The largest funnel-web spider ever seen by staff at the Australian Reptile Park has been handed in by an anonymous donor so that it can be milked to extract venom needed to create an antidote for bites.
The spider, at 8 centimetres is almost twice the size of the average length of between 1 centimetre and 5 centimetres, and staff are hoping that they can find the anonymous donor who left it in a plastic container at one of their drop-off points so that they can possibly find others.
The spider had been left in a tupperware container without any labels after being collected somewhere between Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle in Australia.
The size of the spider meant that it has fangs big enough to bite even through a human fingernail, and it will be able to produce much more than the average amount of venom needed in order to produce life-saving antivenom.
Nicknamed Megaspider by staff at the reptile Park, the high humidity and rainy weather of late were perfect conditions for spiders like this to thrive.
The spider was probably donated by one of the people who was answering an appeal they had made for people to catch the spiders alive so that they can reduce the antivenom which saves hundreds of lives every year.
The park is the only one in Australia that actually milks the spiders for their role venom to make the serum.
Michael Tate, Education Officer of the Australian Reptile Park said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “Having Megaspider handed into the venom program is so amazing, in my 30+ 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. We are really keen to find out where she came from in hopes to find more massive spiders like her.”
Speaking about the drop-off points he said: “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.”