The Australian Reptile Park is urging the public to exercise caution over the next few weeks as a surge of predicted rainfall in the coming days after a short spout of hot weather will create the perfect conditions for Funnel-web spiders within the Greater Sydney region to emerge from their burrows in search of a mate.
Over the past few months, Sydney has seen dramatic fluctuations in weather, and it’s set to continue over the next coming weeks. With changes of warmer weather to heavy rainfall predicted, this is set to create humid conditions. Experts at the Park are warning the public that this change in environment for funnel-web spiders will mean that they will be seeking sheltered areas, making houses and gardens the perfect spot.
The Australian Reptile Park is encouraging responsible adults to catch wandering Sydney funnel-web spiders safely and asking for any collected spiders to be brought to the Park or one of the participating drop off locations to contribute to the lifesaving antivenom program.
In an educational video of warning that every Australian must watch, Operations Manager at the Australian Reptile Park, Billy Collett, steps the average Australian through safely catching the venomous spider and the appropriate first aid should you or a loved one be bitten.
The Australian Reptile Park is the industry leader in Funnel-web spiders as it is the sole supplier of Funnel-web spider venom to make into lifesaving antivenom. The program has saved countless Australian lives since the program’s inception in the early 1980s – there has not been a single death since the introduction of the program.
Mr Collett notes that the public need to remain vigilant, aware and safe when dealing with Funnel-web spider. “All the rain this year has brought about humid conditions where Funnel-web spiders thrive.”
“It’s important that Australians are across the correct first aid and know how to SAFELY catch the spiders so that we can continue to extract their venom and save lives. We rely on public donations of Funnel-web spiders to build up our milking individuals,” he added.
The Sydney funnel-web prefers to make its home in sheltered, shady spots, which are always cool and humid. The natural habitat are rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests; however, the shaded areas of well-vegetated private gardens are also readily colonised.
“When found inside homes, Sydney Funnel-web spiders 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 floors, 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-web spiders. Pool filters should also be checked and cleaned regularly.” Mr Collett concluded.
If a member of the public was to be bitten by a Funnel-web spiders, or any spider they may think is a Funnel-web spider, it is important to stay as calm as possible and apply the correct first aid with a pressure immobilisation bandage and get to hospital as fast as you possibly can.