More funnel-webs needed for antivenom production

By Australian Geographic 9 February 2021
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Calling all responsible adults, the Australian Reptile Park needs your help catching funnel-web spiders.

The Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast of New South Wales is calling on residents to catch funnel-webs for milking and the generation of antivenom. 

Recent rains and warm weather have created ideal conditions for the spiders to emerge from their burrows to mate. 

“Summer is funnel-web season, so now is the time people will be seeing funnel-webs more and more,” reptile and spider keeper Jake Meney says. 

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While the park has seen a spike in donations over the last few weeks, it says the numbers are still low in comparison to what has been handed in during previous years.

The antivenom program has been a mainstay at the park since the 1980s, and it remains the only place in Australia that milks funnel-web venom to turn into antivenom.

Only responsible adults who have familiarised themselves with the park’s protocols should attempt to catch the spiders.

“Please catch the funnel-webs [by] using a big glass jar and keeping your hands away from the spider, coax it into the jar and bring it to us or one of our drop-off points – you will literally be helping us save lives,” he said.

Watch this video for a full demonstration on how to collect the spiders safely.