‘Megaspider’ is biggest of its kind we’ve ever seen, says Australian reptile park

Abnormally large female funnel web spider is 8cm across and highly venomous

Jon Sharman
Wednesday 17 November 2021 07:39
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Australian 'megaspider' revealed

An Australian zoo has unveiled a “megaspider” thought to be one of the biggest of its kind ever seen.

The female funnel web spider measures 8cm across, which the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales, said was comparable to a tarantula – and significantly bigger than the usual 5cm or less.

It was donated to the park’s antivenom programme, and keepers were thrilled to receive it because bigger spiders provide more venom that can be processed for use in treatments.

They have now appealed for the mystery donor to come forward so they can try to find more spiders like this 8cm monster, nicknamed Megaspider, in the same location.

Recent rainy and “intensely humid” weather has provided ideal conditions for funnel web spiders to thrive, the park said in a statement.

‘Megaspider’ is significantly larger than most funnel webs

Michael Tate, its education officer, added: “In my 30-plus years at the park, I have never seen a funnel web spider this big.

“She is unusually large and if we can get the public to hand in more spiders like her, it will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce.

“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.”

Funnel web bites can be extremely dangerous. The arachnids’ huge fangs are believed to be capable of puncturing fingernails and shoes.

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