Posted by Leaving Dunedin on 21/03/2008

What about the poisonous snakes, spiders, scorpions etc mixed with pets and kids? Has this been an issue for anyone?

My wife and I are considering moving from Dunedin to Melbourne but are a little concerned about the poisonous creatures in Australia. Are we right to worry or is this not an issue?

We are most concerned for our 2 dogs and our 1-year-old. Do you come across snakes within your property in the city at all? What about spiders? One of our dogs is so curious that if she sees a snake she would chase it. Is it safe for young children to play outside?

#1 response from melbourne_maven at 04:00 on Fri, 28 March 2008

I think this is something that tends to vary quite a lot. In our city apartment (top story of a 3 floor block), we've only ever seen one spider in 7 months - and that was a Huntsman, which are not considered poisonous to humans (classified as mildly toxic). There's an Australian spider identification page here: As for snakes, we haven't seen any yet but have heard that they can be common in outlying suburbs. Your encounters with such things will clearly depend on which part of Melbourne you are looking at living in. It seems the closer you are to the city the better!

#2 response from bogues at 06:01 on Sun, 13 July 2008

Cal Wilson (a kiwi comedian living in Australia) made a really funny joke last week. She had been reading a big book about all the poisonous animals in Australia. After 4 years living here she finally got bitten ... by a dog.

#3 response from nzjono at 05:52 on Wed, 25 March 2009

Melboure should be OK. I have been bitten by Green Ants seen over quite a few people get stung by bluebottles. Oh the huntsman spiders can get HUGE! Oh and dont forget the cockroaches.! Saw one snake this summer near the spit and a couple of people got bitten down near Marina Mirage (Gold Coast). However it was reported that there were snakes in this one localised area. Just be careful where you walk at the beach/sand dunes and avoid sitting on the grass for too long (Green Ants have some firey sting to them - yes they sting not bite). I guess this year sharks have been a bigger worry than anything else. Keep your eyes open and you will be fine...I do miss be able to lie on the grass though :-(
Here on the Gold Coast the water dragons and many geckos keep creepy crawlies in check around the home.

By the way no one really worries abotu white tails spiders here at all, I think we blew that one way out of proportion back home.

#4 response from Pip at 13:28 on Fri, 3 July 2009

Damn forgot that Australia has snakes and stuff. Didnt even cross my mind until now before moving over. Im worried now!

#5 response from AussieInNZ at 00:41 on Thu, 26 August 2010

I grew up in Qld (Bundaberg and Brisbane), now living in NZ. Kiwis blow this whole issue way out of proportion. I've seen just as many redback spiders in NZ as is Oz. Even living in the country in Oz, I very rarely saw a poisonous snake, and have never seen any in the city. Only reptiles I've seen in the suburbs (living near creeks/reserves) were harmless lizards and the occasional carpet snake (easily identified and totally harmless to humans), nothing poisonous. Worst thing I'll agree with were the green ants, they really hurt and make it a bit scary to sit on the grass for too long (you learn to look really carefully before choosing where to sit). For the kids, get a couple of childrens picture books about poisonous animals, and they will educate themselves. Just tell them not to touch any bugs unless they're certain they know what they are, and always make a lot of noise if they need to walk through long grass (common sense really). I've never heard of pets dying from poisonous snakes, but have heard of dogs dying after eating cane toads. Animals have instincts though, so generally they should be fine.

#6 response from Naktarr at 01:57 on Thu, 10 March 2011

With Dogs and I suppose Cats you'll need to get a flea treatment in Aussie that also protects against Ticks - especially Paralysis Ticks. Those nasty things can kill your pets if they are left untreated, but are pretty rare in urban areas. I'm an Aussie who's moved to NZ and I've found most Kiwis on the south island don't even know what ticks are, so heads up!

#7 response from ex kiwi at 09:52 on Fri, 12 August 2011

We are ex kiwis on gold coast and we just get our house sprayed annually for ants, spiders and cockroaches and its fine. Have only seen one dead snake on the road. Green ants are on the grass just be careful where you sit. Living in suburbs is better than living in the country we have had no problems. But need watch the bluebottles in sea - learnt that the hard way.

#8 response from Pebbles at 22:32 on Sun, 20 November 2011

My sister was freaked out about snakes when she moved to Mackay about 7 years ago. She googled it and watched some amazing videos about snakes hating cats. She got 2 cats, lives in a rural area, and shes never seen a snake near her place.

#9 response from Moviefan at 03:44 on Fri, 30 December 2011

we have found quite large spiders in our garage. Dont know if they're poisonous.

Lots of cockroaches in apartment.

#10 response from kelly at 04:42 on Mon, 9 January 2012

Have lived in Australia for the past 10 years. Melbourne then country vic (East gippsland) on a small property.
In all that time have seen 1 snake

You do get a few spiders huntsmen etc but nothing to worry about.

Further North you go you tend to get more snakes spiders etc Melbourne is fine :-)

#11 response from locksmithuk at 00:12 on Fri, 20 January 2012

I'll echo the comments on this thread about keeping things in perspective: close to 23m people live in Australia, and deaths from poisonous things probably number less than 10 per annum, if that. Do what's sensible if you see anything poisonous: leave it alone. I chased one snake and loads of spiders in my childhood & teenage years, and not one of them had the slightest interest in turning around and attacking me.

You will probably get stung by an ant at some stage though - the pain only lasts relatively briefly, and there are no long-lasting effects. It's a small price to pay for a great climate.

#12 response from Gnome38 at 04:51 on Sun, 29 January 2012

We are looking at Moving to Melbourne from NZ and I was really ok with that until the kids showed me a picture of a huntsman spider. I get quite a lot of cockroaches in NZ and am ok with them. I know huntsman spiders are not poisonous or dangerous and have heard they are like common house spiders. But they are sooooo big and hairy. I could do snakes anyday, but those spiders look mean. I would completely loose the plot. Are they really overly common? How many do you find in your house?

#13 response from miss_p at 06:01 on Mon, 30 January 2012

@Gnome38 - We've had three Hunstman spiders in our house in 4 years, but many other people we've spoken to haven't had any in a similar period of time.

#14 response from Lyn at 09:36 on Fri, 3 February 2012

I've been living north of Melbourne in the country for a year now - moved here from NZ - seen three snakes so far, all dead. I'm careful when walking in the field - make lots of noise and don't lift stuff up. Had one huntsman in the house - yes they're big and hairy, but harmless - I still remove them with the vacuum cleaner, I'm not fond of spiders!

#15 response from dmannz at 12:36 on Tue, 7 February 2012

We're in Elsternwick, Melbourne, been here 4 months, ex Christchurch, haven't seen anything scarier than dogs...


#16 response from Newarrival at 07:55 on Fri, 24 February 2012

Been here 6 weeks and our cat was very close to dying, from suspected snake bite, very unwell and high hospital fees, strongly recommend animal health insurance

#17 response from puppet001 at 13:08 on Fri, 23 March 2012

People are funny creatures, they worry about all the critters but the biggest threat sits in the driveway, your vehicle. More people are killed by vehicles in Australia than any critter. Ive moved to Cairns from NZ last November. The critters here are fascinating. I didnt bring my 3 dogs, cat or many birds as the stress and adjusting was a consideration. Most critters dont want to have a confrontation with you and usually retreat. I found a baby huntsman in my apartment, big baby, everyone at work said kill it they bite, I couldnt, he got rehomed outdoors. See snakes up here, esp after the rain but they to be respected and left alone. The dog chasing the snake is a possibility. Up here the pythons and crocs have a bad rap latley for taking little dogs. NZ has the katipo, red backs have now established themselves and the toxic white tail is well established.

#18 response from outahere at 19:33 on Wed, 23 May 2012

nothing in aus can be as bad or as toxic as the rapid overpopulation of the blood sucking/toxic vermon commonly refired to as the national government and its even more dangerous close relative called I.R.D. these two toxic pests will suck the life blood out of the whole country.

#19 response from ellwook at 08:28 on Wed, 6 June 2012

Just had our house sprayed to get rid of cockroaches and spiders, its effective and needs doing once a year. Paralysis ticks are a problem for cats and dogs and you have to be vigilant checking them. Also need to treat your dogs to prevent heartworm, which isnt in NZ. Cane toads are a problem for cats and dogs, my cat caught one played with it for a while, but I washed her mouth with a lot of water and she was fine.

#20 response from Amanda at 12:22 on Wed, 18 July 2012

This is an interesting topic as I too worry about creepy crawlies for my young boys (under 4 years old) when we move to Sydney next year.

Hi ellwook - You mentioned that you got your place sprayed to get rid of roaches and spiders. Can you tell me roughly for your size of house? (i.e. 2 or 3 bedroom? etc). I am trying to get an idea of cost for my budget sheet.

Thanks very much!

#21 response from Dee at 23:09 on Fri, 3 August 2012

Oh how funny all you Kiwis sound !! I am a Kiwi and have been in the South East Suburbs of Melbourne for nearly two years now. We have red backs and white tails behind the garage but my boys aged 4 1/2 and 6 1/2 know not to go there. We spray the house for spiders. We have had one Huntsman inside and that was after we had trees removed on the property.

I am a Florist so I have had Black house spiders, huntsmen and other various spiders in the shop as they come in on the greenery! NO SNAKES !!!!

As we are pushing our living spaces out towards the country more humans are encroaching on the natural habitat of snakes - lesson is - LIVE NEAR THE CITY!!!!

#22 response from RobFish at 08:41 on Mon, 19 November 2012

We are moving to the Gold coast soon. One of the main reasons we are going is to be able to have Snakes, Spiders and Scorpions etc as pets. My 7yr old son and I are SOOOOOOOOO excited about this. My main concern is that as my son has always lived in NZ and we go looking for skinks, spiders, wetas, bugs etc regularly and handle them freely as nothing is dangerous, he might be a danger to himself in OZ. Lots of talks about not touching anything without an abosolute positive ID, and lots of books/research coming I see. Cant wait to get my first snake, yeehaa

#23 response from snowsticks at 22:11 on Tue, 15 January 2013

I am from Port Douglas (Nth Qld) and used to get snakes in my bedroom ALL THE TIME especially around this time of year (wet season). I live in Brisbane now and have seen about 5 snakes in 3 years.

Huntsman spiders are the worst cause they get HUGE! Some of them can't be killed by spray so you have to hit them. They come into my house via drains and we kill probably 2 big ones a week! It's horrible!

@robfish you might want to look into whether you will be allowed to get a snake. I got a turtle a few years ago and it was really difficult for me to get a reptile licence and I am from Australia! I don't know the rules for foreigners but it definitely isn't easy for citizens!

Everyone seems to be moving to Melbourne and you all should be fine! Take a risk and move up north where the air is cleaner!

#24 response from Deb101 at 20:08 on Tue, 29 January 2013

Hi there
We are also wanting to move to the sunshine coast next year. We've just come back from having a look around and didn't see any snakes, spiders or the like, just a really cute big gree tree frog!
This has been really great to read, I have a jack russell and two cats and was concerned about snakes, cane toads and now I know about the ticks and heart worm. I have pet insurance but wondered are there any walks for dogs, like dog parks etc? We have them here, we can run up the hills on a track in the bush and run my dog off the lead, would like to know if there are many people who do this in Queensland? I guess it's hard, especially with a dog, but as long as I know where not to go and what to give him for the likes of ticks etc then it will help.
Loved reading all your comments - they were great

#25 response from Natz at 04:02 on Sun, 7 April 2013

SPIDERS!!! Argggghhhh. I live in the Dandenong Ranges and we get a huntsman in the house everyday. They are harmless but its just the fright you get when you see them and the size. The best thing to do is just leave them alone. They just sit there and watch you. I am yet to see a snake and they only thing I have been attacked by is an Ant and that hurt!!!
Also watch out for the Cockatoos ;) They enjoy waking you up at 6am

#26 response from ausykiwi at 06:41 on Sun, 17 August 2014

Was bitten by a white tail on my shin in Perth and had a bad reaction took a while for skin to recover but ok now maybe 1 / 2 months to clear up. Check your blankets b4 going to bed. It was in the bed. At least it didn't bite any important parts!

#27 response from Judith at 03:54 on Fri, 5 February 2021

We lived in Australia for 25 years and honestly we probably could count the number of snakes we saw on one hand (and we went bushwalking alot). Same with Huntsman Spiders. We were told all sorts of stories about funnel web spiders, snakes, and Goannas and to be honest, you don't have to worry too much. I think going from NZ where we don't have many nasties, it seems overwhelming, but most people barely give them a second thought, and in areas where there are more, just take care. I never had a leech once in the whole time, but I knew people who did, and ticks as well over there. Just don't overthink it, and enjoy the weather.

#28 response from JoyIronically at 23:23 on Sat, 2 July 2022

Snakes will usually only bite if they are attacked pestered or annoyed first that's if you ever see one at all. Huntsman spiders although huge are harmless, and on the decline along with everything else.

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