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Venomous Australian redback spiders invading Japan

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Australia's venomous redback spiders are on the march in Japan, where they are believed to have arrived years ago as stowaways on cargo ships, a wildlife expert warned Wednesday. The spiders, named after their fiery markings, have infested the Osaka region and are drawing closer to Tokyo, said Japan Wildlife Research Centre official Toshio Kishimoto.

A dozen people have reportedly been bitten in Osaka Prefecture alone, media reports say, including a six-year-old boy who was treated with antivenom in June, the first time the medication had been used in the country.

"Their poison is strong and they are particularly dangerous to people in weak physical condition, like children and the elderly," Kishimoto said.

"Redbacks are becoming a common species in Japan. They are very numerous, especially in the western region, and are now often sighted in residential areas. Once the spiders spread, it's hard to eliminate them."

Redback bites, which inject a potent neurotoxin, have caused numerous deaths in Australia, although an antivenom stocked in hospitals has prevented fatalities more recently.

Redbacks were first spotted in Japan in 1995, around Osaka, a major port where, experts believe, they may have arrived in a container of Australian woodchips used to make paper in Japan.

Several years ago, a major redback infestation was found in the street drainage system of the city, and the arachnids have now spread to prefectures covering roughly a third of the country.

Kishimoto said Japanese people must become more aware of the dangers of redbacks, a species long feared in Australia, where the creatures are known to lurk in garden sheds, in shoes left outdoors, and under toilet seats.

"People need to be warned on how to treat them, and to be careful when they're out cleaning ditches, and to wear thick cotton gloves for example," said Kishimoto.

© Wire reports

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

25 Comments
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it's coming!

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First they send whitebacks to New Zealand, now redbacks to Japan- you can keep your nasty spiders, Australia. Next they'll be exporting their wonderful snakes...

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Ahhhhh!! I hate spiders! And they hide under the toilet seats? That's comforting news...

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have caused numerous deaths in Australia, although an antivenom stocked in hospitals has prevented fatalities more recently.

since the last reported death in Australia was in 1956 I'd say 'more recently' is a bit of an understatement or naff snock journalism

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Info on the Redback from an Aussie -

To get bitten you have to actually stick your hand into the web of a spider, they rarely leave their nest. The fangs of the Redback Spider are tiny. Even if you do manage to get bitten the bite is likely ineffective. In addition the Redback Spider venom is a very slow acting toxin, and most people don't show any reaction to it (except it itches like crazy).

Possible symptoms in those who do react are pain (can become severe), localised sweating at the bite site, and later on more sweating, muscle weakness, nausea and vomiting.

A simple ice pack is the best first aid. In most cases it's all that's required as very few people actually develop these symptoms.

Honest, if you go and see a doctor here and tell them a Redback bit you, they'll just tell you to go home and put ice on it.

A pressure immobilisation bandage as used for snake bites or funnel-web spider bites is not recommended. If you do develop severe pain or start feeling sick then you should seek medical help.

Antivenom is available and there is a lot of time (days!) to administer it. Nobody has died from a Redback Spider bite since the antivenom was introduced 50 years ago.

Read more: http://www.outback-australia-travel-secrets.com/australian_spiders.html#australian-spiders-redback#ixzz0XvDXwQRo

Hey that's clever, the cut-and-paste provided its own link. Cool.

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Um,yes and no.In Oz we usually spray our houses because of redbacks,white-tailed spiders and the more scary funnel webs.When I would be gardening I would see them under rocks nearby and in the lid of the compost bin..One summer I killed 14 of the buggers around the edges of the house.They prefer shady places like broken masonry,eaves and gutters. My brother who is a big strapping 100 KG lad was bitten on the hand when he lifted the car bonnet and one was hiding there.It hurt like hell but the doctor said 'you are a big fella so you should be OK..go home and come in again if you get sicker'..so he went home and got quite a fever and was shaking and then got dizzy and finally threw up and after that was much better..however the senior citizen that lives two doors down got bitten when he put on his shoes and had to be hospitalised for three days.It all depends on how big you are and your general health I guess. I would hazard a guess that the Japanese habit of leaving their shoes in the genkan will lead to a few nasty surprises. Anyway,there were two big initial infestations..one near Kansai airport and one in Nishinomiya.Reports I have read actually say that they are being found all the way to Tohoku and Kyushu these days.They are hardy little devils.Quite a beautiful spider if they weren't so poisonous.Still..at least they are redbacks and not funnelwebs.

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As Osakadaz points out, it depends very much on the health of a person bitten by a redback. I know a couple of guys who have been bitten over the years. One of them walked away with a bit of a headache, the other ended up in hospital (on a ventilator for a couple of days).

Anyway, redbacks in Japan are not a new thing. I remember the locals going into a panic about 10 years ago over an infestation that was found on some wood imported into Osaka.

Some general advice, don't put your hand into dark places, or go around turning over old bits of corrugated iron, etc. Redbacks like dark secluded places where they can spin a web.

Moreover, if you are worried about whether there are redbacks around you, look to see if you can find their egg sacks, which are like a little white puff ball.

If bitten by a spider, try to kill it (it helps to identify what you have be bitten by). If you cannot kill it, do standard first aid procedures while not going overboard in the cleaning of the wound site (venom splashes are also helpful in working out spider species).

Also under no circumstances try the Hollywood trick - sucking the poison out. This is both ineffective and can lead to ingestion of the poison via ulcers, etc.

Finally, start praying that Japan never experiences infestations of Australian snakes or Funnelweb spiders.

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i wonder if there are there any know predators for redback spiders?

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...One more thing ,if you have pot plants just remember wearing gloves when handling them, redbacks often hiding somewhere around the pots.

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Red Back Spider Eaters are the only known predators at the moment.

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WHitetails eat Redbacks

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Since the South American's gave Australia the Fire-ants, its only fair that Oz share's the wealth a bit.

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I suggest we quaranteen all Australians at the airport and search them on the plane so they do not carry this vile vermin to Japan. We should also all wear specially designed gators and close elementary schools nationwide for the time being.

Also it may even be a good idea to ban Aussie beef since it could contain spider eggs.

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See ladies, this why men always leave the toilet seats up! We were worried about you! Bet you will be insisting we leave the seat up now!

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This sounds like a joke but it is not. Several women in Mexico have died by being stung, bitten by nasty spiders while doing their thing on the toilet!

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Any other Aussies remember the "Redback on the toilet seat" ditty

A redback on the toilet seat when I was there last night,

I didn't see it anywhere, but boy I felt it bite,

Now I'm here in hospital a sad and lonely sight,

Cursing the redback on the toilet seat when I was there last night.

Sorry,the passage of time has dimmed my brain. However, I do remember singing this song all the time as a little fella. I also remember getting clipped around the ear by my Grandmother, who thought that toilet was a swear word.

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Pictures would help JT!

the creatures are known to lurk in garden sheds, in shoes left outdoors, and under toilet seats.

Toilet seats!?!? Don't even want to think about the that!

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Toilet seats... only an outback dunny. Not a toilet seat in your house!

These spiders love pot plants, verandahs and the stuff you keep on them. we never had them inside.

they are not aggressive and placid spiders. I hate spiders but with redbacks, if you dont bother them, they leave you alone.

I hope japan doesnt go into freakout mode over them.

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We get taught to be careful of redbacks from childhood, and funnelwebs doubly so. I wouldn't expect them inside a house, but anywhere with nooks and crannies in gardens and suchlike, sure.

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I just saw a picture of it on wikipedia. Looks like a black widow spider found in the southern US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redback_spider

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i wonder if there are there any know predators for redback spiders?

Chickens love them!

There is a fairly strong suggestion that these spiders aren't native to Australia too (having been introduced around the time of European settlement). They are not generally found outside urban areas in Australia - they like the towns and cities)>

Kumibo

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Redbacks inside tiny, crowded Japanese apatos?? Heeeelp!! I had a friend who once saw a giant centipede in his apato, but could never find it. No wonder he looked like a zombie, he couldn't sleep terrified of the thought of it crawling under his edredon.

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if these spiders are anything like the black widows we have here in southern California, there really isn't anything to worry about, just be conscious about them when poking through things that aren't moved very often (i.e. potted plants, ladders outside, really anything that you leave outside for a long time that doesn't get moved often)... but everyone should Google it just so they can be aware of what they look like

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At one time there were no Black Widows in this area, they came up from the south and hung out in outside electrical units to survive the winter. I recommend persistance. Our native spiders are a bit unique, these were easy to spot. Most of our native insect eaters have helped significantly. :)

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LostinNagoya at 08:36 AM JST - 30th November

Redbacks inside tiny, crowded Japanese apatos?? Heeeelp!! I had a friend who once saw a giant centipede in his apato, but could never find it. No wonder he looked like a zombie, he couldn't sleep terrified of the thought of it crawling under his edredon.

LOL!! ahahaahahahaahahahaha

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