A redback spider has a red mark on its back. These spiders are found everywhere in Australia. Females make a funnel-shaped web. Redback spiders eat insects.
Their bite is poisonous to people.


Spiders are not insects, they are arachnids. They have 8 legs (insects have 6 legs).

Female redback spiders have shiny black bodies with an orange or red stripe on the upper abdomen. A female's body is about the size of a large pea. Males are smaller and are brown. Their red markings are often pale. Redback spiders have long, thin legs.

Redback spiders are more common in warmer weather.


Redback spiders live in most parts of Australia. The female redback builds a sticky, tangled web in dry, sheltered places. She hides in a funnel-shaped part at the top of the web. Inside logs, under rubble and rubbish, among rocks and in sheds are places where redback spiders can be found. Male redbacks do not build webs.


Redback spiders eat insects. Large female redbacks sometimes capture small lizards and will also steal food from the webs of other redback spiders.

Interesting Facts

  • The red back spiders are easily distinguishable by the orange, red, or brownish stripe that shows on its characteristic black, globular abdomen.
  • The females are considerably larger than males and virtually only females are dangerous.
  • The spiderlings are smaller in size initially; they also lack colored stripes or makings on their body. The spiderling’s bite and male’s bite do not cause as much pain as those of female’s bite. The bite may, nevertheless, lead to few symptoms.
  • The length of the female red back spider measures around 1 cm, while male is 3 – 4 mm long.
  • The red back spider displays bright black body together with slender legs and rounded body.
  • The prominent red back of the spider means an effective warning, making it difficult to miss it if a modest care is taken when moving rubbish, or placing your hands in forgotten places.
  • The majority of the bites end up in no or minimal symptoms requiring no antivenom and death is extremely unlikely even in untreated cases. The pain may be accompanied by profuse sweating, nausea, headache, abdominal pain, vomiting, fever, parenthesis, hypertension, and rashes.