The Indonesian island of Bali is a famed tourism hotspot, much loved for its laid-back, tropical vibe. The island is also well known for its wide range of wildlife, of which there is plenty to be wary of, including the spiders in Bali.
The good news is that, though there are plenty of spiders in Bali, none of them are dangerous. This means that no matter what type (or size) of spider you come across on the island, the worst it can do is give you a pretty nasty fright. In fact, spiders don’t even make it onto the list of the most dangerous animals in Bali. However, many of Bali’s spiders grow to quite a size, so if you’re heading to the Island of the Gods, you might want to know what you could stumble across.
From the big to the small, here are seven species of spiders in Bali you should keep an eye out for.
Huntsman (Heteropoda maxima)
We start with one of the biggest of Bali’s spiders, the huntsman. Though they are mostly harmless to humans the huntsman’s size means that for many they are utterly terrifying. Huntsman spiders typically have a leg-span of around 15 centimeters with a body that’s around two centimeters in length. However, it’s not uncommon for some species of huntsman to grow to twice that size.
In Bali, huntsman are often referred to as wood spiders due to their fondness for wooded areas. A distinguishing feature of the huntsman is their oddly shaped legs, which often protrude forwards rather than to the side of the body. This is why the huntsman gets another of its nicknames, the crab spider. Though the huntsman is largely harmless they do carry a mild venom and will give a nasty bite if they feel threatened.
Golden Orb-Weaver (Trichonephila clavipes)
The golden orb-weavers are common spiders in Bali, as well as across much of South East Asia, and are known to reproduce throughout the year. The female orb-weaver is much larger than their male counterparts, capable of growing to around 20 centimeters in total. In contrast, the male only grows to a few centimeters in total length. Though the females may look pretty intimidating thankfully they are non-venomous and pose no threat to humans.
The golden orb-weaver gets its name from the large yellow webs that they spin between tree branches. It’s not uncommon for the orb-weaver’s webs to be up to a meter wide, which it uses to catch its prey. It’s also believed the orb-weaver will cover its prey by wrapping it in webbing in order to preserve it to consume later. The orb-weaver’s web is said to be the ideal substance for keeping trapped insects fresh and ripe for consumption.
Jumping Spider (Salticidae)
The jumping spider is another spider that is commonly found throughout Bali. There are thousands of different species of jumping spiders throughout the world, and it is believed to be the largest family of all species of spiders. There are several different types of jumping spiders found throughout Bali. Their name is fairly self-explanatory, as the jumping spider leaps to pounce on its prey as well as to flee from potential danger.
Despite there being a wide variety of body shapes and patterns across the species jumping spiders are usually fairly easy to recognize thanks to a few distinguishing features. All jumping spiders have eight eyes, with two large eyes at the center of a rectangular head. Usually, little more than a few centimeters in size, some of Bali’s jumping spiders are known to mimic wasps in order to deter potential hunters.
Wolf Spiders (Hogna aspersa)
Wolf spiders are another of Bali’s large but mostly harmless spiders. With a maximum body size of just over an inch, the wolf spider’s long legs and dark coloring give it a menacing appearance. Wolf spiders do produce a venom which they will use if threatened. However, if bitten by a wolf spider the worst effects of the venom are little more than swelling, an irritating itch and a small amount of pain.
Like the huntsman and the jumping spider, wolf spiders have excellent vision, which is generally rare in spiders. This is partly due to the eight eyes that sit across the wolf spider’s head. Two of the eight eyes are the most prominent, which is how they can be determined from other spiders with a similar appearance. Though they live a solitary life and are largely nocturnal it’s not uncommon to come across wolf spiders in less built-up areas of Bali.
The anelosimus bali is a tiny spider that is endemic to Bali, which the species has been named after. Only discovered as recently as 2012, the minuscule anelosimus bali’s body is just a few millimeters long. So far only the female of the species has been spotted in Bali. The anelosimus bali lives in trees along coastal regions and amongst the island’s mangroves.
Unlike other breeds within the same species, the Anelosimus bali is believed to live mostly in solitary isolation. In the unlikely event that you’d ever come across a anelosimus bali, it can be recognized by a thin brown or red band across its small, round body.
Tree Trunk Spiders (Herennia multipuncta)
Tree trunk spiders are another very common spider in Bali. Found in forested areas throughout the world, tree trunk spiders have fairly small bodies that are typically around two centimeters in length along with long protruding legs. Unusually amongst spiders, their bodies feature two spinnerets, the organ with which they produce their web.
Rather than spinning webs to capture prey, the tree trunk spider will trap its victim by laying a small section of webbing over a patch of a tree. Once they’ve fallen into the trap, the tree trunk spider will then completely wrap its prey, encasing it in its webbing, and then devouring it once it has been completely restrained.
The belisana spider belongs to the same broad group of spiders as the daddy long legs and comprises of a small round body with long, thin, gangly legs. The body is often less than a centimeter in length and although they bite their prey they are completely harmless to humans. They trap their prey in their webs and, just like the tree trunk spider, they completely wrap their victims with extra webbing.
Belisana spiders do also possess tiny fangs and produce a venom strong enough to kill its prey, though it has no effect on humans. Mostly living off whatever they can trap and overpower in their webs, the belisana has also been known to attack and eat other spiders, including their eggs.
Are there poisonous spiders in Bali?
There are venomous spiders in Bali, but none of them pose any real threat to humans. All of Bali’s poisonous snakes produce only a very weak venom which is incapable of doing any real harm to humans beyond an irritating itch and a bit of swelling.
Are spiders common in Bali?
Spiders are common in Bali’s urban areas, often seeking shelter in warm, secluded spots inside buildings. Spiders are much more common in less built-up and rural, forested areas away from Bali’s major towns.
What is the largest spider in Bali?
The largest spider in Bali is the huntsman spider, which can grow up to 30 centimeters in total length.