Dutch vs Australian spiders

Australian Redback
Photo source:http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/australian-spiders-the-10-most-dangerous.htm













When we lived in Australia, I was always cautious about and quite scared of spiders.  In fact, I shouldn’t be researching this article before bedtime because I’ve just taken a look at the pictures in this Australian Geographic Gallery of Australia’s 10 most dangerous spiders and I’m likely to have nightmares.  Interestingly enough though, I learnt in that article that Australian spiders may not be quite as deadly as many think.

Regardless, during my own childhood in Australia we were taught to stay well away from spiders and during our Life in Australia I’d keep a close eye on the children in the garden (also teaching them about snakes!).

However here in The Netherlands, it seems to be a different story.  I was actually quite horrified in our first few weeks here to discover the girls running around the back garden with their cousins “collecting” spiders webs on a stick.  My initial instinct was to tell them to “stay away”!  However after a chat with them about the benefits of spiders to the eco-system (which may or may not have sunk in to their little minds), as a parent I didn’t class it as a dangerous situation.  As far as I know, Dutch spiders are not poisonous?  I’ve just found a site via google about a huge variety of Spiders of The Netherlands but like I said before, being bedtime and all, I’m not going to look at it in much detail!

So instead, I’ll share a story from our week.  My youngest daughter has a routine of ringing our doorbell as we arrive home – just for fun.  This time though, she jumped back in fright.  “Mama, a spider!”.  I replied (after taking a look) – “He’s ok there, you can get a stick and gently move him.  But that’s only because it’s a Dutch spider and not dangerous. In Australia, you must never go near the spiders, they’re poisonous”.  Her response?  (Brilliant 4 year old logic).  “But Mama, this spider might have gotten on a plane from Australia and flown here – like we did!”

So perhaps, just stay away from spiders where-ever you are!  Are you scared of spiders?  Any experiences with Dutch or Australian spiders?  Love to hear from you in a comment below.


Dutch doorbell spider


9 thoughts on “Dutch vs Australian spiders

  1. I’m not scared of spiders (but I am of snakes!). When I was in Africa, someone said to me, “If it’s an animial, it’s dangerous.” He meant that we should treat each animial with respect. I like that. I like the motivation to be respect, not fear. I now have the urge to look up some information about Dutch spiders! For to love children’s logic.

  2. Dear renee, first of all I like to say that I love to read your blogs. I can relate to your stories. Only I’m a Dutchie that moved to oz to be with my ozzie partner. When I first moved to Australia I was really scared of all sorts of animals. Even the littlest ant would scare me. Spiders are not something to be really scared of here in the Netherlands, but it’s instinct I guess. And I also only realise that now even more so now I’ve been in Australia and am back in the Netherlands. It makes me laugh when people are scared of the smallest bug. I don’t back up for a spider or freak out when I feel something crawling on me anymore. I Luckily never been bitten by a spider or snake while in oz because I had a good teacher 🙂 but I could never escape the ants.

    Cheers Marlies

    1. Liked to read your experiences too Marlies, thanks for sharing! It’s always amazed me how ants seem to be just everywhere. We haven’t seen as many since we moved to The Netherlands but just yesterday when we were out having a picnic the ants joined us. Something I really don’t miss from Australia is the mosquitos. There are some here in the summer but they are a lot more rare….still have had a few buzzing at night and driving me crazy though. I need the spiders to eat them!

  3. It is quite the relief not having to worry about poisonous spiders and snaked here in the Netherlands 🙂 Children can play outside and us parents do not have to worry about those specific dangers. However, we are quite nervous about our first trip back to Australia in December since we moved here, as the kids have not grown up around all of those poisonous animals and are therefore not as aware or cautious as they will need to be when we are there.

  4. Slight pang of guilt. A spider was on the wall in my classroom. It was a big one. They’re (generally?) not dangerous. I was trying to get an important point across to my pupils and I admonished the child for paying more attention to that spider than the ‘important’ facts I was trying to teach. I believe I said something like: “Look. They don’t JUMP off the wall!” But I obviously still feel guilty after more than a decade of being retired.

  5. Dear Renee, I saw your blog this morning when I was looking up spiders in The Netherlands. I’ve never worried about them but was gardening yesterday and got a painful tingling sensation on my leg which hasn’t gone away. Probably stinging nettle but I thought I’d check out Dutch spiders just to see if any are dangerous. I grew up in Australia near the bush. As a child we learn’t all the strategies you used with your children…and with good reason. I always gardened with boots on, even in summer, because I once raked some ivy in the garden (in flip flops at the time) and raked a funnel web onto my foot. These spiders kill people if they bite! We had quite a lot in our garden. So many that my father collected them for the CSIRO so that they could continue to develop their anti-venom. They had to be delivered live of course for milking (like a snake) so we had to be very careful catching them.
    We also had red-bellied black snakes sometimes come into the garden which are protected so we had to call a snake catcher to pick them up. I have been in The Netherlands for 8 years now. It took five years for me to stop checking my shoes before I put them on and being cautious and jumpy around the garden and on walk. Old habits die hard!
    Joy Jhugroo

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