Sydney funnel-web spider: Australian Reptile Park warning over world’s most venomous spider

Authorities have issued a fresh warning over the world’s most venomous spider, with heavy rains and warmer weather an ideal combination for roving male Sydney funnel-web spiders.

Billy Collett, operations manager at Australian Reptile Park, told NCA NewsWire it is now “peak funnel-web season”.

“The males start walking around to find a female, and if they don’t find anyone by the time the sun comes out, they’ll find somewhere dark and cool,” Mr Collett said.

He said popular hiding places include laundries and gardens, and in particular shoes – which he advised to bang together before slipping your feet into.

Mr Collett urged those who feel comfortable to put the spiders in some form of jar and to take them to Australian Reptile Park spider drop-off points, which the park needs for its lifesaving antivenom program.

He said the spiders can be contained in a jar with some soil and holes in the lid and kept in a cool place. There are drop-offs in Gosford, Sydney and the Central Coast.

Mr Collett said funnel web spider season generally coincides with snake season, and said first-aid approaches are the same for bites from both.

He said to apply a pressure bandage and wind firmly to the top if it’s a limb that is affected, splint the limb if possible, and limit movement as much as possible.

Mr Collett said the recent heavy rainfall experienced on the east coast would exacerbate the movement of Sydney funnel-web spiders, as more burrows were likely to have been disrupted.

Sydney funnel web spiders are considered to be the most venomous spiders in the world, and are generally found across Sydney and the Central Coast.

Mr Collett said annually around 20 people are bitten by funnel-web spiders, but no one has been killed as a result of funnel-web bites since the availability of an antivenom in 1981.

Historically, Sydney funnel web bites have killed 13 people.

Originally published as Australian Reptile Park issues fresh Sydney funnel-web spider warning

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