Golden Orb-weaver

There are few animals in Australia more terrifying. Most people don’t like spiders anyway, and these guys… they can get big. A full-sized female of some species can get up to nearly two and a half centimetres in that big fat body alone, plus plenty more from long, knobbly nightmarish legs.

These spiders don’t do themselves any favours. There are photos of them on the internet, confirmed pictures of them eating small birds they’ve caught, or even in some cases small snakes. There is no excuse for that sort of nonsense.

The other major problem with them is their webs. Nephila spiders make very large webs. These sometimes stretch between buildings, and deciding to block a walking path is not uncommon. The webs are impressively strong to the point of being hard for even a human to walk through, and the knowledge that there’s likely to be a giant spindley arachnid of terror in there really puts a cherry on the top of the horror cake.

These are common. Not just “around”, but there are millions of them. Most places in Australia it wouldn’t be a challenge to find one within 100m. City or country. And in some places you wouldn’t just find one. They build webs on each other’s webs. They form communities of hundreds of terrifying spiders.

Basically, the Golden Orb-weaver is the sort of thing that makes wussier countries want to turn our wide, flat land into a sheet of smoking glass to prevent them coming out.

So obviously these are dangerous, with venom that can take down a water buffalo?

Nope. Not in any way. Like most spiders its venom is not harmful to people, and will produce a mild burning at worst. They’re also extremely placid, very hesitant to bite at all.

These spiders eat insects, including harmful ones. They’re entirely beneficial.

There are lots of nasty things in Australia, including some absolute horrors. That’s what this site is all about. But there are also plenty of things in Australia that get a really bad rap. They don’t need to be burned with fire. They aren’t a “nope”. Just critters going about their daily lives. It’s not their fault that we think they’re gross.

And Jesus Hillary Christ are they gross.

Golden Orb Web Weaver
Nephila genus