White-Tailed Spider: Cigar-Bodied Arachnid


First thing first, a white-tailed spider does not have a tail and we will discuss their appearance further below. For two decades, there were false beliefs regarding the danger that this arachnid can cause. However, they are not as dangerous as the myth because their bites are similar to those of a bee sting. Simply put, bites from a white-tailed spider do not cause flesh to rot at all. Since we are in the clear about their venom, we shall find out more about this spider species today.


A white-tailed spider has a body size of 1.8 centimeters with a leg span of 2.8 centimeters. Females are larger than males as a male’s body is only around 1.2 centimeters long. This slender spider has a cigar-shaped body that is dark reddish to gray in color with dark orange-brown banded legs. It also has two pairs of faint white spots on the top of its abdomen as well. As I have mentioned above, a white-tailed spider does not have a tail. It goes its name from the white spot at the end of its abdomen.


image: Mike Locke

The white-tailed spiders are not the docile arachnid to play with, they have a history of biting humans. Some of the effects of the bites are local itchiness, pain, red marks, and swelling. Depending on people, some bites can also cause headaches, malaise, nausea, or vomiting. There is very little evidence that their bites cause necrotic ulceration, so fear not. Their venom has no bacteria so at least you can rest assured that there is no infection from their bites. Just make sure to clean the biting site and use ice packs for the swelling, and you are good to go. And the good thing is they only bite when provoked, keep your distance and you’ll be fine.

3Feeding & Habitats

This thing is a vicious hunter that envenoms its prey before dragging them to their demise. No web spinning is needed, they are fast and strong enough to go out there and hunt food. The irony is that their most favorite meal is other spiders, especially black house spiders; speaking of cannibalism. Other food options on the menu include curtain-web spiders, daddy long legs, and redback spiders.

It is no longer a surprise knowing that something like this comes from nowhere else besides the land of horror, Australia. White-tailed spiders are native to eastern and southern Australia, living in various places even people’s homes. This is why it is not uncommon to come across them in folds of clothes and towels or shoes. Some of their common habitats are beneath bark and rocks and in bushes and leaf litter where they can hide and ambush. They like spending the night and warmer months indoors, so make sure to shake your shoes before putting them on. However, two-thirds of the victims found he spiders in bedclothes and clothing, make sure to shake those too.

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