The Australian Reptile Park is issuing a warning to the public as recent wet weather conditions followed by hot days this Spring 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.
In an educational video of warning that every Australian must watch, Zookeeper Jake Meney 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 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 and since the introduction of the program there has not been a single death.
Reptiles and Spider keeper, Jake Meney notes that the public need to remain vigilant, aware and safe when dealing with funnel web spiders. “The recent rain brings humid conditions where funnel web spiders thrive.”
Mr Meney continues, “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 milk them and save lives. We rely on public donations of funnel web spiders to build up our milking individuals”
He adds, “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.”
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.