Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.
Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.

Mammoth funnel-web shocks zoo

Any funnel-web is pretty terrifying but imagine coming across this one.

The giant spider was dropped off to the Australian Reptile Park after it put a call out for people to keep an eye out for them.

Recent rainy weather followed by intense heat has provided the perfect conditions for funnel-web spiders to thrive.

The mammoth spider from Newcastle has now been named Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson after the beefed-up movie star.

 

Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.
Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.

Last month the Australian Reptile Park sent out an urgent warning asking members of the public to brush up on the correct first aid should a bite occur and encouraged members of the public to safely catch the spiders for their antivenom program.

Spiders that have been handed in participate in the much-needed milking program.

The venom milked is then turned into antivenom saving up to 300 lives per year.

The Australian Reptile Park is the only facility in Australia that milks funnel-web spiders.

The spider was handed in from the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, one of the drop off points for the program.

 

Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.
Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.

Keepers are eager to find out the suburb in which it came from with hopes of finding more of the large spiders as they produce larger amounts of venom.

Liz Gabriel, director of the Australian Reptile Park, said having Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as part of the venom program was amazing because he would save a lot of lives with the venom he would produce.

"He is unusually large and more spiders like him will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce," she said.

"People can bring any collected spiders to the Reptile Park itself. However, if they can't get to us, we have drop off zones around Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle and all facilities are provided with a spider safety kit to house the spiders until the Australian Reptile Park staff can come and pick them up each week."

 

Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.
Massive funnel-web spider at Australian Reptile Park.

The Australian Reptile Park relies on public donations of funnel-web spiders to keep venom supplies ongoing.

The funnel-web spiders are milked weekly for their raw venom that is sent off to Seqiris in Melbourne to be made into lifesaving antivenom.

The Australian Reptile Park website features a safety and capture video online taking viewers through a step by step process in collection and delivery of a funnel-web spider.


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