Latrodectus hasselti

There was a Redback on the toilet seat when I was there last night.
I didn't see him in the dark but, boy, I felt his bite.
The Redback on the Toilet Seat, Slim Newton, 1972.

The Redback Spider is one of the most well known spiders in Australia. Its notoriety can be mainly attributed to its venomous bite and the fact that it can be found almost anywhere in Australia. The redback is a close relative of the Black Widow Spider of Northern America, the only visual difference between the two being the redback's signature red stripe. The stripe runs from under the tail over the top of the abdomen, and is usually about 1/3 as wide as the body of the spider. The stripe's colour can vary from scarlet to almost orange. Males usually have a less pronounced stripe, have a lighter coloured body and are about half the size of females. Only the females are venomous.

Redbacks are most often found in urban areas, and prefer dark, dry habitats. A redback's web is usually a tangled messy affair, not your typical 'geometric wonder' spider's web. This can make their lairs easier to spot. Common places to find redbacks include: sheds, outdoor toilets, potted plants, logs, junk-piles, etc.

Daddy longlegs spiders and White-tailed Spiders are known to catch and kill Redback Spiders.

Redbacks usually feed on insects, but have been known to capture larger prey, including small lizards and other larger spiders.

Redback bites occur frequently in Australia, and have caused deaths, although since the introduction of an antivenom no more have occurred. Redbacks don't often leave their webs, so unless you poke her in the head, she'll leave you alone.

Early symptoms of a redback bite include severe pain, sweating, weakness, vomiting, and nausea.

If bitten, apply a cold pack to relieve pain. Do not pressure bandage. Seek medical attention.

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