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Warning that funnel webs are on the move

Ava Killick, 7, in her bedroom in Boambee East where the funnel web spider was found.
Ava Killick, 7, in her bedroom in Boambee East where the funnel web spider was found. Gemima Harvey
The funnel web spider found in Ava Killick's bedroom.
The funnel web spider found in Ava Killick's bedroom.

AVA Killick is shocked that one of Australia's most deadly spiders was found on her bedroom floor.

The discovery of the funnel web in her family's Boambee East home has pest controllers warning the highly venomous spiders are on the move on the Coffs Coast.

NSW Ambulance said paramedics had attended 55 recent cases of spider bite, including a woman, 28, who was bitten by a funnel web at Karangi in September and a man, 23, bitten by a spider at Boambee in August.

Banana Coast Pest Control's Cherie Hardaker said in warmer conditions male funnel webs actively seek females to breed and turn up around homes, garages, sheds and pools.

"At this time of the year they are very common. After this incident we had a lady call us about a funnel web she found in her above- ground pool," Cherie said.

"People need to be extremely careful if they think they are dealing with a funnel web."

It was by chance that Ava's mother Toni found the spider on the floor.

"I walked in and it was right next to my foot. I thought my son Sam had thrown a fake spider into his sister's room," Toni said.

"After my husband Brendon collected it in a jar, it was really aggressive.

"We took photos and put them on social media asking people what it was. 230 comments later I found out it was a funnel web.

"Lucky I didn't just hit it with fly spray."

The funnel web was collected by a university researcher who hopes to find out more about the North Coast spider species.

While the Sydney Funnel Web is a household name, its coastal cousin the Port Macquarie funnel web is less infamous.

 

FAST FACTS

Commonly known as the Port Macquarie funnel-wed spider, Hadronyche macquariensis was first described scientifically by Mike Gray in 2010.

Like many funnel web spider species, both sexes of the Port Macquarie funnel web have a shiny black carapace, dark brown to black legs and abdomen.

They dwell in burrows in gardens, which can be identified by trip line webs that are spread out across ground from the hole and are designed to snare prey.

Port Macquarie funnel web specimens have been collected in Forster, Taree, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour and Bellingen.

The Port Macquarie funnel web has been responsible for a number of serious envenomations.

In 2012 a toddler, 3, was bitten on the foot by a funnel web near Ulong after the spider crawled inside her boot.

She was injected with six vials of anti-venom and airlifted from Coffs Harbour to Newcastle where she spent a week on life support.

A boy, 6, who was bitten on the foot in sand dunes near Forster also required hospitalisation and intubation.

Australia-wide there have been 27 fatalities attributed to funnel web spider bites, however there have been no recorded deaths in the past 100 years since the use of anti-venom. 

Topics:  coffs coast funnel web spider



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