Once again a terrifying insect from Australia is making international headlines. This time it’s a ‘megaspider’ that can bite through human fingernails.
In early November, The Australian Reptile Park was conducting its weekly specimen collection from various cities in New South Whales when they acquired an unlabelled Tupperware container.
Shockingly, it contained a venomous female funnel web spider that has since been dubbed ‘MEGASPIDER’ and has stirred much excitement amongst the staff.
A brave person holding the megaspider that was anonymously submitted to The Australian Reptile Park. (The Australian Reptile Park)
The spider’s fangs are nearly 2 cm in length and the spider is 8 cm long, which is comparable to the size of a tarantula.
“Having MEGASPIDER handed into the venom program is so amazing, in my 30+ years at the Park, I have 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. We are really keen to find out where she came from in hopes to find more MASSIVE spiders like her,” said Michael Tate, Education Officer of the Australian Reptile Park, in a press release.
Jake Meney, a Spider Keeper at The Australian Reptile Park, with the megaspider. (The Australian Reptile Park)
The Australian Reptile Park collects donations from the public to maintain their venom supplies that are used to create antivenom, which can be lifesaving to victims that have been bitten.
“Spiders that have been handed in participate in the vital lifesaving milking program. The venom milked by staff is turned into antivenom which saves up to 300 lives per year. The Australian Reptile Park is the only facility in Australia that milks funnel web spiders for their raw venom to be made into lifesaving antivenom,” the press release states.
The Park estimates that its venom program has saved over 25,000 lives since its inception in the 1950s.
Thumbnail credit: The Australian Reptile Park