That red stripe running down this arachnids back is not a left-over tattoo from a recent Halloween party. No, its the clear marking of our most dangerous and venomous garden creature, the Redback Spider. If you’re in any doubt to its legitimacy of being a garden thug then consider that it’s closest relative is the US Black Widow Spider!
I’m not one for wearing garden gloves as I still haven’t found a pair that enables me to feel my way through the dirt plus protect my hands at the same time. But, after weeding out some dead summer annuals yesterday, I’m reconsidering my stance on this protective gear.
Halfway along one of the summer borders I unearthed this Redback Spider clinging to the retaining wall – mere millimeters from where my hand had been. The chances of finding one of these around the home or in the garden are fairly rare, so after taking this photo, I considered how close I had come to danger.
I continued moving along the garden bed until, not more than one metre away, I came across another Redback. This time it was a little more aggressive and not surprising as it seemed to be protecting its bundles of eggs – each sac contains nearly 250 baby Redback Spiders and there were five sacs.
The chances of finding two Redbacks so close together are fairly remote and not being bitten by either one was even more fortunate.
How dangerous are Redback Spiders?
They can kill you. Fortunately since an antivenom has been discovered and stocked no-one has died but given the right conditions it’s still very possible. And even moreso with small children. Their slow moving venom can be really painful and while most people won’t die from their bite they will suffer excruciating pain and fever.
So, we don’t take any chances with these arachnids and they were unceremoniously squashed – eggs and all. I want my kids to embrace most spiders, even encouraging them to pick up or touch the safer ones and enjoy their beautiful characteristics. However, when it comes to these dangerous creatures I’m not about to risk my family for the sake of some environmentalists view of the world.