Australian Reptile Park has received its biggest male funnel-web spider ever handed into the park to participate in the much needed venom program, saving up to 300 lives per year.
The male funnel-web already named “Big Boy” measures up to 7.5cm in spread with venom dripping constantly from his fangs. Found in Newcastle and handed into John Hunter Hospital for collection, Big Boy will be milked for the sole purpose of protecting humans from funnel-web bites.
Australian Reptile Park is always accepting spider drop-offs but only the male spider can be milked and February and March is the time when the males like Big Boy are out and active.
Commenting on the hand-in, Liz Vella, Head Curator at the Australian Reptile Park said, “January and February are the peak times when male funnel-web spiders are out trying to find females to mate and given that only males can be milked we really encourage local communities to hand them into the Australian Reptile Park or to participating hospital drop off centres within this peak season.
“Funnel-web spiders only live for 12 months so we’re constantly needing to re-stock our males. They’re often found in sheltered, shady spots, which are always cool, humid and often damp.
“They are a feisty species of spider and can be expected to stand their ground and defend themselves. For that reason we encourage adults to educate children that should they locate a spider of any kind that parental assistance be provided in the capture.
“We have drop off zones in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle and all facilities are provided with a spider safety kit to house the spiders until Australian Reptile Park staff can come and pick them up each week.”
The Australian Reptile Park website features a safety and capture video on-line taking viewers through a step by step process in collection and delivery of a funnel web spider. See Spider First Aid and Drop off Zones on-line at here
The Australian Reptile Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is regarded as one of the country's premier attractions and is the only zoo in Australia committed to saving lives with a spider and snake Venom-Milking Program in place.
Devil Ark is a not for profit organisation and registered charity, dedicated to ensuring the survival of the endangered Tasmanian devil at risk of extinction due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease (DFTD).
As if running the Reptile Park wasn't enough, Tim also has his own TV show, active social channels and a self-imposed mandate to provide further knowledge of Australian Wildlife right around the world. You can keep up with everything Tim is doing at timfaulkner.com.au.