I completed the City2Surf yesterday. My first ever! And while my legs were screaming half-way up Heartbreak Hill, I couldn’t help look around at the absolutely glorious day we’d been given for the race. It was 23 degrees and the middle of winter.
I love our country.
While it’s great for us humans to be laying (or fallen down in a heap, in my case) on Bondi Beach in August, it’s also perfect weather for funnel web spiders poking their heads out and sniffing hopefully at the warm air. This time of year is usually when funnel webs hunker down, dormant in the cold earth. But our unseasonably warm winter has seen higher numbers of funnel webs appearing out and about.
The Australian Reptile Park, on the central coast of Sydney, collect live funnel webs for their venom, which is made into anti-venom by the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in Victoria. The park’s reptile and spider keeper, Mick Craig, recently commented in the Sydney Morning Herald that they’re receiving more funnel webs than normal for this time of year.
”It’s a bit weird,” he said.
”We’ve been getting them continually from members of the public. There’s usually a lull [in winter] but right now, we’re getting a couple a week.”
Check out the Australian Reptile Park’s venom program video on YouTube.
Funnel web spiders are one of Australia’s most venomous spiders mostly found around Sydney, spreading from Newcastle to Nowra and as far west as Lithgow. They burrow in sheltered sites, underneath logs and rocks where they can rush out at their prey as they walk across their silken trip-lines.
The venom on the males is up to five time stronger than the larger females. Here’s what’s interesting: humans are particularly sensitive to the funnel web’s venom, where their predators (such as toads, cats and rabbits) are largely unaffected.
If bitten by a funnel web you’ll know about it almost immediately. The bit is very painful and followed progressively by:
- muscle twitching
- secretion of tears
- excessive heart beat
- severe hypertension
- airway obstruction
- muscle spasms
- writing & grimacing
- raised intracranial pressure (head pain)
- widely dilated pupils
…and then death, unless emergency treatment is provided. Pretty scary stuff.
There are things that can be done around the home that can prevent your exposure to the funnel web and it’s risks:
- Avoid going outside bare-foot
- Always wear protection when doing the gardening (gloves, shoes & long pants)
- Make sure your fly-screens don’t have gaps around the edges
- Fit seals to the bottom of your external doors
- Remove debris from around the home
- Educate children to ‘look but don’t touch’
Eliminating the spiders completely from around the home can be difficult. Unlike termites, they don’t live in a central nest and new funnel webs can take the place of those that fall prey to predators or DIY pest control.
The Rentokil Year Round Protection Plan (YRP) is a service that provides continual protection for your home from 35 different pests, including the funnel web. The Plan includes 3 scheduled treatments per year including an annual termite inspection, unlimited service calls (in case you find pests in between visits) and personal recommendations to pest-proof your home. It is the ultimate protection for your home and family. YRP will get rid of the funnel webs around your home, even the new ones that come in to take residence.
Call our team on 1300 805 087 to arrange a free quote for your home.