When you hear the name tarantula, you immediately think of a large, creepy, and hairy spider that you are probably afraid of. But these spiders will often remain hidden in their webbed shelters or run to hide if approached, rather than attacking.
They are not dangerous to humans, though they can give quite a painful bite. Their venom is no worse than a bee sting.
There are 7 species of tarantula in Australia.
The seven species of tarantula you can find in Australia, include:
1. Selenocosmia stirlingi
Scientific name: Selenocosmia stirlingi.
Common name: barking spider.
This tarantula is commonly known as the barking spider, which is a desert species that can survive the harshest weather conditions.
They are hairy with two body segments and eight legs. These spiders make a low growl when they rub their palps together, which is used to scare away any predators.
These tarantulas can be found in the desert of Australia, where they live in burrows which can be found among any leaf litter.
2. Selenocosmia crassipes
Scientific name: Selenocosmia crassipes.
Common name: Queensland whistling tarantula.
The Selenocosmia crassipes is also known as the Queensland Whistling Tarantula, which grows up to 8.7 inches (22cm) in leg span with a long body from the eyes to the back of the abdomen reaching 3.5 inches (8cm).
It is the largest Australian tarantula.
They have powerful fangs, which can grow up to 1cm.
When approached, it will make a hissing sound.
They are shy and won’t wander too far from their burrows. You can find this tarantula throughout Northern Queensland, living in rainforests and open forests. They are sometimes seen in gardens.
3. Selenocosmia strenua
This is another of the Queensland tarantulas that have hairy bodies with long legs.
They burrow deep under the substrate, making large burrows, sometimes up to two meters below the surface, which are webbed to perfection.
They will make a hissing noise when approached but often will hurry away into their burrow, rather than attacking.
4. Selenocosmia subvulpina
The Selencosmia subvulpina tarantulas can be found in the Northern Territory of Australia and are more aggressive than the tarantulas found in other parts of the world.
They will rear up and look scary if they are disturbed. While their bite can be painful, they are relatively harmless to humans, with some people experiencing nausea and vomiting for up to eight hours after a bite.
If by chance you happen to come across one, as they seldom leave their burrows except to hunt, do not handle it.
5. Selenotholus foelschei
This tarantula species is found in the Northern Territory and was first described in 1902.
It is different from the Selenocosmia tarantula by a recurved thoracic fovea and their first and fourth legs are the same size.
6. Selenotypus plumipes
This is a large hairy spider with a brown body and thick back legs.
Their leg span can grow up to 7 centimeters.
They are slow-growing and live in deep burrows. They seldom come out during the day.
They will rarely bite, but they do have large fangs that can result in a painful wound in humans, their venom can be fatal for dogs.
7. Coremiocnemis tropix
Scientific name: Coremiocnemis tropix.
Common name: brush tarantula.
The Brush Tarantula is found in Northern Queensland and is earth-colored, some are brown, gray, red/brown, or dark brown.
These tarantulas live in the tropical rainforests in Northern Australia where they tend to find shelter under logs and rocks, rather than burrowing. They can and will burrow if they need to.
Females can grow to a 6.5cm leg span and are patient mothers, often cohabitating with their young for more than a year.
You can find these tarantulas under logs and rocks, always within close proximity to water.