The Australian Reptile Park is issuing a warning to the public as recent torrential rains and wet weather conditions during Summer will create perfect conditions for funnel-web spiders to thrive. This means male Funnel-webs will be leaving their burrows in search of a mate, sometimes ending up in houses or residential gardens.
The wet weather over the past week will bring an increase of the number of spiders wandering about. 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.
The Australian Reptile Park 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 1980’s – there has not been a single death since the introduction of the program.
Reptiles and Spider keeper, Sam Herrmann notes that the public need to remain vigilant, aware and safe when dealing with funnel web spiders. “Summer is funnel web season and with the recent rain brings during conditions where funnel web spiders thrive so now is the time people will be seeing funnel webs more and more. We need to public to assist us with bringing funnel web spiders to the Australian Reptile Park”
Mr Herrmann continues, “It’s important that Australians know how to SAFELY catch the spiders so that we can continue to milk them and save lives. We rely on public donations of funnel web spiders to build up our milking individuals”
“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 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-webs. Pool filters should also be checked and cleaned regularly.” Mr Herrmann concluded.
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.
If a member of the public was to be bitten by a funnel web spider, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and apply the correct first aid, which is a pressure immobilisation bandage and get to hospital as fast as you possibly can.
The Australian Reptile Park website instructs the public how to catch the funnel web safely and lists the drop off points, all over Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle where they can be donated. More information at www.reptilepark.com.au