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Warm Winter Leads to Funnel-web Surge

An uncharacteristically warm winter has led to a surge in funnel webs around Australia.

The potentially lethal spider normally hibernates in the ground in winter, but has now been awakened by the warm weather.

The Australian Reptile Park has been receiving the insects from members of the public and have been getting about two per week. Winter is normally very quiet for the park.

The park milks the spider’s venom and uses it to develop an antivenene for use around the country.  It is the only facility in the country that carries out this work

Experts are urging people to be extremely careful when trying to catch the spiders. They are advised to not use plastic containers as funnel webs can bite through them. They should also watch the park’s safety video that explains how to trap and store them safely.

The CSIRO said that bites from the spider have proven fatal in the past.

Source: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/mild-winter-gives-a-warm-welcome-to-funnelwebs-20130810-2ror3.html