The Australian Reptile Park welcomes the largest male Sydney funnel-web spider, ‘Hercules,’ surpassing the previous record-holder. This spider will aid the park’s antivenom program.
The Australian Reptile Park recently acquired the largest known male specimen of the Sydney funnel-web spider, a highly venomous arachnid. Named ‘Hercules,’ the spider will play a vital role in the park’s antivenom program.
The deadly Sydney funnel-web spider named ‘Hercules’ was discovered on the Central Coast of New South Wales by spider experts from the Australian Reptile Park. Measuring 7.9 centimeters from foot to foot, it surpassed the park’s previous record-holder, a male funnel-web named Colossus.
Sydney funnel-web spiders typically measure between one to five centimeters in length, with females being larger but less venomous than males. These arachnids are commonly found in forested areas and suburban gardens in and around Sydney, extending to the coastal city of Newcastle and the Blue Mountains. The park’s acquisition of ‘Hercules’ is considered a significant achievement.
Contribution to Antivenom Program
The Australian Reptile Park’s spider keeper, Emma Teni, emphasized the value of ‘Hercules’ in the park’s venom program, highlighting the potential for a significant venom output due to his size. The male specimen will undergo milking to extract venom essential for producing life-saving antivenom, contributing to the park’s efforts to prevent fatalities from funnel-web spider bites in Australia.
Despite the high venomous nature of Sydney funnel-web spiders, the Australian Reptile Park’s antivenom program, established in 1981, has effectively prevented fatalities from funnel-web spider bites in Australia. The recent favorable weather conditions in Australia’s east coast have created ideal environments for these spiders to thrive, underscoring the importance of the park’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the risks associated with these venomous arachnids.