6 Scary Spiders In Sydney – A Web of Lies or A Real Threat?

Everyone has heard someone say “Australia looks so good, but I wouldn’t like the spiders!”. Yes, there are some crazy Australian spiders in the outback and rainforests but spiders in Sydney are a lot less common. I’m not saying you won’t see any, I’m just saying it’s not an everyday or weekly occurrence.

I’m not going to lie, I was scared that Sydney was going to be crawling with the creeps before I moved here. It is still crawling with some creeps, and by that I mean cockroaches. But they are harmless.

I have been so surprised and a lot calmer than I thought I would be about spiders here. In Sydney, I have seen huntsman spiders (the huge ones you normally see in scary videos) only twice in my whole time here and once on a trip to the Blue Mountains.

If you are really anxious then you can take a trip to Australian Reptile Park where the spiders in this article, like the Sydney funnel-web spiders can be found. Look at them from a safe distance and learn how to handle one if they come close so you can relax into your awesome Australian life.

Before moving, I was researching native spiders like mad so I could be prepared! That’s why this article should prepare yourself as an expat or traveller and beat the nerves like I did.

The 6 Most Common Spiders in Sydney

1. Huntsman Spiders

<em>Chris Hemsworth face to face with a huntsman spider<em>

Let’s get this one out the way first as it’s most likely one you will have heard of as one of the most common spiders! My friends would send me videos of huntsman spiders jumping across the room with captions like “Are you sure you want to move to Australia?”. Cool, thanks, guys!

While a huntsman spider can get quite large (legspans up to 12 inches apparently!), the majority are closer to 3-4 inches body length. Also, just to reassure you that despite the viral videos, they rarely jump at humans.

These spiders don’t build webs but hunt prey. They tend to live outdoors but can wander indoors sometimes. Huntsmans are not aggressive unless provoked. If you see one, you just need to gently guide it outside with a broom or cup. Their venom is toxic to insects but has little effect on humans.

They do shock you when they scurry across your room but remember that huntsman spiders want to avoid humans. I’ve only seen one inside once, the other time was when I opened my garage and it was on my car. It was about the size of my hand so not massive. I flicked it off with a broom and it ran away from me as fast as it could. Expat – 1, Spider – 0.

2. Sydney Funnel Web Spider


Now, this dangerous spider is something you should be aware of even if a sighting is extremely rare.

But before you read on, just know that there have been no deaths from spiders in Australia since 1979.

While most Australian spiders want nothing to do with humans, the Sydney Funnel Web spiders actively seek us out! Luckily, the poisonous spider is mostly found in moist, cool areas like rock crevices so your hot Sydney house should be safe!

This large black spider has a shiny hard back and downward-facing spinnerets on the end of their belly. Aggressive and fast-moving, they will rear up and display their fangs if threatened so if you suspect you have seen one, call an expert pest control straight away. They belong to the mouse spiders species which is known for the way they scurry across the floor like mice.

Can you survive a Sydney funnel web spider bite?

Yes, it is more than possible to survive a bite from one of the most venomous spiders in the world. It has caused 13 deaths in Australia but not since the anti venom was invented in 1981 (phew).

3. Redback Spider


Probably another one you will have heard of before coming to Australia – The redback spiders are one of the most infamous in Australia and around the world.

You will know if you see one of these venomous dangerous spiders as the females will have a distinctive red stripe on their black bodies (shiver). Males are small and dark brown so not as easy to identify. But, just know that they are commonly found in dark and sheltered areas such as garden sheds, garages, and outdoor furniture.

While redback spider bites can be painful and cause discomfort, they are rarely life-threatening. Just be cautious when handling things in potentially spider-infested areas and wear gloves. If bitten, get medical attention, but remember that anti-venom is available.

4. Black house spiders


Black house spiders are often found in Sydney and other parts of Australia but are relatively harmless. These dark-coloured spiders have adapted well to humans so are frequently found in and around homes (yay for us!).

Though their appearance may be intimidating, black house spiders are not considered dangerous at all to humans. They prefer to build messy cobwebs in sheltered corners and are very interested in catching insects. While their bite can cause local pain, it is generally non-lethal.

For travellers moving to Sydney, encountering black house spiders is a part of local wildlife and maybe on the checklist to call yourself a proper Sydneysider!

5. Garden orb-weaving spiders


Now, even if you are scared of spiders, I think there is something to love about this one. These webbing spiders are so docile and all they want to do is built the biggest orb weave in your garden and catch mosquitos, how nice is that? Trust me, when you move here you will hate mosquitos more than spiders so I will take an orb-weaving spider any day!

They do get quite big at 5 inches legspan and are bright yellow and black but knowing they are harmless makes it easier to cope. Their huge circular webs catch more than mosquitos too, insects and flies get stuck in them so all our love to garden orb-weaving spiders!

6. Wolf Spiders


A wolf spider! Sounds massive! Don’t fear, they don’t usually grow bigger than 2 inches. Their name relates to the way spiders live; they chase down prey (like wolves), rather than building webs like other spiders.

Their powerful venom is harmful for insects but poses little threat to humans, unless allergic. Bites may cause mild pain and swelling but usually goes away on their own. Wolves often wander indoors accidentally when they get a little lost. Simply corral them into a cup and release them outside, bless them.

They help control household pests, and can chase down the horrible cockroaches found in Sydney. Which, let’s be honest are more common and icky than any spider! So wolf spiders could actually be nice to have in your garden making friends with the garden orb-weaving spider. The wolves can chase down any insects that don’t get lost in the web, spider teamwork!

The final weave on Sydney Spiders


While Australian spiders have a terrible reputation around the world, take it from me – the ones in Sydney are not so bad! Once you learn to identify the truly dangerous ones like the Sydney Funnel Web spider, you’ll realise most spiders here want nothing to do with us humans.

You may even come to love having the cool ones like the orb-weavers and wolves in your garden catching the mosquitos! Maybe you won’t come to love the not-so-itsy-bitsy huntsman spider, but you may be calm when you realise the majority don’t jump but instead run away from you. The broom will become your best friend in shooing them away.

Don’t let spider anxiety spoil your enjoyment of this incredible country.

Be cautious and aware of a venomous spider of course, but remember that you are probably safest in Sydney surrounded by millions of humans they want to stay away from.

Check out this How To Identify A Poisonous Spider Chart if you’re concerned about them while living in Sydney.

More Sydney guides to read


If you’re new to Sydney, check out these popular guides to help you settle in.

30 Best Tourist Attractions In Sydney

30 Best Day Trips From Sydney

Best Breakfast Spots In Sydney

10 Best Places To Watch The Sunrise In Sydney

Spiders In Sydney


Co-Founder and Editor
  1. I didn’t even notice those were fake spiders! This post totally reflects my thoughts about moving to Sydney. I am still in Copenhagen and screamed like a little girl when I saw one the other day so let’s see how I do when I first face a huntsman…

  2. Came here as part of a quest to try to identify a brown spider I’ve seen in my front yard. I’m glad you’d only seen one spider as of 2016. As a Sydney sider (not spider) I frequently see spiders of various kinds. Within a year I would see between 3 to 6 huntsmans inside my townhouse (reasonably harmless so I always let them cohabit). Tonight I found a Redback in the lounge (which are venomous but don’t kill as anti-venom is available). We did kill it. Generally speaking I do not kill spiders but thought having a Redback in close proximity not a good idea. Have never seen a funnel web (the most dangerous of Sydney spiders) but they are supposedly around. Most other spiders are pretty harmless.

  3. I was so bemused after reading this. You’re clearly not looking hard-enough for spiders. Spiders are EVERYWHERE in Sydney, and Red-Back spiders are in-fact very common. Just look under any outdoor seat, bus stop, in the corner of your garage. Ok maybe if you live in a unit (apartment) say 10 floors up you may not see a spider as much, but I bet you still will come across the odd one here and there.
    Reality is they keep to themselves and is nothing to be freaked out about. Oh and if you see a really messy looking spider web, chances are its a red-back cause either their webs are genious, or they are just plain lazy lol.

    1. No way! I have literally seen 2 huntsmans in Australia. Seen one redback but it was right in the middle of the outback. But it’s true, if you’re looking for spiders, you’re more than likely start seeing them! Good job I wasn’t looking so much 😉

  4. Red backs the second most venomous spider in the world?! Please get your facts right. They are venomous but not that venomous. The funnel web on the other hand is deadly but there is an anti venom. Lift up any brick or stone in an average Sydney garden and you will probably find red backs. If you live in a new apartment block in the city you’re less likely to experience many insects. I’ve lived in older places that have been riddled with cockroaches but spiders tend to come out when it’s warm and wet. Less likely to see much in cooler climates at altitude

  5. Wow, you’ve just been very lucky to only have one huntsman, or maybe you live in a relatively new well sealed building or without a garden (?). I live in Randwick in an old federation house with a large garden and I typically have about 5-8 Huntsman encounters a year, most inside the house. We had one in the house just yesterday actually.

    Doesn’t sound like you’ve done much gardening either. I have many red back encounters in the garden. You’ll find them living under rocks and such. We had a pile of old wood and bricks down the end of the garden and you were almost guaranteed to find a red back under that lot.

    And here’s a horror story for you from my childhood: We had a swing set in the garden and my little sister was playing on the swings. Then I notice hundreds of baby hatchling red backs on her legs. I go running up to mum screaming “there are red backs all over Trina!!!” Can you imagine how my mum felt in that moment. She runs down with the insect spray and sprays my sister (!) and the swings. A big fat momma red back comes out from her nest under the swing seat! They can kill a young child. Luckily my sister didn’t get bitten. This was in the same Randwick house in Sydney that I live now. So please please don’t tell people there are no red backs in Sydney. I think its actually a dangerous falsehood.

  6. Hey. In the interest of managing expectations; there are plenty of redbacks in Sydney. They live under garden furniture, in bricks and in the dark recesses of barbeques. Just don’t put your hand anywhere you can’t see. Sydney is also home to the deadliest spider in the world, the Sydney funnel web. These are mainly concentrated around Hornsby, Kuringai Chase, and down in the Sutherland Shire. That said, I lived in Oz for 40+ years (20 in Sydney) and was never even bitten by a spider. On a pedantic note “Venomous” refers to creatures that inject toxins into you. “Poisonous” refers to something that will make you sick if you eat it. A redback is venomous. A puffer fish is poisonous.

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