Fangs a lot! Australian zoo needs spiders to be caught so they can be milked

An Australian zoo has asked “responsible adults” to collect funnel-web spiders so it can milk them in its antivenom programme. The Australian Reptile Park relies on the public handing the spiders in to keep the programme running. The funnel-web spider is found in areas including rotting wood, logs, rockeries and even bundles of clothes, bedclothes and towels. It is highly venemous and potentially fatal if bites are untreated.

We’re encouraging residents of NSW to not kill funnel-web spiders that they come across but rather follow our safety guidelines online to capture the spider, and hand them in at the park or a participating drop off centre.

Park ranger Mick Tate

The park has released a video showing people where they might find the spiders and instructing on how to catch them safely.The funnel-web spider species are found throughout Australia, and while the Sydney funnel-web is the best known of these, several species are also found in Queensland.The reptile park, north of Sydney, is the only supplier of venom to the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories, which provides medical professionals with the antivenom to cure snake and funnel-web spider bites.To keep up the supply of venoms the staff regularly ‘milk’ more than 300 snakes and 500 spiders that are included in the programme.