Authorities have issued a new warning about the world’s most venomous spiders, with torrential rain and warmer weather the perfect combination for Sydney’s web spiders.
Billy Collett, director of operations for Australian Reptile Park, told NCA NewsWire that it is now “the height of oppressive web season”.
“The males start wandering around to find a female,” said Mr. Collett, “and if they haven’t found anyone by sunrise, they’ll find somewhere dark and cold.”
Popular hiding places, he said, include laundries and gardens, and especially shoes—which he advised putting together before slipping your feet into them.
Mr Collett urged those who feel comfortable to put the spiders in some form of jar and take them to spider drop-off points at the Australian Reptile Park, which the park needs for a life-saving antivenom programme.
He said that spiders can be contained in a jar with some dust and holes in the lid and kept in a cool place. There are drop off points in Gosford, Sydney and the Central Coast.
Mr Collett said that web spider season generally coincides with snake season, and he said first aid methods are the same for bites from both.
He said to apply a pressure bandage and wind firmly upwards if a limb is injured, splint the limb if possible, and limit movement as much as possible.
Mr Collett said recent heavy rains on the east coast would exacerbate the movement of spiders on Sydney’s funnel web, as more burrows are likely to be disrupted.
Sydney funnel web spiders are some of the most venomous spiders in the world, and are generally found across Sydney and the Central Coast.
About 20 people are bitten by web spiders, Collett said, but no one has been killed as a result of web bites since an antivenom became available in 1981.
Historically, Sydney funnel web bites have killed 13 people.
Originally published as Australian Reptile Park issues new Sydney web spider warning