SCARY: A female redback spider, Latrodectus hasseltii.
SCARY: A female redback spider, Latrodectus hasseltii. Courtesy of Queensland Museum

Watch out for 'huge' redback spiders under park seats

RESIDENTS in Evans Head are warning each other to be careful at the skate park, with reports of large redback spiders nesting under the seats.

Katie Halloran posted on social media about the creepy crawlies: "Warning! There are redback spiders nesting on the park benches at the skate park.

"And I have seen them on and under other seats around Evans Head as well.

"We just down at the skate park when I noticed that I was sitting 5cm from two really big ones."

While some people wanted the eight-legged creatures to be sprayed, others suggested squishing them with a stick to get rid of them.

Kerry Townsend said the redback spiders were "everywhere".

Redbacks are very common on the Northern Rivers and right throughout Australia.

According to the Australian Museum, the spiders will live almost anywhere, "as long as there is adequate food, a sheltered web site and warm enough for breeding".

"They are especially common in disturbed and urban areas, in association with human habitation," the museum explains on its website.

Favourite hidey holes for these spiders include among rocks, in logs, shrubs, junk piles, sheds, toilets and under outdoor furniture.

They are less common in the winter months, so here's hoping this cooler weather will send these nasties on their way.

What a redback spider bite feels like

According to NSW Health the venom from these spiders contains excitatory neurotoxins and they stimulate the nervous system.

In most cases, redback spider bites cause severe, localised pain that may last for several days.

In some cases, the localised pain can develop into more general symptoms, including sweating, nausea, weakness, chest pain and abdominal pain.

Avoid getting bitten

  • Take care when working in the backyard
  • Avoid putting your hands into places you can't see (e.g. under rocks, between piles of building materials)
  • When gardening and backyard cleanups, wear shoes, gloves and a long sleeved shirt
  • Check shoes and clothing before putting them on, especially if they have not been worn for long periods of time or have been kept outside.

What should I do if am bitten by a redback spider?

  • Wash the bitten area with soap and keep it clean
  • Apply cold compresses and ice packs to reduce pain
  • Pressure bandages should not be applied as they make the pain worse.

In case of an emergency

  • NSW Poisons Information Centre (operates 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week) - 13 11 26
  • Ambulance - 000
  • Public Health Units - 1300 066 055.