Giant Australian funnel web spider gets named 'Colossus'

Yikes. The Australian Reptile Park adopted a venomous funnel-web spider so big it had to be named fittingly.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Colossus is a disturbingly large venomous Sydney funnel-web spider.

Australian Reptile Park video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Milking venomous spiders is not a job for the faint-hearted, but employees at the Australian Reptile Park zoo in New South Wales are willing to do it for the good of humanity. 

Before you milk a Sydney funnel-web spider, however, you need to obtain a spider, and the park now owns a real whopper.

"Colossus" is the largest male funnel-web spider ever to be handed in to the reptile park. The park posted a dramatic Facebook video of Colossus, who looks a little grumpy, on Tuesday. It warns readers that recent rainfall has caused the potentially deadly spiders to emerge in large numbers. 


⚠️ WARNING ⚠️ After the recent rainfall, funnel web spiders are out in big numbers! And this is the biggest of them all! Meet "Colossus" - he is the BIGGEST male funnel web spider we've ever had handed in here at The Australian Reptile Park! Please remember to keep safely catching funnel webs and bringing them to The Australian Reptile park so we can continue our lifesaving antivenom program!

Posted by The Australian Reptile Park on Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Australian Reptile Park encourages brave members of the public to collect the spiders and bring them in. The park milks them for their venom to create anti-venom to treat the dangerous bites. 

The park hopes Colossus and the public's fascination with oversized arachnids will help encourage people to participate in the lifesaving spider-collection program.

The reptile park had previously received a massive funnel web spider in 2016 named "Big Boy," but Colossus has managed to edge out Big Boy's impressive 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) leg spread. 

There have been 13 recorded deaths from funnel-web spider bites. The park says the spiders prefer cool, humid and shady spots in forests, but they're also known to take up residence in private gardens. Their painful venom and aggressive nature make them a threat to people. 

At least Colossus will be serving the greater good as part of the venom program during his residency at the park. He will likely also help serve up some bone-chilling nightmares. Good luck sleeping after watching that video.

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