Funnel-web spiders are usually spotted on the North Shore (and Lane Cove) from November to April. That’s mating time, and the male funnel-web spider is out and about looking for “love”. They tend to come out at night, but you may find them in the day.
Recently, we have seen ITC Lane Cove Chat members asking questions about funnel-web spiders and where to take them if you capture one alive.
Usually, we don’t see spider posts in May/June, so ITC contacted The Australian Reptile Park and asked them why residents were finding funnel-web spiders after the “season” had finished.
Daniel Rumsey head of Reptile and Spiders told us:
“The weather is still quite warm considering the time of year. Over past seasons it has not been unusual for funnel-web spiders to be handed in over the winter months, just not as many as the summer months. Australian Reptile Park is still collecting funnel-web spiders, I have not seen an increase in the number of spiders, but we are still receiving hand-ins.”
What does a Funnel Web Spider Look Like?
Where do Funnel Web Spiders Live?
There is an urban myth that Lane Cove is the Funnel Web spider capital of Sydney. According to the Australian Museum Website:
While Sydney Funnel-webs were never restricted to the leafy north shore region as some would have it, Sydney real estate does give a rough guide to funnel-web density – the more expensive the area the greater the funnel-web population (the dry, sandy eastern suburbs excepted). – See more at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/funnel-web-spiders-group#sthash.hmgzudZR.dpuf
Stuart McAdam from local landscapers WoodnStone regularly sees burrows of Funnel Web Spiders in Lane Cove. Stuart says funnel-web spiders love anywhere in Sydney with a sandstone base. It’s a good idea to encourage Kookaburras in your backyard – they love swooping down on the spiders.
Funnel-Web Spiders and Pools
Be careful of funnel-web spiders in your pool. One of our Twitter Followers, Dave Clark, posted the picture below of Funnel Web Spiders in their Pool. This was the sixth Funnel Web spider they found in their pool in 2018!!
This week another ITC follower posted this picture – also found in a Lane Cove pool.
What do you do when you see a Spider?
We know your first instinct would be to smash the spider with a shovel or other appropriate garden tool. However, in 2017 the Sydney Morning Herald reported:
The number of funnel webs caught to produce vital anti-venom has been declining over the past few years, prompting specialists to remind everyday Australians to lend a hand.
People are encouraged to catch the spiders and hand them in to drop off points. If you want to know how to catch a spider correctly, we recommend you watch this video.
The Australian Reptile Park has the following advice:
“Only the funnel-webs and red-backs are currently considered dangerous though there are others, such as mouse spiders, which are rarely encountered but potentially dangerous. Any spider larger in size than a dollar coin should be treated with respect, as all spiders have venom glands, though only the large species have fangs able to puncture human skin.
The following safety rules apply to all spiders:
- Do not leave clothes, shoes, towels, etc. on the floor
- Check shoes before putting them on
- Do not walk about at night without footwear
- Do not handle spiders that appear to have drowned in pools, buckets, etc.
- Wear gloves when gardening or working outside
- Keep the bite victim calm and immobile.
- For a funnel-web bite, apply a pressure-immobilization bandage to the bite site and the adjacent limb. For example, a bite on the finger should be treated by bandaging the entire arm. Further, restrict movement by applying a splint.
- For a red-back bite, the only first aid required is the application of an ice pack to the bite site to reduce the pain.
- Seek emergency medical assistance immediately.”
If you are bitten, you should call 000 immediately. You might want also to download the Australian Bites and Stings App. (see our cover photo)
This handy App was developed for consumers in the event of an animal bite and provides information regarding signs and symptoms + first aid for a variety of snakes, spiders, jellyfish and creepy crawlies.
Anti Venom Programme
The Australian Reptile Park is the only zoo in Australia committed to saving lives with a spider and snake Venom-Milking Program in place.
Drop Off Points
Inside Pet Barn
60 Winbourne Rd, Brookvale
Thu 8:30 – 8 pm
Sat 9-3 pm
Sun 9-12 pm
The Kingsway, Caringbah
|Emergency||24hrs 7 days|
Palmerston Rd, Hornsby
|24hrs 7 days|
|Helensburgh||Symbio Wildlife Park
7/11 Lawrence Hargrave Dr, Helensburgh
|Monavale||Mona Vale Veterinary Hospital
22 Park St, Mona Vale
|Terrey Hills||Northside Emergency Veterinary Service
335 Mona Vale Rd, Terrey Hills
|Reception||24hrs 7 days|
|Westmead||Westmead Public Hospital
Cnr Hawkesbury Rd & Darcy Rd, Westmead
|Entomology Department||Mon-Fri 9-5pm|
|Windsor||Hawkesbury City Council
George St, Windsor
|Customer Service Desk||Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm|
Don’t Do This
The spider below was recently found on an apartment balcony and looked very dead. Daniel Rumsey told ITC that this is a funnel-web and from the picture very dead, but you should never directly handle a funnel-web even if you think it’s dead.
No more FOMO – In the Cove In the Know
To make sure you don’t miss Lane Cove info sign up to our newsletter. It comes out every Wednesday Night at 7.30 pm and includes a wrap up of everything posted on our Facebook site in the previous week.