• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

Largest male specimen of world’s most venomous spider found in


Jan 5, 2024

The largest male specimen of the world’s most venomous spider has been found in Australia.

The deadly Sydney funnel-web spider was found on the Central Coast, about 50 miles north of Sydney, and was initially given to a local hospital but has now found a new home at the Australian Reptile Park, where it will help save lives.

Spider experts from the park retrieved the arachnid and soon realised it was the largest male specimen ever discovered by a member of the public in Australia.

The Sydney funnel-web spider dubbed 'Hercules'. Pic: AP Image: The Sydney funnel-web spider dubbed ‘Hercules’. Pic: AP

Dubbed “Hercules”, the spider measured 7.9cm (3.1in) from foot to foot, surpassing the park’s previous record-holder from 2018, a male funnel-web named “Colossus”.

Sydney funnel-web spiders have powerful fangs that can pierce a human fingernail and typically range in length from 1-5cm, with females being generally larger than males, though not as deadly.

They are predominantly found in forested areas and suburban gardens from Sydney to the coastal city of Newcastle in the north and the Blue Mountains to the west.

The arachnid measured 7.9cm (3.1in) from foot to foot. Pic: AP Image: The arachnid measured 7.9cm (3.1in) from foot to foot. Pic: AP

Hercules will contribute to the reptile park’s antivenom programme.

Safely captured spiders handed in by the public undergo “milking” to extract venom, which is essential for producing life-saving antivenom.

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‘His venom output could be enormous’

“We’re used to having pretty big funnel-web spiders donated to the park, however receiving a male funnel-web this big is like hitting the jackpot,” said Emma Teni, a spider keeper at Australian Reptile Park.

“Whilst female funnel-web spiders are venomous, males have proven to be more lethal.

“With having a male funnel-web this size in our collection, his venom output could be enormous, proving incredibly valuable for the park’s venom program.”

Since the programme began in 1981, there have been no fatalities in Australia from a funnel-web spider bite.


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