Venomous Spider vs. Deadly Snake: Man Intervenes in Wild Struggle

A man found a deadly snake stuck in a web of a venomous spider that latched on its tail under a car in his shed.

Kyle Andrews was cleaning up his Two Wells home in Australia when he made the discovery on Friday, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). As he was tidying up, he found a baby eastern brown snake, the world's second-most venomous land snake, with a redback spider, one of the world's deadliest spiders, on its tail.

"I thought I'd seen a piece of electrical cable caught up and hanging underneath the car," he said, according to outlet. "I went down for a bit of a closer look and reached out to grab it and then realized it was a small snake hanging from a spider's web. The next thing I saw, there was a redback just part-way down the tail of the snake."

Both male and female redback spiders are venomous, but the female bites are more dangerous because they cause serious illness and sometimes could result in death, according to the Australian Museum. However, they rarely leave their web and can be dangerous if a body enters their web.

Venomous Spider vs. Deadly Snake: Man Intervenes
A dead snake is seen on January 16, 2011, in Rockhampton, Australia. A man found a deadly snake stuck in a web of a venomous spider that latched on its tail under a car at his house in Two Wells, north of Adelaide, Australia. Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Andrews decided to handle the situation because he was in a rush to take his daughter to a swimming lesson, even though it is advised to bring in a snake catcher to deal with the matter.

However, Andrews instead scooped the snake with a garden hose and threw it out of the shed. It is unclear whether the baby snake or the spider survived.

"I was thinking of waiting to see if the snake could free itself and bugger off on its own but I realized it was totally stuck there," he said. "The snake twitched a bit so I think the spider was biting it. I grabbed the nearest thing in the shed, which was a garden hose, and I scooped up the snake and flung it back out to where it had come from."

He added: "[The shed] is tidy and clean and my little girl spends time playing in here—so a snake is not even on the radar."

However, snake catcher Jarrad Waye told ABC that it is "always" important to call in an expert to handle any snake encounters, even baby snakes. Baby eastern brown snakes develop venom from the time they hatch and they often appear during this time of the year, according to Waye.

"Baby brown snakes are everywhere at the moment; it's that time of year where eggs are hatching," he said.

Despite being venomous, baby eastern brown snakes are weak to fight attacks from spiders or animals because they are left to survive alone after the moment they hatch.

Waye told Newsweek on Sunday that eastern brown snakes are highly venomous for the toxicity in their venom, which has the potential to kill a person from a bite. He also said that it is common for baby brown eastern snakes to get caught up in spider webs.

"Spider webs here in Australia [are] extremely sticky...Spiders will then take advantage of that, envenomating the snake and wrapping it up in more web, and feeding off the blood of the [snake in the] next few weeks," Waye said.

It is not uncommon to find snakes in unconventional places in Australia where people are more present, but humans encounter them more during the spring when male snakes are searching for a mate, Christina N. Zdenek, a postdoctoral fellow at the Venom Evolution Lab at The University of Queensland, told Newsweek in February.

"Here in Australia it is definitely not uncommon to find snakes inside people's houses. Snakes eat rats and mice. Unfortunately, mice are inside most houses so that's why they are coming inside for it's because of the food supply," Waye said.

People could also encounter snakes more during the summer when temperatures are more suitable for ectotherms, according Zdenek.

"In a 'boom' season, wildlife populations grow, including snakes. And new snakes in a system must find territories or hunting areas, so they may have to branch out to find something suitable. This may be why they sometimes end up in houses. However, snakes are vulnerable creatures that prefer to hide most of the time," Zdenek said.

Newsweek reached out to Adelaide Snake and Rodent Control for comment.

Update 3/5/2023, 4:34 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with comment from Jarrad Waye.