Urgent warning for ‘plague’ of deadly spiders as they rise from the earth to escape floodwaters
- Australian Reptile Park issued urgent warning of a funnel web spider ‘plague’
- Combination of rain, floods and humidity ‘the perfect storm for a spider boom’
- Spiders could be about to enter greater Sydney homes in record numbers
Sydney’s torrential rains and heartbreaking flooding looks set to create another terrifying ripple – thousands of desperate funnel web spiders entering houses.
The Australian Reptile Park says the combination of record flooding and humidity was ‘the perfect storm’ to set off a spider boom ‘in coming days’.
On Wednesday it issued an urgent warning about what it called a incoming funnel-web spider plague’, adding that this was a ‘completely different’ situation to previous warnings.
Experts says the combination of flooding and humidity is ‘the perfect storm’ to create a spider plague in Sydney
‘Under normal circumstances, the humidity that is generated from warm weather after a rain event would see an increase in activity amongst funnel-webs. This situation is completely different,’ Australian Reptile Park Director, Tim Faulkner warned.
‘Not only are we seeing increased movement due to humidity, but we’re already seeing a plague of ground-dwelling spiders searching for higher ground, out of the floodwaters.’
‘With the incredible flooding that we’ve experienced across the Greater Sydney area, they have been forced out of their habitat and are seeking refuge in dryer areas.
‘Unfortunately, this could mean that they’ll be finding their way into residential homes very shortly.’
A clip posted to Tik Tok showed spiders climbing fences to escape rising floodwaters
But the Australian Reptile Park – which ‘milks’ funnel web spiders to create antivenom – also called on competent Sydneysiders to try and catch the spiders.
‘If you feel safe enough to do so, you can contribute to the Australian Reptile Park’s lifesaving spider antivenom program, Mr Faulkner said.
‘The Australian Reptile Park is encouraging responsible adults to catch wandering Sydney funnel-web spiders safely and asking for any collected spiders to be brought to the Park or one of the participating drop off locations to contribute to the lifesaving antivenom program.’
Details about drop off locations and how to catch a funnel-web can be found here.
Jake Meney, a ‘spider keeper’ with the Australian Reptile Park demonstrates how to safely catch a funnel web spider
FUNNEL WEB FACTS
- The male Sydney funnel web is the second-most venomous spider in the world
- It is about 2.5cm in length
- The male is smaller than the female (but six times as poisonous)
- They are not good climbers and cannot jump
- The NSW anti-venom program needs 150 spiders to make one vial
- Funnel webs move freely in warm, humid weather
- They can even live underwater in the pool for 48 hours
SPIDER DOS & DON’TS
Don’t leave shoes, towels and clothes on the floor
To check empty shoes, hold the toe and tap firmly against a hard surface
Never put your hand inside your shoe to check for spiders
Never put your hand over the hole in your shoe when you check it
Don’t handle a spider that looks to have drowned
Wear gloves when gardening
Be very careful moving rocks, bricks and logs
Teach children to call an adult immediately if they see a spider and never to play with them
WHAT IF YOU ARE BITTEN
- Don’t remove clothing
- Stay still
- Apply a pressure immobilisation bandage
- This involves wrapping a tight bandage around the whole limb i.e. finger to shoulder, or toes to hip
- Also use a splint to prevent movement of the limb
- Stay still and wait for ambulance