News Good News Giant funnel-web spider a head-turner at zoo

Giant funnel-web spider a head-turner at zoo

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An enormous funnel-web spider – dubbed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson – is wooing hearts at the Australian Reptile Park in NSW.

The chunky spider has been named after the super-sized movie star because “he is huge and the biggest funnel-web spider we have seen this season”, the park said.

Dwayne (the funnel web) was handed into the park on NSW’s Central Coast after it appealed for adults to collect the spiders to help bolster its life-saving anti-venom program.

Reptile park keeper Jake Meney said recent rainfall and summery temperatures had created idyllic tropical conditions for funnel webs.

Spiders that are donated to the anti-venon program help to save up to 300 lives a year. Since the program started in 1981, there have been no funnel-related deaths in Australia.

The Australian Reptile Park is the only facility in Australia that milks funnel-web spiders.

Dwayne (the spider) was handed in from the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, which is one of the program’s drop-off points. The zoo’s keepers would like to know more about where he came from – in the hopes of finding more like him.

“He is unusually large and more spiders like him will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce,” park director Liz Gabriel told News Ltd.

Captured spiders can be taken directly to the zoo, or to drop-off zones in Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle. All of those places have safety kits to house the spiders until park staff can retrieve them.

First, catch your spider – safely

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