Central Coast residents are warned that the region is likely to experience a funnel-web spider spike, with recent rains followed by hot days having provided perfect conditions for the deadly arachnid.
The Australian Reptile Park said male funnel-webs will be leaving their burrows in search of a mate, sometimes ending up in houses or residential gardens.
The Park is encouraging responsible adults to catch wandering funnel-web spiders safely and take them to the park or one of the participating drop off locations to contribute to its lifesaving antivenom program.
In an educational video, zookeeper Jake Meney steps people through safely catching the venomous spider and the appropriate first aid should you or a loved one be bitten.
The Australian Reptile Park is the sole supplier of funnel-web spider venom to make into lifesaving antivenom.
The program has saved countless Australian lives since its inception in the early 1980s and since the introduction of the program there has not been a single death.
Meney said the public needs to remain vigilant, aware and safe when dealing with funnel web spiders.
“The recent rain brings humid conditions where funnel web spiders thrive,” he said.
“It’s important that Australians are across the correct first aid and know how to safely catch the spiders so that we can continue to milk them and save lives.
“We rely on public donations of funnel web spiders to build up our milking individuals.
“When found inside homes, Sydney funnel webs prefer cool, damp places like the laundry, garage or in shoes left out on the ground.
“It is best to ensure you are not leaving washing and clothing on the floors, if you leave your shoes outside – make sure you give them a tap on the ground before putting your foot in blindly as shoes can be the perfect little burrow for funnel-webs.
“Pool filters should also be checked and cleaned regularly.”
The Sydney funnel-web prefers to make its home in sheltered, shady spots, which are always cool and humid.
The shaded areas of well-vegetated private gardens are readily colonised.
If bitten by a funnel-web spider, stay as calm as possible and apply the correct first aid, which is a pressure immobilisation bandage, and get to hospital as fast as you possibly can.
Email, Oct 23
Australian Reptile Park