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Australian Reptile Park receives giant funnel web spider

Australian Reptile Park receives giant funnel web spider
February 5, 2020

Following the Australian Reptile Park’s recent call out asking for people to bring in funnel-web spiders, they were surprised to receive one from Newcastle that exceeded five centimetres  and that led keepers to name Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Recent rainy weather followed by intense heat has provided the perfect conditions for funnel web spiders to thrive.

In January, the Australian Reptile Park sent out an urgent warning asking members of the public to brush up on the correct first aid should a bite occur and encouraged members of the public to safely catch the spiders for their antivenom program. Spiders that have been handed in participate in the much-needed milking program. The venom milked is then turned into antivenom saving up to 300 lives per year.

The spider was handed in from the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, one of the drop off points for the Australian Reptile Park’s program. Keepers are eager to find out the suburb in which it came from with hopes of finding more of the large spiders as they produce larger amounts of venom for the antivenom program.

Liz Gabriel, Director of the Australian Reptile Park advised “having Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as part of the venom program is so amazing because he will save a lot of lives with the venom he will produce. He is unusually large and more spiders like him will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce.”

Gabriel speaking about the drop off points added “people can bring any collected spiders to the Reptile Park itself. However, if they can’t get to us, we have drop off zones around Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle and all facilities are provided with a spider safety kit to house the spiders until the Australian Reptile Park staff can come and pick them up each week.”

The Australian Reptile Park relies on public donations of funnel web spiders to keep venom supplies ongoing. The funnel web spiders are milked weekly for their raw venom that is sent off to Seqiris in Melbourne to be made into lifesaving antivenom.

The Australian Reptile Park website features a safety and capture video online taking viewers through a step by step process in collection and delivery of a funnel web spider. 

See Spider First Aid and Drop off Zones online at

Related Articles

17th January 2020 - The Australian Reptile Park relocates animals following severe flooding

21st December 2019 - Australian Reptile Park opens new exhibit

4th December 2019 - Jurassic Zoo returns for summer at Australian Reptile Park

4th October 2019 - Australian Reptile Park celebrates International Zookeeper Day

25th September 2019 - The Australian Reptile Park introduces eight Tasmanian Devil Joeys

6th August 2019 - Australian Reptile Park secures NSW Major Tourist Attraction award

17th April 2019 - Spider venom record broken at the Australian Reptile Park

9th April 2019 - Australian Reptile Park saves more than 20,000 lives with antivenom program

19th September 2017 - Australian Reptile Park recognised as world’s deadliest zoo

4th June 2013 - Recognition for Australian Reptile Park’s Venom Section

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