Ever questioned why a bull becomes enraged by the colour red? Or if a goldfish really only does have a three second memory? You wouldn’t be alone. But as far as these questions go, both are false. A bull is colour-blind and a goldfish has a proven ability to remember, it can even be trained! Considering this, knowing the Sydney Funnel-web is the most venomous spider in the world, are we really in that much danger?
Funnel-web spiders span every state and territory of Australia, with the exception of the Northern Territory. Females are larger than then males, the males are more venomous and both can live for up to 20 years, taking their refuge in burrows or sheltered areas such as in stumps or low scrub. When it comes to the Sydney Funnel-web, these spiders are found within a 100km radius of the city centre, and may often be found in our own backyards. This is mainly due to the fact that funnel-webs, like us, prefer to be near areas with water.
Despite the bad reputation, no one has died from a spider bite in Australia for the last thirty years and, by taking a few precautions, there should be no need for an old-fashioned standoff. These precautions include using gloves when you’re gardening and wearing closed-in shoes. When asked if spraying your garden with insecticides is a good idea, Keeper Joe advises against it. It makes the garden uninhabitable for the spiders and so they will look for somewhere else to live. In many circumstances this could be your house. Essentially, if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone.
Funnel-webs cannot jump, so in most instances bites result when people accidently come across their path, or actively try to provoke the spider. For the most up-to-date information on spider bite first aid, check out the St John’s Ambulance website.
If you’re still not sure how you feel about spiders consider this, in a world without spiders insect populations would explode as the means of controlling their numbers would be limited. If you’re a fan of swimming in the pool, imagine wading through a sea that thick of bugs! That would be a likely consequence. Personally I’m grateful for the spider; I’ll just follow the easy precautions.
Taronga Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 9978 4606
Taronga Western Plains Zoo, Media Relations
(02) 6881 1400
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