In a video not for the fainthearted, the Australian Reptile Park has released extraordinarily rare footage capturing the opening of an egg sac, containing more than 100 Sydney funnel-web spiderlings bursting from within.
With funnel-web spider season in full swing, the Park has seen an increase in spider donations from the public.
The egg sac featured in the video was handed in by a member of the public to support the Park’s funnel-web spider antivenom program.
Sacs often hatch between 50 and 150 spiderlings, making a wonderful source of healthy, robust spiders to contribute to the program.
Now hatched, these spiderlings will be raised at the Park until they reach maturity.
Once mature, their venom will be utilised to produce lifesaving antivenom.
With this successful hatching of a donated egg sac, the Park is renewing an urgent call for more egg sacs to be handed in while breeding season is at its peak.
Park Director Liz Gabriel said 150 male spiders were needed to produce one vial of antivenom.
They have a short lifespan of about 12 months after they reach maturity, leaving a small timeframe to be able to extract the venom.
For more than four decades, the Australian Reptile Park has been at the forefront of the antivenom program, being the sole supplier of funnel-web spider venom to make the antivenom in Australia.
The Park is encouraging responsible adults to safely collect any funnel-web spiders and egg sacs they may come across and take them to the Australian Reptile Park or their nearest participating spider drop off locations.
They also warn that breeding season is at its peak with a higher possibility of the spiders ending up in houses or residential gardens.
Backyards containing dense leaf matter, scrap material or simply backing onto bushland, make for the perfect environment for funnel-webs to burrow and safely breed.
“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 extract their venom and save lives,” Gabriel said.
“During the collection of funnel-web spiders or their egg sacs, it’s important to wear enclosed shoes and use a long-handled spoon to maintain a safe distance between yourself and the spider at all times.
“The spider or egg sac can then be carefully guided into a large jar with a lid and brought into the Australian Reptile Park or your nearest drop-off location.”
If bitten, it is important to stay as calm as possible and apply the correct first aid with a pressure immobilisation bandage and get to hospital as fast as you possibly can.
To find your nearest spider drop-off location, go to: https://www.reptilepark.com.au/animals-at-the-australian-reptile-park/venom-program/spider-drop-off-points/