Aussies are being warned of ‘spider showers’, with wet weather encouraging an influx of deadly funnel-webs to move into homes.
Spider experts say the mix of hot days followed by rain provides the perfect conditions for funnel-webs to thrive.
“The reason funnel-web spiders are more likely to move around in rain is that it’s cooler and the humidity is higher,” Reptiles and Spider Keeper at The Australian Reptile Park, Jake Meney said.
“This time of year when you get those afternoon storms, you’re more likely to encounter them,” Meney said.
There are 40 types of funnel-web spiders in Australia and the Sydney funnel-web is the country’s most deadly arachnid.
The male funnel-web spiders are six times more deadly than females and often infiltrate homes close to bushlands where the spiders live.
They’re most likely to be spotted in damp places like the laundry, garage or inside shoes, Meney said.
“The males get really adventurous when they’re trying to find a female and will wander large distances. That’s when they come into backyards, swimming pools and occasionally houses,” he said.
Meney said homeowners can deter funnel webs by simply keeping their grass short and yards free of clutter.
If funnel-web spiders are spotted, and it’s safe to do so, they should be caught in a glass jar and brought to the Australian Reptile Park where they’re milked for their venom.
Due to the success of the anti-venom program, there hasn’t been a death caused by a funnel-web spider since the 1980s, when the anti-venom was released to hospitals.
“Funnel-webs cannot climb up glass or plastic so once you put the lid on tightly, the funnel-web can’t get out,” Meney said.
“You can bring the spider to us at the Australian Reptile Park or one of our drop-off points in Sydney, the Central Coast or Newcastle.
“That way we can use the venom to save lives,” he said.