The Australian Reptile Park is proud to announce that Keeper Jake Meney, Head of Reptiles and Spiders, has successfully beaten his own venom record from milking funnel-web spiders. The latest results showed Jake had smashed the record at 0.35mg average per spider milking in comparison to 0.32mg – his previous record.
Although seemingly minuscule a difference, these minute amounts are enough to kill an entire room full of grown adult humans. Since the introduction of the Australian Reptile Park’s anti-venom program in 1981, there has been zero fatalities due to a funnel-web spider bite. This is thanks to the keepers working tirelessly every day to ensure each spider is being milked correctly to savour every precious venom drop. The Reptile Park is calling Jake a real life ‘superhero’ and their very own Spider-Man to coincide with their “Zooperheroes” school holiday promotion throughout the April school holidays.
The Australian Reptile Park is the ONLY place in Australia that milks funnel web spider venom to make into antivenom. Before the antivenom was developed 41 years ago, there were 13 recorded deaths in NSW by funnel webs, but there have been zero fatalities since the development of the antivenom in 1981.
It’s been competitive between the keepers seeing if they could out-do the previous record, and Keeper Jake is nothing short of ecstatic to hear the news. Commenting on his new record, Jake Meney states “We do try to make a bit of a competitive game out of it – it makes us keepers work a little bit harder to reach that goal and we’re so proud to say that all of the venom is going straight into saving the lives of the Australian public”
Director of the Australian Reptile Park, Tim Faulkner said, “Jake’s record break is an extremely exciting moment for the keepers here, but we can’t wait to see the day where we can potentially get DOUBLE that in a year.”
Mr Faulkner continues, “We rely heavily on the public handing in funnel-web spiders and would not be able to help save lives if it weren’t for their generous donations. We are about to head into the off season, but funnel-webs are still around due to the heavy rains we’ve been experiencing.”
The record break coincides with reports of an increase in funnel web spider sightings in Sydney-siders homes last week. The increase is due to the heavy rains the east-coast of Australia has been experiencing for weeks now, in addition to high-than-average humidity for this time of year.
The Australian Reptile Park encourages 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 around Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle to contribute to the lifesaving antivenom program. Details about drop off locations how to catch a funnel-web can be found at www.reptilepark.com.au.