Horror video marks start of funnel-web season

 

IT'S a spectacle that makes even the bravest grimace in fear - a sea of deadly funnel-web spiders emerging from an egg sac.

A central coast zoo on Thursday released footage of the nest of newborn funnel-webs who will soon be part of a lifesaving antivenom program.

Hundreds of deadly Funnel-web spiders emerging from egg sac at the Australian Reptile Park. Picture: Supplied
Hundreds of deadly Funnel-web spiders emerging from egg sac at the Australian Reptile Park. Picture: Supplied

The vision comes just weeks out from the start of funnel-web season, usually signalled by the onset of rainy weather.

Last October experts warned of an early start to funnel-web spider season after a week of early rain as Sydney braces for a deluge over the weekend.

The creepy critters are the first to be born as part of the Australian Reptile Zoo's captivity program which will see the spiders contribute to a lifesaving antivenom and research program.

The Australian Reptile Zoo is breeding thousands of funnel-web spiders for an anti-venom program. Picture: Supplied
The Australian Reptile Zoo is breeding thousands of funnel-web spiders for an anti-venom program. Picture: Supplied

Horrifying footage shows the zoo's chief spider buff slicing the egg casing open and probing it with tweezers before hundreds of tiny funnel webs emerge into a metal bowl.

The spiders join ten other funnel web egg sacs born in captivity that are due to hatch in coming weeks.

The critters will be placed in a room with 3,000 other funnel web spiders who are part of research program into the species and the park's antivenom program.

The spider's venom will be cultivated by a team of experts and sent to hospitals across Australia, said Kane Christensen, Head of Spiders at the zoo.

The zoo is asking members of the public to catch and donate the spiders. Picture: Supplied
The zoo is asking members of the public to catch and donate the spiders. Picture: Supplied

"Our aim is to milk 3,000 funnel web spiders annually to send the raw venom we milk to Seqirus, who create the antivenom for hospitals around Australia. We're so excited to call this a step in a right direction and a true indication on how hard our keepers are working."

Late last year the zoo made a call-out to the public to catch the spiders and deliver them to the zoo for the program.

But more are needed, staff say, and members of the public are being asked to catch funnel webs crawling around their backyard and donate them to the lifesaving program.

The task isn't for the faint hearted with residents asked to use a 'capture kit' with a glass jar and plastic ruler to guide the critter in.


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