RESIDENTS in New South Wales are being warned to keep an eye out for funnel web spiders, with recent wet weather encouraging the arachnids to be on the move.
Experts at the Australian Reptile Park are urging the public to be vigilant with the early start to the funnel web season.
The park in Somersby on the New South Wales Central Coast is the only institution in Australia that milks the funnel webs for their venom to be made into antivenom. Since pioneering the program in 1981, nobody has died from a funnel web spider bite.
Australian Reptile Park’s venom program for funnel-web milking relies solely on public support for funnel web spider hand-ins to the park or to drop-off zones, and over the last few days the amount of funnel web hand-ins has surged due to the wet weather.
“The last couple of years has seen decreasing amounts of funnel web hand-ins to The Australian Reptile Park, despite good exposure and community awareness.
“However this large amount of spiders coming in in the last week is promising that this is turning around,” said Head Keeper Daniel Rumsey.
“We’re encouraging residents of NSW to not kill funnel-web spiders that they come across but rather follow our safety guidelines on-line to capture the spider, and hand them in at the park or a participating drop-off centres.”
As specialists in funnel web behavior, Australian Reptile Park staff recommend that residents in areas that have a high number of funnel web spiders have a compression bandage in their house, readily available should someone be bitten.
“If bitten, a pressure immobilisation bandage should be wrapped firmly around the bite area and the limb, and medical assistance sought immediately”, added Mr Rumsey.
“We also recommend a capture kit be kept including a glass jar with air holes in the lid, and a plastic ruler to guide the spider into the jar for collection.”
In addition to the Australian Reptile Park, drop-off zones for funnel web spiders are located in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle.
Drop off zones around NSW include:
- Westmead Hospital
- Australian Reptile Park
- John Hunter Hospital
- Sutherland Hospital
- Gosford Hospital
- Hornsby Hospital
- Wyong Hospital
- Brookevale Greencross Vets
- Wyoming Veterinary Hospital
- Mona Vale Veterinary Hospital
- Wyong Hospital
- Hawkesbury City Council
- Vital First Aid Gosford
- Symbio Wildlife Park
For more details and drop off locations click HERE
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