The spider that Leanne Whittaker thinks is a Sydney funnel web, which was found in her backyard pool.
The spider that Leanne Whittaker thinks is a Sydney funnel web, which was found in her backyard pool. Coffs Coast Advocate

Hairy creature from the deep end

LEANNE Whittaker and her family love swimming in their backyard pool, because unlike the ocean it holds no dangerous creatures that may be lurking below the surface . . .or so they thought.

Leanne's partner, Gordon Mahnert, head out yesterday morning to do his regular check of the pool, only to make a chilling discovery - what they think is a Sydney funnel-web spider doing backstroke along the pool stairs.

“Dad got my sister to wake me up and I came out and he was holding a piece of paper wrapped around a jar and asked, 'What's the world's most deadly spider?'” Leanne's daughter, Maddison, 14, said.

“I said 'it's the Sydney funnel-web, isn't it?' and he moved the paper and I saw the spider and I was like 'Oh my God!'”

After safely putting it in a glass jar full of water, Leanne said they had identified it using the Readers Digest Australia's Dangerous Creatures book.

“We do a lot of camping, so we like the kids to be aware of these things,” she said.

“This is the scariest thing we've had in the pool - I like to swim in the pool because I know what's under my feet, there's none of the creatures like in the ocean.

“Now I'm definitely going to be a bit more careful, and we'll be having a spring clean in summer and spraying the yard.

“I've never seen a funnel-web around here. The last time I saw one was 10 years ago when we lived at Karangi.”

She said she'll be keeping the spider firmly in the jar to show her three other children, who are presently in Sydney holidaying.

“Then I'm not really sure what I'll do with it,” she said.

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