pets, don’t hesitate to take action. Consider reaching out to The Local Guys Pest Control for professional help in managing and preventing white tail spider infestations. Visit our website or call us on 13 11 05 today to schedule an inspection and secure peace of mind in your living space. Let us help you create a safe and spider-free environment for you and your loved ones.

The information presented on this webpage provides general knowledge about Australian spiders and potential treatments. It is important to note that this content is not meant to serve as medical advice. In the case of a medical emergency, please dial 000 promptly and adhere to the provided guidance.