The 8 Biggest Spiders Crawling Around Victoria

Highly venomous Sydney Funnel Web Spider
© Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

Written by Samuel Christopher

Updated: October 25, 2023

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Australia has tons of unique wildlife, much of which only exists on the southern continent and nowhere else. This type of wildlife is called endemic wildlife.

One of the most bio-diverse states in the country is the southern province of Victoria. This province hosts approximately 17,000 different species of organisms across sea and land. It has a wider variety of life and terrain than anywhere else in Australia.  

Among Victroia’s endemic wildlife is its wide variety of colorful and fascinating endemic spider species. There are dozens of species of spiders crawling around the eucalyptus forests of Victoria that are found nowhere else.

Scientists estimate that there are over 10,000 endemic spiders in Australia. To date, there are about 3,600 species that are actually described and cataloged. That being said, new species are recorded each and every year. If you’re interested in the spider life of Victoria, take a gander at this list of the biggest spider species that exist in the province.

1. Australian Huntsman Spiders

Huntsman spider native to Australia

Huntsman spiders are aggressive predators.

©Barnaby Chambers/Shutterstock.com

Australian huntsman spiders (Heteropoda venatori) are the largest species of spiders found in Victoria. The average adult can grow up to a whopping 15 cm in size — pretty huge as far as spiders go. That’s approximately 5.9 inches from tip to tip on their legs.

The huntsman spiders are easy to confuse for tarantulas thanks to their hairy legs and generous girth. However, these spiders are their own class of arachnids. There are several Tarantulas species in Australia, though none live in Victoria.

The Australian huntsman spider is so-called because of the speed and ferocity of its hunting style. This spider quickly and rapidly chases its prey down and subdues them with a slightly venomous bite. This bite isn’t dangerous to humans, however.

2. Golden Orb-Weaving Spiders

Golden orb weaving spider (Nephila) with its prey on a web in Canberra, Australia

A Golden Orb Weaving Spider with its prey.

©Shurik the Creator/Shutterstock.com

Golden orb-weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) are one of Australia’s most iconic species of spiders. This is mostly due to the beautiful and unique nature of the silk that they spin.

Golden orb-weavers produce silk that is yellow-golden in color. This silk is prized around the globe for its beautiful appearance. The silk is employed for many uses, including the manufacturing of textiles.

The primary reason that this species of spider has a place on this list is due to the length of its spindly legs. The spider reaches 15 cm from the tips of its legs, while it is only 4 cm across around its thorax.

This species of spider lives across Australia and even exists in New Zealand. This likely occurred due to it being blown across the Tasmanian Sea at some point.

3. Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

Highly venomous Sydney Funnel Web Spider

This species of spider delivers a highly venomous bite.

©Ken Griffiths/Shutterstock.com

The Sydney funnel-web spider is notorious in mainland Australia. This is primarily for being a very common and very venomous nuisance with a dangerous bite. These spiders deliver a bite that can potentially cause serious health problems and even death in an adult human.

Sydney funnel-web spiders are approximately five cm across at full size, which is about two inches. These spiders tend to live underground and build “trap door” lairs where they wait to ambush prey. Highly sensitive to vibrational patterns above their lairs, Sydney funnel-web spiders lie in wait for prey to pass over.

The Sydney funnel-web spider’s notoriety exploded in Australia in 1927 after one bit a young boy on the hand, and the child sadly perished. True to its name, this spider’s population is mostly centered around Sydney but also lives across Eastern Australia and Victoria.

4. Black Wish-Bone Spider

a cool and rare black spider that is rarely encountered.

The black wish-bone spider creates a very distinctively shaped burrow, which lends it its name.

©ONIE AR/Shutterstock.com

The black wish-bone spider lives all across Southern Australia and is quite plentiful in Victoria and Tasmania. The name for this spider comes from the shape of its burrow, which is shaped like a wishbone.

These spiders are black, with the males covered in silver fur and the females covered in gold. This spider can reach up to 5 cm in length, making it a similar size to the Sydney funnel-web spider.

The black wish-bone spider, like many of the spiders of Victoria, is also quite venomous. However, the level of venom that it delivers isn’t typically dangerous to humans.

5. Red-Headed Mouse Spider

Blue Mountains Red-Headed Mouse Spider Missulena Occatoria

This species of spider has a very distinctive red head.

©inProgressImaging/Shutterstock.com

The red-headed mouse spider (Missulena occutoria) is another venomous spider in Victoria. This spider has a very wide range, partially because it’s one of the species of spider that utilizes the wind to disperse itself. This activity, ballooning, provides movement for many species of spiders.

Red-headed mouse spiders are identified by the bright red coloration of their head that gives them their name. This coloration only occurs in the males of the species. This spider species feeds on a wide variety of prey, including lizards, frogs, insects, and even other spiders.

These spiders reach approximately 3.5 cm across at full size. Like the Sydney funnel-web spider, this spider lives in underground, trap-door burrows where they wait to ambush prey.

6. Melbourne Brown Trapdoor Spider

trapdoor spider on the wood .

These spiders look very similar to Sydney funnel-web spiders

©Pichit Sansupa/Shutterstock.com

Melbourne brown trapdoor spiders (Stanwellia grisea) are another species of spider that has a very wide range throughout Eastern and Southern Australia. These spiders are another species of spider that utilizes “trapdoor” lairs to live and eat in.

These types of spiders mostly feed on various types of small insects, including beetles, cockroaches, and crickets. This type of spider, which doesn’t have a venomous bite, is often confused for the Sydney Funnel-Web Spider due to its appearance. The latter is one of the world’s most poisonous spiders. That being said, the long fangs of this spider can still deliver a painful bite despite the lack of venom.

Melbourne brown trapdoor spiders can reach sizes of up to 2.5 cm. They live commonly in domestic settings across Melbourne and the rest of Victoria.

7. Victorian Funnel-Web Spider

Funnel web spider refers to many different species of spider particularly those that spin a web in the shape of a funnel. Here is a funnel shaped web spun by a spider.

A typical funnel-web spider nest.

©NNphotos/Shutterstock.com

These types of funnel-web spiders are closely related to the Sydney funnel-web spider. However, unlike the latter, these spiders are not particularly venomous and are generally non-threatening. A bite can still deliver some discomfort and nausea, however.

These spiders live most commonly outside of Melbourne in the Dandenong Mountains. Like the rest of the trapdoor spiders on this list, they utilize underground burrows for both lodgings and to ambush prey.

Like the Sydney funnel-web spider, Victorian funnel-web spiders (Hadronyche modesta) use a few stray strands of silk that they weave outside of the entrance to their trapdoors. Keeping these strands connected to their thorax, the strands allow the spider to sense when prey has “tripped” one of their wires. This sophisticated hunting technique has proven to be quite successful for these kinds of spiders in Victoria.  

8. Ground Wolf Spider

Scary eyes of Ground wolf spider, Trochosa terricola, close up macro photo

Wolf spiders have a distinctive eye arrangement.

©Lukas Jonaitis/Shutterstock.com

Wolf spiders are a type of spider with a wide distribution worldwide. There are species of wolf spiders on most continents.

The ground wolf spider (Trochosa terricola)is an Australian wolf spider. It exhibits many of the same characteristics that exist in other types of wolf spiders. It’s a fast, aggressive hunter that prefers to chase down its prey to lie in wait for it.

Wolf spiders are not dangerous to humans. This is a relief, as their common distribution means that they live in many shared environments with people. These spiders live in gardens, lawns, and other common household areas. Passing a flashlight around where you suspect some might be will reveal their distinctive green eyes at night.

Summary: The 8 Biggest Spiders Crawling Around Victoria

RankNameMaximum Size
1Australian Huntsman Spider15 cm
2Golden Orb-Weaving Spider15 cm
3Sydney Funnel-Web Spider5 cm
4Black Wish-Bone Spider5 cm
5Red-Headed Mouse Spider3.5 cm
6Melbourne Brown Trapdoor Spider2.5 cm
7Victorian Funnel-Web Spider2.5 cm
8Ground Wolf Spider2 cm


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