Don’t Let Fear of Spiders Stop You from Moving to Australia

On Wednesday I tried to talk everyone into Liking the Huntsman Spider. I do appreciate though, that not everyone will be able to do that; one particular group of people would certainly struggle.


cartoon spiderIt’s worth remembering though that spiders are everywhere, in every country. Unless you move to the Arctic, you are likely to come across a spider at some point. Similarly, arachnophobes are also everywhere and in every country. They may even be in the Arctic, they have more incentive than most to go.

Here is a bunch of arachnophobes, from the US by sounds of it, all talking about their fear of spiders. The presenter claims to be able to help people get over this fear.

I don’t think so. Let’s take a look as Arachnophobes Meet Spiders…

So, if spiders are everywhere (apart from the Arctic and no one wants to live there), then why is it that arachnophobes get particularly uneasy about moving to Australia?

Because Australians spiders are venomous and can kill you Bob, that’s why!

And that’s just the point, potentially a couple of them ‘can’, but in reality nobody has died from a spider bite in Australia since the 70s.

I would also like to remind anybody who is allowing the fear of spiders to make them rethink a potential move to Australia that pest control really does work. I have absolutely no doubt that I see fewer spiders in my Australian house than I used to see in my UK house.

If the fear of spiders is preventing you from moving to Australia, just remember, we have lots of cute wildlife as well and in my eight years here so far, I see far more of the cute stuff than the scary stuff.

Like this…

Australia; more cute stuff than scary stuff, honest.

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{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Kerry May 18, 2019, 8:33 pm | Link

    Hey Bob..I’ve been living in Queensland for 5 years now , since leaving the UK…and I’m still terrified of huntsmans..had one in the car (as I was about to drive out the driveway onto a 100km road ) appear on the dashboard! Abandoned the journey as it disappeared in the vent!….Hate to think what would have happened if I had been on the road 😫…please could you give me any help in combating the fear of these guys..I don’t necessarily fear all spiders just the big huntsmans..thank you

    • BobinOz May 20, 2019, 7:15 pm | Link

      Yes, it can be a bit unnerving to find a huntsman in your car, had it happen to me one time. The spider was on the outside of my windscreen, then dashed under the grill to inside the engine compartment, I was expecting it to blow out of one of the air vents at any time 🙂

      Not sure what you can do about your fear, but I do have one reader here who has posted a lot of comments about spiders saying he got over his fear by studying them and learning all about them.

      The huntsman is my favourite spider, because they are good spiders, they eat a lot of nasty bugs and very rarely bite humans. They are very timid and would rather hide. If it helps, they are extremely scared of you as well.

      When in the car though, if you do see one while driving, you just need to stay calm, don’t panic, find somewhere to park safely and just park up as soon as possible. Then worry about the spider 🙂

      Sorry I’ve not been overly helpful, but I do hope you find a way to overcome this fear.

  • Kara May 7, 2018, 8:43 pm | Link

    Hi Bob,
    So I’m originally from Europe but moved to Brisbane 10 year ago. Unlike you, I’ve actually seen plenty of red backs, funnel webs and quite a few snakes. I think I must attract them somehow cuz I even had a few hundsmen jumping on my head (not all at once thankfully). I’ve always been relaxed about it and more curious than anything. Not even a situation when I nearly stepped on a snake made me fearful. Until now when I have a curious little 3 year old though. In the last few months I discovered a funnel web snuggly tucked in on our hammock (and yep a yearly professional pest control inside and outside is a must for me), there was a snake found in my little one’s day care and just today my little one comes up to me saying: mummy what’s that? – holding a snake’s skin in his hands (I left him out of sight for literally 20 seconds). And yep I’ve practiced with him what to do when he sees a snake or a spider many many times. It all freaked me so out that I’ve seriously started considering moving back to Europe (not sure how I’m going to tell it to my husband since we only bought a house in Brissy). So I really need a good piece of advice from you and maybe a few tips too so I’m able to feel more reasonable about living here again… thanks in advance

    • BobinOz May 8, 2018, 8:20 pm | Link

      Yes, sounds like you have been freaked out by a few things that have happened recently. If you’re seeing this many spiders and snakes, and in particular funnel webs, then I imagine you must live somewhere that is semirural. Would that be correct?

      I’m thinking instead of taking the drastic action of moving back to Europe, you could just move to a more built-up suburb of Brisbane instead? No suburb is snake or spider free, but some do definitely get fewer of these visitors than others. See…

      That said, where I live I border the bush, but I reckon I only see about one snake a year and I still haven’t seen a funnel web or, incredibly, a redback, even though I’ve been bitten by one. Maybe I’m just not very observant though.

      I know it can be pretty scary, especially when you have young children, but every country has something dangerous about it. Overall, I think Australia is a very safe country and a great place to bring up children. For example, I’d rather live in Australia with its spiders and snakes than in London, the acid attack capital of the world. Even gun violence is on the rise there at the moment.

      Don’t let this get to you, not now, after all you’ve been here for 10 years without any real problems. And you can always get pest control for your house every six or nine months instead, that should go some way to reducing the amount of spiders you’re seeing around your property.

  • Martin November 27, 2017, 7:46 am | Link

    Hi Bob,
    I and my family are thinking about moving to Oz in 3-4 years’ time. Here in Poland where we live the threat of meeting a dangerous land or sea creature as well as being bitten by a deadly spider, snake or jellyfish is practically non-existent. I understand this is a thing you can just get used to. My main concern is how to protect kids and how to protect domestic animals (two cats) that are living entirely indoors? I understand that children in Australia are raised to live in an environment that potentially could be deadly (“remember, don’t wander recklessly through bushes!”, “don’t try to play with this nice crocodile!”, “don’t lick poisonous spiders!”) but what about newcomers, do you have some kind of “Bootcamp: Dos and don’ts in sunny Australia 101” for them? 😉

    • Diane Shepherd November 27, 2017, 6:52 pm | Link

      To Martin from Poland. Hi Martin, hope you don’t mind me writing to you. You are on a brilliant blog here – I trust Bob 100%. I am a true arachnaphobe, but Bob has helped me to understand that the Huntsman really is a friend. That’s not to say I wouldn’t run a mile if I saw one! We stated with some Aussie friends north of Sydney last December and didn’t see ONE spider or snake, only in the Reptile Park. We too are plannning to move to Oz ASAP but my fear of spiders will certainly not stop me. We live in rural France at present and have seen some pretty big spiders in the house I can tell you. We have snakes in the garden but we don’t see them often. If I can move to Oz, I’m certain you can, and I feel sure you will be able to educate your children to be vigilant. Good luck.

      • BobinOz November 27, 2017, 8:32 pm | Link

        Firstly, Diane, thank you for the kind words. Oh, and can you lend me $5000, I’ll give it back to you next month, honest 🙂

        Martin, I do fully understand your concerns. When I moved here my daughter was just 3 1/2 years old, I had the same worries you now have. I wasn’t just scared for my daughter, I was concerned for all of us.

        I even remember I used to hate going to bed at night when my wife was already asleep, because it meant me walking barefoot in the dark and who knows what I might have trodden on; a snake? Killer spider? Crocodile?

        No, not a crocodile, we don’t have those in Brisbane but anyway, being new to Australia we were constantly aware of the dangers. We did come across huge numbers of spiders and bugs because our house had been empty for five months before we moved in. The critters had taken over.

        So, we got the pest control people round and very quickly they were all gone.

        Then, after about five months or so, no snakes seen anywhere, certainly no crocodiles, and all those bugs in the house were gone. The longer we lived here without seeing anything scary or coming face-to-face with any killer creatures, we started to relax. Then we realised everyone else living here was pretty relaxed about it, it’s just not a thing.

        Nobody really spends much time worrying about these things, just like we don’t worry about getting struck by lightning or being squashed by a falling tree. We know these things can happen, but they are very rare, so no point in wasting time thinking about it.

        As for your children, the only advice I gave my daughter was if she saw a spider or a snake or any other kind of critter, back away, don’t touch it, and come and tell me straight away. That’s all you need to do really.

        You might like to read the following page called Australia’s Killer Creatures and Death.

        As for your cats, being indoor cats, I reckon they will be just fine. Problems only occur when cats go outside a lot, but even then the biggest danger is going to be cars on the road, not critters and the chances of a snake coming into your house of very rare.

        Good luck, Bob

        • Diane November 27, 2017, 8:47 pm | Link

          Hi Bob, you are VERY welcome (my comments). Tried to send you the $5000 but the post office refused – they said to use it instead to buy some really big bowls with which to catch the Huntsmans! I was very upset that they wouldn’t send it to you, but I’ll get over it! I really hope Martin finds comfort in your reply. I did, as you know. I also wander about our bedroom in the dark but no peskies here really, so to speak, only the ones I mentioned earlier. My hubby always says in his ultimate wisdom, “oh don’t worry about them”. Know what? I’m starting to wonder if I’m going just a bit mad, as sometimes I even feel as if I’m looking forward to SEEING some of these critters. How’s that for a convert in the making? There’s hope for me yet, I would say!!!! Lovely to hear from you again by the way.

  • Diane Shepherd September 6, 2017, 5:55 pm | Link

    Hi Bob, thank you so much for sending this email. As you realise by now, we have corresponded before. We are still determined to move to Oz, “bugs and all”. You’ll likely remember that I’m an arachnophobe along with countless others. Reading your latest article about the Huntsman, I can understand now why he IS a friend. Not sure yet though about allowing one to stay in the house and probably even more unsure about holding one! But it definitely sounds as if he does a really good job ridding houses of pests. Must now tell you this. We used to pet sit around France, and our first sit was for a couple who had relatives in Adelaide (their visit there being our reason to pet sit). There was a Huntsman on the wall as Vivienne went through the front door – she screamed for someone to get rid of it before she went any further. One of the others said “oh, Boris won’t hurt you, he’s only a baby”. That has stayed in my mind actually and now after reading your article, I feel a bit less scared (teeny weeny bit!) but seeing one in a house might just send me into a fit. I don’t know. I told you we have friends who live near Sydney and we took a holiday last year which finished there. We stayed with them, and Greg looked around to find different ones to help me recognise them, and we didn’t see ANY at all. Inside or out. He did howeve have a funnel web he had caught in a container though which he was going to take to the zoo for milking. We visited the Australian Reptile Park and I actually “enjoyed” seeing the spiders albeit behind glass! I must say they all looked a bit dopey though! So what I’m saying is, maybe I’m coming round to accepting what most people living in Oz say, that is, you hardly see any. We didn’t see any snakes either, so I think the desire to move to Oz is MUCH stronger than seeing pesky critters. Bob, many thanks again for your communication – I really do appreciate it.

    • BobinOz September 7, 2017, 12:28 am | Link

      There you go, what spiders?

      Interesting what you have said, I’ve lived here nearly 10 years now, and because I write this website, I actively look for spiders and snakes. I’m not very good at it though, I’ve got an appalling record.

      I’ve done okayish with snakes, but not great. I think I’ve seen about nine or ten now, it’s pretty much one a year. I’m talking only about snakes in the wild, not at a zoo or any other controlled environment.

      I’ve seen quite a few spiders, but no more than I used to see in the UK, in fact I would say considerably less. In all this time I have never seen a redback spider. I’ve been bitten by one though, just didn’t see it..

      As I said, I’m not very good at it.

      The reality is spiders and snakes are not really a day-to-day problem here, nobody really thinks about it. These critters reputations are scarier than the reality, it’s really a bit of an Australian myth.

      They are certainly not a reason to avoid moving to Australia. All the best to you, Bob

      • Diane Shepherd September 7, 2017, 1:43 am | Link

        If this is your reply to me Bob, you are giving me more confidence in order to “live” with these things. I even made a note of a snake catcher (some time ago). I mean BUSINESS! I also read about an Eastern Brown going into a ladies clothes shop – Bowral or Sydney area, can’t remember which. Greg said “those Browns are such cross dressers”. I think it slithered out as quickly as it slithered in.

        • BobinOz September 7, 2017, 8:56 pm | Link

          Yes, from what I hear that brown snake saw a couple of the pricetags on those clothes, and slithered straight out again. I do the same in some shops.

          Although I don’t slither.

          • Diane Shepherd September 7, 2017, 11:58 pm | Link

            You are SO funny! Guess I’ll keep out of THAT shop. If the EB says it’s too expensive, then it must be! Bye for now.

  • Charlotte Hayleigh Suleyman September 6, 2017, 6:03 am | Link

    Hi, I’ve just qualified as a nurse in the UK and am wanting to move to Australia. I have a few friends out there, and their positive experiences is really making me consider it. The quality of life, the people, the weather, the beautiful country itself… problem. If I can’t handle the spiders you get in the UK, then how the hell could I handle them there!? I mean, this goes beyond a normal fear. For example, I went to Mexico on a family holiday, and became really ill due to leaving on the air conditioning. The holiday reps told us that because of the heat, it was better for us to only turn on the AC when we came back to the room so your body adjusts to the coolness gradually. Did I listen? No. Had feverish sweats because my body was going from boiling hot to freezing cold too quickly. Why? So there was no hope in hell a spider would come in as they hate the cold. I have every electrical appliance to repel them going, sprays, conkers in every corner of every room, spend more time hoovering the ceiling collecting cobwebs than the floor, avoid sheds and gardening, bang my shoes out before I can put them on, and will basically bang on every neighbours door no matter what the time is until a spider that’s entered my home is REMOVED. And I mean, removed. If I get the ‘it’s gone now’ rubbish, I’ll make them find it so that I can physically see it being removed.
    What on earth can I do!? What measures can I take to make sure a spider NEVER comes into my home? I just know I’d be worse, especially if my 7 year old came with me. He’d never be allowed to play in a garden that’s for sure because in oz they ARE dangerous. He’d never be allowed to sleep in a bed without netting the whole way round. I’d be a huge paranoid panicky mess!!!!!!!!!!! It’s so upsetting that a bug basically can have this much control and impact on my life!!

    • RaoulDuke September 6, 2017, 7:20 am | Link

      You can’t stop spiders coming into any house in Australia or the UK. 99% of the ones we get are absolutely tiny. Once or twice a year we get a really big one. They’re obviously far more scared of you. Never seen a deadly one at all. If you’re close to city like Brisbane, it will never be an issue. On the other hand, Australian magpies…

      • BobinOz September 7, 2017, 12:09 am | Link

        Ah, yes, the magpies…

        As RaoulDuke has pointed out Charlotte Hayleigh Suleyman, you can’t do anything to ensure a spider never comes into your home. That’s impossible. Getting a decent professional annual pest treatment though, which will cost you around $200, will ensure that any spider, or other bug, that comes into your house will be dead within 24 hours.

        It works, it really does.

        Seems to me you can’t handle spiders in the UK, and you can’t handle spiders in Mexico, so you may as well live here in Australia and enjoy the quality of life, the people, the weather, and the beautiful country itself whilst not handling the spiders here.

        Ultimately though, what you appear to have, if you don’t mind me saying, is an irrational fear, and if I were you I would look into how you can overcome that. Believe me, it is possible, I know it is. I even have someone who comments regularly here who tells me that he had an enormous fear of spiders and then decided to study them at a very high level, university if I remember, and now he is no longer scared of them at all. He understands them.

        As this article says, don’t let the fear of spiders stop you from moving to Australia.

  • Diane March 13, 2016, 4:08 am | Link

    Hi Bob
    I keep reading various articles by you, and I read other info on other sites too. We are thinking of moving to Oz (funds permitting) but maybe not for 2 or 3 years. We have Australian friends who live near Sydney and the only thing putting me off at this moment in time is the spider population, particularly the Sydney funnel web. Our friend says not a great problem but I’m not sure yet! I have always had a spider phobia. We have lived in France for 13 years and only see pretty much the British kind. We see snakes in our garden from time to time when the weather is warmer, but mostly grass snakes and the odd adder. Back to spiders, I know the Huntsmans live behind curtains (!) so we would opt for a curtainless existence. Or perhaps they live behind furniture if there are no curtains? Help! I need some serious reassurance.

    • BobinOz March 14, 2016, 5:06 pm | Link

      Diane, your friend is right, it’s not a great problem. Huntsman don’t necessarily live behind curtains either, so there’s no reason for you not to have them in your house. If you get pest control done regularly on your home, you will find it’s very effective.

      As I think I said in the above article somewhere, I hardly ever see any spiders either when I’m out and about or in my home. Don’t let it spoil your move. Cheers, Bob

      • Diane March 14, 2016, 7:32 pm | Link

        Thanks so much for that, Bob. We would have to live in a regional or low growth area as we are retirees, so I guess there would be more “wildlife”. But yes, I am more reassured now. Thank you once again!

        • BobinOz March 15, 2016, 4:01 pm | Link

          Yes, more wildlife, but it’s beautiful wildlife rather than scary wildlife.

  • Charlotte October 21, 2015, 6:22 am | Link

    Thanks for this post, it has greatly reassured me as I am a huge arachnophobe. If I see a spider in a room in my house in the uk I won’t go in that room for a week until it’s gone. I am still weary of moving to Australia, I hope to go there for university. Love the blog Bob!

    • BobinOz October 21, 2015, 6:39 pm | Link

      Thanks Charlotte, I’m glad to hear my article has helped you a bit. You’d have a great time in university here, don’t let stupid spiders put you off 🙂

      Good luck, Bob

  • Virginia G September 3, 2015, 12:24 pm | Link

    Were some of those joeys in the pouch head-first? Like with their feet sticking out? Either way, those were some seriously cute kangaroos.

    • BobinOz September 3, 2015, 7:09 pm | Link

      Maybe, Joeys chill any which way they want:-)

  • Raoul Duke September 2, 2015, 8:40 pm | Link

    We get the odd spider in the house every week or so. The majority of the time they are tiny – smaller than the typical British house spider, and often they are already dead. We get maybe one huge one per year, but so far they have all come off way worse for the experience than we have! If you live anywhere near an urban centre, there’s really nothing to worry about.

    • BobinOz September 3, 2015, 6:07 pm | Link

      Exactly, nothing to worry about.

  • Snoskred August 29, 2015, 3:07 pm | Link

    I am an Arachnophobe, and I have lived in Australia all my life.

    Growing up the huntsmen were my nemesis. I never really saw any other kind of spider living in the foothills of Adelaide. I was probably mid twenties before I saw a Redback spider.

    Moving to Sydney, having seen a documentary on the Sydney Funnelweb, I was really glad we were about 200kms down the coast because they live in a specific area in Sydney.. only, they seem to have hitchhiked down the coast with camping people and we’ve had 2 turn up dead in the man cave sink – they could not seem to climb out – and one dead *inside* the man cave.

    I’m still not any kind of fan of the huntsman but given the choice, I prefer those to the funnel web. Can that be considered liking them? Probably not, because given the choice I would pick no spiders at all. 🙂

    I thought I might like to move to Albuquerque after seeing it on Breaking Bad, until I heard about the tarantula migration. I recommend *not* googling that. 🙂

    • BobinOz August 29, 2015, 7:08 pm | Link

      Wonderful, good to hear from a lifetime Aussie arachnophobe still alive and well and living in Australia. See how easy it is everyone?

      Albuquerque isn’t the answer for you Snoskred, the Arctic is the only place with a 100% guarantee:-)

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