Do spiders creep you out? If so, Atrax robustus could be a nightmare for you! This guy often lives in courtyards in Sydney's suburbs. And did you know that in some parts of Australia, Atrax spiders are considered more dangerous than poisonous snakes?
Atrax robustus is the most feared spider in Australia. It has a relatively small black-brown body. Females can be up to 7 cm long, while males are somewhat smaller at 5.5 cm. Its chelicerae (fangs) can be up to 5 mm long. It lives under logs and rocks in forests, parks and urban gardens in southeast Australia. Like other members of the infraorder Mygalomorphae, it builds funnel-shaped webs, made of spider silk. It is very aggressive and often attacks anything coming close to its nest. When threatened, it rears up on its hind legs and rocks its body. It attacks by jumping onto its victim and delivering a very painful bite.
Atrax poison is neurotoxic and extremely strong; initial symptoms appear within ten minutes, and death can occur within a few hours. Besides burning pain, the bitten area swells. Lymph nodes become infected, salivation increases, along with sweating, tearing and urination, sometimes accompanied by nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and ague. Further symptoms include stomach cramps and a tightening sensation across the chest. It is interesting that poison from this spider is extremely dangerous to humans and other primates, while other animals are essentially immune to it.