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Redback spiders found in Tokyo for first time

34 Comments

Venomous redback spiders, which are indigenous to Australia, have been found in Tokyo for the first time.

Ten spiders were found in a park in Mitaka on Thursday, NTV reported Friday.

Tokyo metropolitan government and Environment Ministry officials have warned people not to touch the spiders with their bare hands. A redback spider bite can cause severe headaches, muscular pain and in some cases, death, officials said.

Redbacks have been spotted in Japan before but never in Tokyo. The Environment Ministry believes they may have entered Japan aboard cargo ships from Australia.

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34 Comments
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I guess winter can't come fast enough with these spiders and mosquitoes around Tokyo.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Stay away from those critters. Australia, land of the most dangerous animals on the planet and I am not talking about their Ozzie Rule teams.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It would be good for Japan not to have redbacks, but I regularly have them under my back steps and in the garage. They're not aggressive and are only likely to bite if you stick your fingers into their webs (usually under clutter). I don't think anyone has ever actually died from a redback bite, not that I know of, anyway.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

As long as we don't get any Sydney funnel webs here, we'll be okay.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

These spiders are most dangerous for the young and old. With winter coming they will very likely move into homes and commercial premises

1 ( +4 / -3 )

According to wiki, at least 14 people are recorded to have died from red back spider bites before the introduction of anti venom in 1956. Most bites require no medical treatment, just local application of ice and a couple of paracetamol to kill the pain. In almost all cases symptoms resolve within a week.

Dogs appear to have some resistance to the venom, but may suffer vomiting, diarrhoea and muscle tremors; cats are more susceptible and need anti venom. Guinea pigs, horses and camels are very susceptible.

Redbacks need warm summers but are resistant to the cold in winter, and there is apparently an established population in Osaka.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

If they got to a park from a container ship then you would assume there must be hundreds of thousands by now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I'm more concerned with ticks.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

One of the consequences of modern globalization. There are already countless invasive species of different animals infesting different parts of this planet. And eradicating them is almost impossible. What are the natural predators of this spider? Are those predators also available here in Japan? It's a realistic scary movie.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

And eradicating them is almost impossible. What are the natural predators of this spider? Are those predators also available here in Japan? It's a realistic scary movie.

My shoes.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Calm yourselves. These guys will not come after you in the night. They like dark nooks and crannies and given how clean Japanese people keep their homes, they will never been seen. They will stick to gardens and corners. As an Aussie (Ozzie was the greatest Ostrich in the Solar System) who hunted these critters as a kid, I was lucky to find one. They eat mosquitoes so be happy. I live two stops from Mitaka so I rejoice. Their natural predator and/or prey is Slim Dusty's bum (Aussie will get it). You really wanna worry about an introduced species from Australia besides Miranda Kerr, look out for Scotch Thistles. The curse of Werribee!! - I saw some in my area. Both probably came in with wood from Australia. Miranda flew in. P.S. Redback beer is fantastic!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Not in Japan. The other day a coworker took a picture of a redback in his home.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Rik

and given how clean Japanese people keep their homes

Massively inaccurate stereotype. There's a whole spectrum of home cleanliness in Japan, just like any other nation's. Just DON'T be putting your hand in dark places.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

In North America, we have a poisonous spider called a "black widow." Interestingly, it looks very similar to the redback.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's very serious problem!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

One movie comes into my mind - Arachnophobia .

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yabits, that is what I thought it was too, I also thought it was a bigger, fatter Black Widow in Spanish, la viuda negra!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In North America, we have a poisonous spider called a "black widow." Interestingly, it looks very similar to the redback.

They look similar because they belong to the same genus: Latrodectus While the backs of the approximately 32 different species are marked differently, all the members of Latrodectus have the red hourglass on the "belly" and all have a tendency to eat the male during the mating process. Hence the genus' non-official title of "the widow spiders".

...and all hurt like a son of a gun when you get bit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh no, this is why I left Brisbane!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Wow, thank you for that information, Fadamor and ElbudaMexicano.

I have always been fascinated by spiders. Here in Georgia, I have come across a few black widow spiders in the near-30 years we've lived here. Like many have said, these spiders are extremely shy and will only bite if you stick your hand somewhere you don't thoroughly check out first.

I've heard stories (urban legends?) of this type of spider building nests in closets, and more specifically, women's hairpieces.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

black widow bite necrotized a 500 yen coin sized area on my mom's leg. Not fun.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a Sydneysider, I can tell you that these are like cute ladybugs compared to the sheer horror of the Sydney Funnel-Web Spider! Nothing compares!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

They only give you pain and swell like the time I got stung by wasp. Way, way better than what I see in the URL

http://thehorrortree.blogspot.ca/2012/07/brown-recluse-spider.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As the article says they've been found in Japan before. About 10 years ago there was a report on TV about Redbacks somewhere near Osaka. I wonder if they are still there. As some others have said, at least they aren't Funnel Webs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yeah, there is a colony of them in Osaka as well. They were first found in the late ninties. Nobody has been bitten by one in Japan though.

Nice comment about the funnel web spider. Did you know the funnel web venom is specifically formulated to effect primates? If a dog or cat is bitten it does nothing. It's very strange considering funnel web spiders evolved on a continent with no primates.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Redback spider is no longer considered a danger to life but a bite from the Redback can be painful and distressing, producing localized swelling, sweating and nausea. The female is the most dangerous but the male is not considered a threat as their fangs are so small they can't penetrate human skin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

sighclops, don't be bringing any of those over, okay?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Oh dear. So now there are redback spiders and giant hornets in Japan. Lovely. A natural predator of redbacks are actually daddy long legs spiders which are endemic to most of the planet including Japan. In Australia many of us try to encourage them to live in ours homes because they routinely kill more dangerous spiders but there bites are at worst mildly irritating to humans not much worse than a mosquito bite. There's also not aggressive towards humans, they're only real drawback is the webs they leave everywhere. Since they're endemic to Japan perhaps they could be used as a natural solution to the red-backs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nice sensationalism.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have been bitten by a Red back spider on my left breast and yes it hurt like hell. Hospital for an anti venom shot and antibiotics for a week intravenously, but hey that's living in Australia for ya.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I grew up on a farm in Kansas infested with brown recluse spiders and black widows. A red-back spider is only scary because it is out of place. I apparently brought a brown spider back with me after a trip back to America. The brown smudge on the wall left after its smooshing serves as a reminder to carefully check all of my bags before leaving another continent.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very easy Quick cure Fly swatter one hit then their gone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@UK9393 Keep your eye on the ball, not the man. No, I am not an expert of all levels of housekeeping in Japan or the world. I should have added "generally" to my massively inaccurate stereotype. Spiders, in particular, are not welcome in Japanese homes, generally. An observation formulated over 30 years here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hard to believe that Australia has the toughest quarantine laws yet has MOST of the worlds deadliest insects and reptiles. Other countries should be posing much harsher quarantine procedures on travellers and cargo arriving from Australia!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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