A public warning for a funnel web spider “bonanza” has been issued as hot and wet conditions coax the amorous arachnids from bushland and gardens.
Rainfall across the weekend and summery temperatures have created the idyllic tropical conditions that funnel web spiders “thrive within”, said Australian Reptile Park keeper Jake Meney.
The summer months mark mating season for the spiders.
If it is safe to do so, Mr Meney said adults could collect the spiders to help bolster the Central Coast park’s life-saving anti-venom program, which has put a stop to bite-related deaths since 1981.
“We rely on public donations of funnel-web spiders to build up our milking individuals,” Mr Meney said.
He said adults could put a cotton bud dipped in water or a dollop of moist soil into a jar before ushering the spider inside.
Adults are advised to keep their hands 20 centimetres from the spider and secure a lid on the jar promptly before dropping it off at the park to be “milked”.
Funnel web spiders are unable to climb the slippery surface of glass and plastic as they live on the ground.
The funnel web spider, Atrax Robustus, is found from Newcastle to Nowra and west as far as Lithgow in NSW.
Funnel web spiders live in sheltered burrows in the suburban and wild scrub of the moist upland forest areas of the Hornsby Plateau to the north and the Woronora Plateau to the south.
Its natural habitat are rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests but the shaded areas of well-vegetated private gardens are also readily colonised.
When found inside the home, Sydney funnel webs prefer moving into cool, damp places, such as the laundry, garage or in shoes left out on the ground.
In the instance of a bite, specialists advise to apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and go straight to hospital for treatment.
The male funnel web spider is more aggressive towards humans and is thought to be responsible for 13 fatal bites.