Dangerous spiders could flood Australian towns after much-needed rain

The Australian Reptile Park issues a warning about the most venomous spiders on the planet.

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

Colossus is a disturbingly large venomous Sydney funnel-web spider.

Australian Reptile Park video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

Rain finally came to Australia in the middle of a devastating bushfire season, but the wet and warm weather brings with it a new hazard: potentially deadly funnel-web spiders.

The Australian Reptile Park posted a spider warning to Facebook on Tuesday. "Recent wet weather conditions followed by hot days have created perfect conditions for funnel-web spiders to thrive," the park said.

The spindly, fanged crawlers are a specialty for the Australian Reptile Park, which adopted an absolute unit of a spider in 2018. It earned the name "Colossus."

In slightly better news, there is an antivenom available for people suffering from spider bites. "There are many species of funnel-web spiders in Australia but only male Sydney Funnel-webs have caused human deaths," said the Australian Museum in a spider primer. "There have been only 13 deaths recorded from male Sydney Funnel-webs, but up to 30-40 people are bitten by funnel-web spiders each year."

The park is asking people to bring in captured male funnel-web spiders. The experts there collect the spiders' venom for use in the creation of the life-saving antivenom.

The park's video offers up tips for safely catching the ground-dwelling spiders using a jar and a spoon. You can take the spiders directly to the park in Somersby or deliver them to one of a dozen drop-off sites around Australia. This is an undertaking only for the brave.

The most venomous animals on Earth, ranked

See all photos
Watch this: A new tool in the fight to save coral reefs: Sound