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Sydney Funnel Web Spider

As one of the most lethal spiders on the planet the Australian funnel-web spider elicits both fear and wonder. There are around 40 different species of funnel-web spiders, but the best known and deadliest species is found in Sydney region.

Funnel Web Spider Burrow

Funnel Web Spider Burrow

Funnel Web Spider

Funnel Web Spider

Funnel Web Spider Fangs

Funnel Web Spider Fangs

Funnel web spiders are relatively large, ranging in body length from 1 to 5 cm. The average leg length for these spiders is six to seven centimeters. Both sexes are dark and glossy, ranging in color from black, to blue-black, to darker shades of brown or plum. The deadly male spiders have large fangs that are capable of piercing through your fingernails.

The deadly Sydney funnel-web spider is found in both the bushland and suburban neighborhoods between Newcastle to the north and Illawarra to the south. These are relatively large spiders, ranging in body length from 1 to 5 cm. Funnel-web spiders live in underground burrows, often occupying a space underneath a rock or a fallen log. They’ll turn a naturally occurring underground space into their home, by lining it with their silk, and putting trip lines outside the entrance to catch prey. They are mostly active at night, and sleep during the day.

Also, they prefer moist environments, making a well-watered lawn or garden an ideal spot. In fact, most human encounters with the deadly male spiders occur outdoors, in the garden. They are also more likely to wander the garden during a rainstorm, due to their underground home becoming flooded. Also, the males are more likely to come out of their burrows during warm weather to wander around, looking for a female to mate with. It’s at these times a deadly, male Sydney Funnel Web spider could wander into your home.

Another common occurrence is for the spiders to fall into a backyard swimming pool; if you find a funnel-web spider floating in your pool, scoop it out with extreme caution. These spiders can survive in water for up to 24 hours, so it is very likely the spider is not dead and drowned.

Use Caution Outdoors and When Gardening

When gardening, always wear gloves and remain alert for any signs of a funnel-web spider burrow. Encounters with funnel-web spiders usually happen when someone digs the spider up accidentally, or when male spiders are roaming around, looking for a female.

Also, if you have left your shoes outside, check them for spiders before putting them on. It’s also a wise idea the check your shoes indoors too.

If a Sydney Funnel Web spider does get inside your home, they are likely to move into the cooler, damp places inside, such as the laundry room, bathroom, or garage.

What to Do if You Encounter a Sydney Funnel Web Spider

In the extreme case of a bite, experts recommend applying a pressure immobilization bandage and going immediately to a hospital for an anti-venom treatment. There is no time to waste, if you are bitten by a Sydney Funnel Web spider.

However, your encounter with one of these spiders will likely be more benign. While you can simply stomp on the spider to eliminate the danger, another option is to catch it, and bring it to the Australian Reptile Park. The Reptile Park depends on spider donations to manufacture the life-saving anti-venom.

If it is safe to do so, you can catch the spider in a glass jar. Be very careful, experts recommend keeping your hands at least 20 cm away from the spider. The spider will not be able to climb out of the jar, and before you secure the lid, place a wet cotton swab and a bit of moist dirt in there too. Funnel-web spiders can die quickly of dehydration. Once that is done, take it ASAP to the Australian Reptile Park to be included in the anti-venom program.


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