The funnel-web spider expert lists five things Australians need to know about the deadly creature
A funnel web hunter has revealed details and tips on how to protect yourself from one of the world’s deadliest spiders.
Scott Johnson, who collects venom from the venomous spiders, warned they can survive in Australian backyard pool water for five hours and will “walk” over bug spray unfazed.
Male funnel webs, which are responsible for the 13 deaths from bites in Australia, are regularly found on residential properties preying on females.
Mr Johnson told Daily Mail Australia they don’t have good eyesight and as a result can stumble into household pools, dog bowls and ponds.
He said the spiders can survive in the water for up to five hours because of the “book lungs” on their abdomens.
Scott Johnson, who collects venom from the venomous spiders (pictured), said funnel-web spiders can drown in as little as 2mm of water
Unlike other spiders, such as huntsman and redback spiders, funnel webs cannot scale smooth, non-porous glass and plastic surfaces
Mr Johnson (pictured), who collects venom from the venomous spiders, warned they can survive in backyard pool water for five hours and “walk” unfazed over bug spray
“It’s like a book filter, the air goes through the pages of a book and it filters through, sooner or later it gets wet and they drown.”
The moderator of Australia’s online spider identification site said they can drown in as little as 2mm of water.
Unlike other spiders such as huntsman and redback spiders, funnel webs cannot climb smooth, non-porous glass and plastic surfaces.
Five important things to know about funnel-web spiders
The deadly spiders can survive in the water for five hours. But eventually they drown even in 2mm of water.
Spider expert warns against picking the critters out of the pools with your hands as they can come to life quickly.
Surface bug spray won’t affect them as they just walk right over it.
The venomous creatures cannot climb smooth, non-porous surfaces like other spiders.
Installing a 10cm non-porous border of Bunnings can prevent them from entering your home.
Source: The Funnel Web Hunter
They usually die from being unable to scale the pool walls “because they can’t hold on”.
But he warned against picking spiders out of the water with your hands.
“They may look dead, but they don’t have to be. Sometimes people take a funnel net out of a pool and put it aside and within five minutes it’s back to life,” he said.
“It’s almost dead, but if they dehydrate they can revive and get well again.”
The critters hate the sun, so after roaming around at night, they often enter houses at sunrise to seek shelter from it.
“So they’re put under fridges, wall units, wall units, lounges and loose clothing that people leave lying around,” he said.
“They will seek dark, cool cover as the sun rises. A good precaution is to shake your clothes whenever you pick them up off the floor.’
The spiders are found in the wetter forest regions of the east coast and highlands of Australia from Tasmania to northern Queensland.
There are several types of funnel webs in the country, but only the male species in Sydney has caused the 13 recorded human deaths.
No fatalities are recorded by funnel-web females, as the male is five to six times more venomous after maturity.
Mr Johnson said the first aid needed after a bite is the same as people in Australia would use to treat venomous snake bites.
“Pressure, dressing and immobilization techniques. Get the patient to lie down, remain calm and let the emergency services come to you,” Mr Johnson said.
“If you get up and walk around, the flow of venom will increase and depending on how much venom the spider has put in you will determine how bad the symptoms get.”
Funnel-web spiders (pictured) hate the sun, so after roaming around at night, they often enter homes at sunrise to seek shelter from it
There are a few preventative measures to keep the dangerous creatures from entering your home — but surface sprays won’t work.
“Because it’s a migratory spider, surface sprays and sprays don’t affect it, it just walks over it,” Mr Johnson said.
But for those who want top-notch protection, he recommended putting up physical barriers where the spiders were seen — like a Bunnings-style garden border.
“If it’s smooth, non-porous plastic that’s at least 10 cm high, the funnel nets can’t climb over it,” he said.
What is a funnel web spider?
– Funnel-webs are native to the east coast of Australia and live in burrows with “funnel” entrances, often under rocks or logs.
– They are known to be some of the deadliest spiders in the world, with 35 known subspecies in Australia alone. Six of these are capable of — and known to — seriously injure humans.
– They have long sharp fangs that can pierce fingernails and even shoes, and if provoked, they will stand on their hind legs and show their fangs.
– Nocturnal and active after heavy rain, the glossy, dark-colored spiders will hold onto their victims while biting them repeatedly.
– They are a medium to large spider, up to two inches in length, native to the east coast of Australia.
– One member of the family is the highly venomous Sydney funnel web, Atrax robustus, which can be found within a 100km radius of the city.
– Funnel nets in Sydney were responsible for 13 fatal bites, including seven children.
– Male Sydney funnel webs are six times more venomous than females and their painful bites can kill within 15 minutes.
– Symptoms of poisoning begin with tingling around the mouth, twitching of the tongue, profuse salivation, watering eyes, sweating and muscle cramps.
– Hypertension and increased heart rate follow and, in combination with shortness of breath, can be very serious and possibly fatal.
– First aid treatment includes a pressure immobilisation bandage, the same treatment as for a snake bite.
– The entire affected extremity should be tightly bandaged and, if possible, further restricted in movement by applying a splint.
– Antivenom was developed in 1981 and no fatal bites have been reported since then, with victims now able to leave the hospital in one to three days.
How to protect your home from invading funnel networks
You can set up a garden edging and place it around your home’s hotspots.
Hang it where you have seen or suspect that funnel webs have entered your home.
It must be a smooth, non-porous material that cannot climb a hopper track.
Find the smooth plastic garden edging at Bunnings that you can use to border your home and garden.
The edge should be at least 10 cm high.
Clean up loose leaves as spiders like to hide under them.
Source: The Funnel Web Hunter
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11904951/Funnel-web-spider-expert-lists-five-things-Australians-need-know-deadly-creature.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 The funnel-web spider expert lists five things Australians need to know about the deadly creature