A week of heavy rain has seen an influx of deadly funnel-web spiders emerge earlier than expected.
New South Wales residents in particular are being warned to keep their eye out for the extremely venomous spiders as they leave their burrows in search for food, the Australian Reptile Park said on Facebook.
During the summer months funnel-webs become “wanderers” in suburban gardens looking for a mate and can become trapped in garages or homes.
Despite being listed among the world’s most dangerous spiders, experts are urging people to catch them safely and not kill them.
Where will you find them?
Funnel-web spiders are common on Australia’s east coast, but usually remain in their burrows identified by a thick web over the entrance.
According to the Australian Museum, the spiders can get under concrete slab foundations “where entry points under doors are easily reached”.
They can also be found in backyard pools and despite not being able to swim, can survive for 24 to 30 hours underwater with an air bubble trapped in hairs around their abdomen.
What to do if you’re bitten
If you are bitten, a pressure immobilisation bandage should be wrapped firmly around the bite area and the limb. Medical assistance should be sought immediately.
The funnel-web venom molecules can be absorbed by the body quickly and can affect a patient’s heart, Associate Professor Bill Nimo from the Epworth Richmond Emergency Department told Yahoo7 News
“The area bitten becomes quite swollen like a bee sting and then people can start hyper-salivating – a lot of salvia builds up and the tongue swells,” Dr Nimo said.
“It feels like an allergic reaction.”
The Australian Museum has recorded 13 deaths from a funnel-web in Australia, however there has not been a fatal incident since 1981 when an anti-venom was developed.