Experts warn against new threat for storm-battered cities: ‘One of the most dangerous spiders on the planet’

Katie Mather
In The Know

Since September 2019, Australia has been battered with flash floods, freak hail storms and wildfires, and now, wildlife officials are warning residents against a new natural threat: the funnel-web spider.

The Australian Reptile Park posted on their Facebook page on Tuesday a breakdown of what's to come. Due to recent weather conditions — particularly the hail and rainfall, followed by hot days — the environment is the perfect condition for funnel-web spiders to thrive. 

Dan Rumsey, a reptile keeper at the park, asked viewers to watch out for them as male funnel-web spiders will be out and about trying to find female spiders to mate with. 

"Funnel-web spiders are potentially one of the most dangerous spiders on the planet in terms of a bite towards a human," Rumsey said in the video. "So we have to treat it very, very seriously."

A funnel-web spider's bite can kill a human in 15 minutes. Their fangs are reportedly so sharp, they can easily cut through fingernails. Dr. Robert Raven, a curator of arachnids at Queensland Museum, says that the worst place to be bitten is on the torso. 

Funnel-web spiders cannot climb smooth surfaces, so citizens were warned to check their shoes and any open furniture resting on the ground. 

According to the Australian Museum's website, there have been no deaths caused by a spider bite in Australia since 1979. Rumsey also asks that people who find funnel-web spiders should bring them to the Australian Reptile Park, where a team of researchers is trying to develop an antidote to their bites. 

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