Fang you very much!


Aww, this is such a sweet story. An anonymous Australian donor gave up a beautiful pet in order to save lives.

The arachnid has been named Megaspider, and the park says she is roughly twice the size of a typical funnel web spider, more comparable to a tarantula.

The 8cm funnel web spider’s 2cm fangs will be milked for venom that can be turned into antivenom.

The Australian Reptile Park on the New South Wales Central Coast is the only funnel web spider venom milking facility in the country and the antivenom produced there saves up to 300 lives a year, the park says.

Australian Reptile Park’s education officer, Michael Tate, has “never seen a funnel web spider this big”.

“She is unusually large and if we can get the public to hand in more spiders like her, it will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce,” he said.

Call me selfish, but if I found a spider like that I’d be tempted to keep her and coddle her and hug her — OK, maybe no hugging — and keep her forever.

I know all of you want to see this gorgeous beast, so I’ll include a photo below the fold.

Oh, mama!

Comments

  1. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    [brown recluse spider] scariest animal, to Bruce Springsteen
    —ummm don’t know why I wrote this here. Thank you, so long

  2. davidc1 says

    For a long time people used to think it called a Fer .People would run screaming .”Help I have been bitten by a Fer,,,”
    then drop down dead .

  3. JustaTech says

    Over the summer (last summer?) cookbook author, dietician and YouTube cooking channel host Ann Reardon posted a video about having a funnel web run across her bare foot (in the house!), catching it (very carefully) and taking it to the emergency room so that it could be milked for its venom.

    What a kind and selfless thing to do! Including making the video (with plenty of warnings for the spider-averse) about why other Australians should do the same.

  4. bravus says

    One of the stories about this beauty said her fangs would be able to penetrate a fingernail, so perhaps not so much with the hugging, but she’s definitely a stunning creature, and will be giving life-saving milk for some time to come.

  5. Rich Woods says

    Hand them in? I might just be able to manage to bargepole one in. With someone else’s bargepole.

  6. rgmani says

    I thought the male funnel-web spiders were the dangerous ones and assumed that you needed males for antivenom production. From this it appears that females can be used for antivenom production as well. Interesting.

  7. nomadiq says

    @8 my understanding is that the male venom is more toxic to humans but the females contain a lot more venom in terms of volume and different peptide toxins.

  8. piscador says

    There’s a famous (if perhaps apocryphal) story of a news item on the radio that reported that “a woman was bitten on her funnel by a finger web spider.”

  9. piscador says

    Correction: I looked it up AFTER I posted the above. It was a skit from an Australian comedy show, ‘The Naked Vicar Show’.

  10. weatherwax says

    rgmani: In most spiders the female is the larger sex. Black widows are a prime example. The big black spider is the female, and the male is tiny.

  11. weatherwax says

    I had a high school teacher who was bit by a spider while in Australia, years before the anti-venom. They were not able to recover the spider, so they rushed him to the ER, where he was told just sit comfortably, ’cause he either had 10 minutes or the rest of his life.

  12. chrislawson says

    Yeah, even the most arachnophilic among us shouldn’t cuddle a funnelweb. It’s one of the few venomous creatures whose fearsome reputation among humans is fully deserved. And if you live in the US there probably isn’t any antivenom available.

  13. kenbakermn says

    I mean, yeah, spiders are beautiful creatures, no question,but Jesus H. Christ in a pickle bucket! Wouldn’t want to be in the same county as that horror.

  14. wzrd1 says

    We used to get a good laugh at people who were new in country and encountered a camel spider. It’d then “chase” the FNG all over the place, as it sought the rarest of valued universally things in the desert – shade.
    Figure a spider the size of an average man’s hand and quite fleet on their fleet. Thankfully, they’re venomless, I’ve no clue how they killed their prey, but angering one could earn a hard won severe, blood leaking pinch with a lot of work annoying one.
    We also used seeing the wildlife for the first time as an assessment of newcomers, trusting the FNG that did pay attention to the country briefing a fair bit more than the idiot that didn’t.
    FNG = Fucking New Guy/Gal, we all were one when we first arrived…
    To this day, I automatically invert shoes and boots, clap the heels together to dislodge anything that thought those malodorous things looked like a safe nest. In Louisiana, being occasionally greeted with a hobo spider (one bit me, leaving a quarter sized very slowly necrotic lesion on my calf while in bed, epidermal layers remained intact).

  15. wzrd1 says

    @19, nope. Whip scorpions still have venom.
    Oh, speaking of scorpions, there was a massive set of home invasions of homes in Egypt of scorpions, who were taking shelter from heavy flooding. Several deaths by stinks so far, massive rush on antivenom supplies, as that variety is a large stinger variety, with loads of venom available and can be lethal to humans. Personally, I’d let the critters have the house…

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