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A zoo in Australia wants people to catch deadly spiders. Here's why

Craig Adams - Friday, February 10, 2017

The below article was taken from TRT WORLD Thursday 9 February 2017. Unlike other spider bites a Funnel web spiderbite it to be treated exactly the same as snakebite with a Pressure Bandage and Immobilisation. Naturally we recommend the SMART Bandage as the best tool for the job."

Australia’s only supplier of anti-venom has run out of stock after a dramatic increase in spider bites. It wants people to catch spiders so they can be milked for their venom to produce the lifesaving antidote.

How did they they run out of venom?

Not enough funnel spiders were donated to The Australian Reptile Park’s anti-venom programme, last year.

A recent heat wave also encouraged more spider activity and bites, the reptile park's general manager Tim Faulkner said.

"We have tried to catch enough spiders ourselves and we just can't."

How dangerous is it to catch a spider?

If someone is bitten by the funnel spider, the large fangs and acidic venom will make the bite painful. A major bite can lead to death within an hour if left untreated.

But the reptile park says there is a safe way to catch deadly spiders and all you need is a wooden spoon and glass jar.

"With an appropriate jar and a wooden spoon, you can flick the spider into the jar so easily," Faulkner said.

Avoid using plastic containers as spiders can bite their way out.

While Australia has a bad reputation for its long list of deadly animals, the reptile park said there have been no deaths from funnel-web spider bites since the anti-venom programme began in 1981.

How is a venom turned into an antidote?

The venom is secreted through the spider’s fangs, and then collected.

The park delivers the venom to a division of a blood plasma and vaccine maker, which converts it into the life-saving antidote. The antidote is administered to those bitten by poisonous spiders.

About the Author - Craig Adams

Craig is a venomous snake expert and former Operations Manager for the Australian Reptile Park. With his wife Jackie, Craig has travelled to remote areas of Australia in search of venomous snakes and spiders for inclusion in the Reptile Park's venom collection program for scientific purposes and for the collection of new data on endangered species. Craig has featured in numerous National Geographic and Discovery Channel programs on the world's most venomous creatures. He worked alongside Steve Irwin as a consultant on his film "Oceans' Deadliest" and continues to work periodically with Steve's best friend John Stainton in an advisory and "to camera" role. Together with Jackie, he has also starred in numerous other television, print media and documentary films and is acknowledged by his peers as the "go to" person in this field.

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