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Australians Warned Deadly Funnel-Web Spiders To Take Over Homes In Wet Winter

by : Julia Banim on : 22 Oct 2020 14:22
Wikimedia Commons

Residents in New South Wales, Australia are being warned about a rise in deadly funnel-web spiders, with wet weather and warmer temperatures coaxing them out of their burrows.

The Australian Reptile Park has urged those living in the areas of Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast to keep an eye out for the venomous spiders as males begin to roam in search of a mate.

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These spiders are said to seek out cool and damp places within the home, and can be found getting comfortable in the laundry, garage or – shudder – in shoes.

🚨 FUNNEL-WEB SEASON IS HERE! 🚨With rain and warmer weather arriving this spring, funnel-web spiders are beginning to…

Geplaatst door Australian Reptile Park op Woensdag 21 oktober 2020

In an awareness-raising video posted to Facebook, the Australian Reptile Park’s Jack Meney described funnel-webs as being among the ‘world’s most dangerous spiders’.

The funnel-web’s large fangs and acidic venom means the bite can be extremely painful, with the toxin having a rapid effect upon a person’s nervous system.

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Early symptoms include tingling around the mouth, tongue twitching, excessive salivating, watery eyes, sweating and muscle spasms. Hypertension and an elevated heartbeat can also occur, and may well have very severe effects when combined with respiratory distress.

Not all cases result in serious symptoms, however there have been 13 recorded deaths from funnel-web spider bites in Australia, with the deadliest spider known to be the ferocious Sydney funnel-web.

Funnel Web SpiderWikimedia Commons

Meney advised:

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When found inside homes, Sydney funnel-webs prefer cool, damp places like the laundry, garage or in shoes left out on the ground.

It is best to ensure you are not leaving washing and clothing on the floor, if you leave your shoes outside – make sure you give them a tap on the ground before putting your foot in blindly as shoes can be the perfect little burrow for funnel-webs.

Pool filters should also be checked and cleaned regularly.

Funnel-web spiders can be very aggressive, and have been known to defend themselves when feeling under threat.

Those who suffer a bite are advised to remain calm, apply a pressure bandage and get themselves to a hospital for treatment as quickly as they are able to.

Sydney Funnel Web SpiderWikimedia Commons
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The Australian Reptile Park is also asking for any collected funnel-web spiders to be brought to one of its drop-off points or to the park itself, to be milked for venom as part of a life-saving antivenom program.

Collection should only ever be carried by responsible adults, and only when it is safe and feasible to do so.

The Australian Reptile Park Facebook page advises keeping your hand about 20cm away from the spider at all times, using a tool such as a spoon to push the spider into a large open-mouthed jar. This object should have a lid that can be tightened, keeping the spider safely contained.

To ensure the spider stays healthy and hydrated, a bit of damp soil or a cotton bud dampened with a little bit of water should be placed inside the jar.

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For those brave enough to capture a funnel-web, the full list of spider drop off points can be viewed here.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Animals, Australia, New South Wales, Now

Credits

Australian Reptile Park and 1 other
  1. Australian Reptile Park

    Spider Venom Program

  2. Australian Reptile Park/Facebook

    @AustralianReptilePark