Funnel Web Spider
• Funnel-webs spiders are large black spiders ranging from 1.5 – 5cm with a shiny head and thorax. The colour of their abdomen ranges from brown to bluish.
• They are aggressive when provoked and will rear-up and strike. Their venom is highly toxic.
• They live in underground burrows in sheltered habitats under rocks and logs, and in stumps and tree trunks in the garden.
• Their burrows are lined with silk and the entrance has several strong strands of silk that radiate outwards and act as trip-lines for prey.
• Female funnel-web spiders can live up to 20 years. The spend most of their life in the burrow only venturing out to grab passing prey such as small vertebrates such as lizards and frogs.
• Males leave their burrows in the warmer months and wander looking for a female, especially during or after rain and may enter your home. They can often be confused with black house, mouse or wolf spiders.
• There are 35 described species of funnel-web spiders. The most common species is the Sydney funnel-web (Atrax robustus). This is the most venomous of the species and have been found as far as Newcastle in the north, Nowra in the south and Lithgow in the west.
• Bites by males of two large species, the Sydney funnel-web and northern tree funnel-web, have resulted in death however no deaths have been recorded since the introduction of the antivenene in 1981.
Funnel-web Spider Bite Prevention
• Wear shoes when outside in the garden.
• Wear gloves when gardening.
• Know what their burrow looks like.
• Don’t leave shoes outside overnight.
• If camping, close tent flaps and shake out any footwear, clothes and sleeping bags left on the ground.
• Keep calm and move only if necessary.
• If a limb is bitten, apply a pressure bandage to bite area and around the limb towards heart.
• Immobilise the limb with a splint.
• Carefully collect the spider for identification (even if squashed)
• Seek medical aid as soon as possible.