All mouse spiders have a noticeably bulbous head and jaw. They are often confused with funnel-web spiders. Mouse spider bites are not common, but a few have caused serious issues in humans, with symptoms similar to funnel-web spider envenomation. Fortunately, mouse spiders aren’t typically found in heavily populated areas. Red-headed mouse spiders are the most commonly found.
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Missulena
Weight: .5 – .10 ounces
Length: 1.4 inch body | 3 inch leg span
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) The ouse spider is found throughout most of mainland Australia, in habitats spanning from semi-arid shrubland to open forest.
2.) Red-headed mouse spiders disperse via a method known as ballooning. They spin a long web and catch the wind which causes them to take flight. That’s right, flying spiders. Welcome to Australia.
3.) The males are often found when they wander in search of a female from late summer until April and May.
4.) They can produce 2 right angled trap doors that are nearly impossible to notice as they blend well with the ground. Other species of mouse spiders produce just a single trap door.
5.) These spiders often meet their demise by falling into swimming pools and drowning.
But wait, there’s more on the Australian mouse spider!
6.) The Australian mouse spider mainly feasts upon insects but it has been theorized that they may also eat small vertebrates.
7.) Being primarily ambush predators they lie in wait till a prey item passes by and then they pounce upon their dinner with great speed and powerful jaws. Their strong venom also helps them tackle large prey, like lizards and amphibians.
Did you know…?
Mouse spiders have a very toxic venom which is potentially as dangerous as that of the Sydney Funnel-web Spider.
8.) Ausie mouse spiders don’t always envenomate during a bite. This is called a dry bite.