Find The Deadliest Spider of Australia – Sydney Funnel Web Spider
Information about the funnel-web spider – and how a blunder in its development made it one of the most dangerous bugs on Earth, able to kill a person in 15 minutes. Australia has a reputation for being full of dangerous animals, like sharks and box jellyfish in the water and snakes and bugs when you get there.
The funnel-web creepy crawly, which lives on land, has a history that backs up these claims. Its poison can kill a person in about 15 minutes.
But besides warnings to wear gloves when planting and check your shoes before putting them on, what else do we know about this dangerous creature with eight legs?
How to spot a funnel-web
There are 35 types of funnel web spiders, and a few of them live along Australia’s east coast, from Modern South Ridges to Queensland. One of these funnel web spiders is known as the world’s deadliest spider.
The Sydney funnel web (Atrax robustus) is usually found in both suburban areas and bushland. Its range is from Newcastle to Illawarra, which is to the north and south, respectively.
One male, which the Australian Reptile Park affectionately named “Big Boy,” grew to be 10 cm long when it was stretched out. It had large, backward-facing teeth that could bite through fingernails.
They are strong spiders with dark bodies and shiny, smooth fronts. Their insides are dark or dull plum in colour.
Most of the time, females stay in their burrows, which have the characteristic “funnel” webbing around the entrances. These burrows are often found under rocks or logs in rural gardens and bushland.
Males are more active, especially after it rains in the summer when they start to wander around looking for females. This is often when people meet them.
The males are nocturnal and very sensitive to light. They wander around at night looking for a mate, but if they don’t find one, Officer Mick from the Australian Reptile Stop says they’ll look for a safe place to spend the day, which is how they end up in people’s shoes or homes.
Mick says, “They’re not sneaking up on you or attacking you. It’s fair and a good way to find shelter.”
Mick says that because people like to move to the suburbs, they should be careful and wear gloves when planting, check their shoes before putting them on, and not walk around barefoot.
We’re almost there.
Dr Robert Raven, who is in charge of spiders at the Queensland Gallery, says that the atraxotoxin protein in funnel web poison is known to have serious effects on the nervous system, like cutting off nerve connections and stopping the relaxation cycle.
This causes fibrillation, which is when the nerves stop working all the time. Some signs of fibrillation are a fast heart rate, high blood pressure, trouble breathing, and a feeling of death around the mouth.
“Everyone knows within actions if they are going to die or are in a lot of stings. With funnel web, people have died in 15 minutes,”
Robert says. “It’s most dangerous to choke someone in the middle because you can’t use a tourniquet there.” Robert says that the big creature with eight legs is not as dangerous because its poison is so strong, but because it lives near people.
“We talk about Australia’s most dangerous snakes. The Central Australian Taipan is the most dangerous snake in Australia. It lives in places where there aren’t many people. But the East Australian Taipan is the most dangerous snake. It lives in places with more people “Says Robert.
“So, in the same way, the big thing is that most funnel webs are in Sydney, which is also where most people live, so you’re getting this double hit.”
They had no plans to kill anyone.
Since most of what they eat are small creatures without backbones, like millipedes, it makes you wonder why this 8-legged creature made a poison that can kill a healthy human in an hour.
“It’s a developmental accident,” Robert explains.
Mick says, “The poison works very well on two types of animals: animals with no spine and primates.” He also says, “From a genetic point of view, it’s pretty bad luck that funnel web didn’t evolve to attack people.”
But the poison makes each group feel different. It kills things that don’t have spines, but it causes fibrillation in primates.
It also means that its anger won’t hurt the pets it loves.
“Cats and dogs can easily survive a bite from a funnel web because their bodies get rid of the poison in about 30 minutes,” says Robert.
And birds are the same way. Mick says, “We say that if you have pieces of the funnel web, you should get chickens because they’ll eat them right up.”
After 13 people had died from it and years of research, scientists finally made an antivenin for the Sydney funnel web in 1981. Mick says, “And since then, we haven’t lost anyone.”
An important part of making the antivenin is the Australian Reptile Park. As part of a plan to get venom from snakes, five staff members are based in the country.
To make one measurement of antivenom, you need about 70 drains and a lot of spiders. Each drain makes poison beads that are 500 times smaller than a waterbed.
Men only live to be four years old, but women can live to be 20. Males can be sexed when they are two years old, which gives caretakers a short window of time to drain and breed in a collection that won’t last long and should be replaced often.
Mick says, “We’d resembling to have 500 people, but right now we only have 180.”
Every year, people in Sydney are asked by the park to pick up any funnel webs they see and put them in one of 11 spots. Mick says that this is the most important thing.
“About a year ago, a spider was given to the person whose life is being saved right now,” Mick says.
“The actual point of the agenda is to benefit people and make sure they don’t die.”
“I swear to God that if it stops right now, we’ll be right back in 1975.”