'Use caution': Dangerous spider found during morning walk in Sydney

·News Reporter
·2-min read

Australia is known for its variety of deadly spiders but some are easier to spot than others.

While going for a walk in Sydney's Lower North Shore on the weekend, one local stumbled upon a tiny but mighty species, and many admitted they barely even noticed when he shared a photo online.

"One needs heightened senses to survive a walk," he wrote on Reddit. "Spotted this lil danger on his way to looking for dates at lower north shore."

An eastern mouse spider spotted on pavement in Sydney's Lower North Shore. Source: Reddit
The tiny but mighty eastern mouse spider was spotted on Sydney's Lower North Shore but it can easily be missed if you aren't paying attention. Source: Reddit

At first glance, many struggled to notice what the photo was, with some joking about the leaf in the centre of the image.

"Yes this leaf is very dangerous and should be dealt with in the highest extreme of caution," one said.

"I stared at this for 2 minutes thinking it was a picture of space," said another.

But on closer inspection, just to the left of the leaf, is a scary looking spider which is extremely venomous and potentially deadly to humans.

The poster admitted he sometimes walks around barefoot so he's lucky to have seen it.

Spider identified: 'treated with caution'

Jeremy Wilson, a Griffith University PhD candidate, confirmed the eight-legged arachnid is an eastern mouse spider — also known as a Missulena bradleyi — which many pointed out in the comments.

"We can tell that it is Missulena bradleyi by the white patch on the front of the abdomen, and by how chunky it is," Mr Wilson, who specialises in spiders, told Yahoo News Australia.

Eastern mouse spiders are endemic to the east coast of Australia and often come out at this time of year. Source: arachne.org
Eastern mouse spiders are endemic to the east coast of Australia and often come out at this time of year. Source: arachne.org

Eastern mouse spiders are endemic to the east coast of Australia, so it's no surprise one appeared on a footpath in Sydney.

"Males leave their burrows to search for females at this time of year, usually during or after rain," Mr Wilson said.

"The venom of this species has been studied, and people can have quite severe reactions to it, so they should be treated with caution."

The eastern mouse spider has been found to have toxins similar to the funnel-web spider. Antivenom from the funnel-web has proved effective in treating severe mouse spider bites.

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