Funnel webs on the move further north?

SCARY FIND: Mowing and gardening contractor Craig Jones caught a funnel web spider while gardening around his Cogan St home at the weekend. PHOTO: PATRICK WOODS
SCARY FIND: Mowing and gardening contractor Craig Jones caught a funnel web spider while gardening around his Cogan St home at the weekend. PHOTO: PATRICK WOODS

EVERYONE will tell you, they're not supposed to be this far north.

But when Gympie resident Craig Jones saw what he believed to be a baby funnel web spider walking along the edge of his swimming pool at the weekend, he quickly caught it and set about researching it to confirm what he had was the real thing.

Mr Jones, a mowing and gardening contractor, was doing a spot of gardening when he found the arachnid.

He didn't want to kill it, so after trapping it, he started ringing around to find out what he could do with it and where the nearest venom collecting centre was.

He found the Gympie Hospital does not carry any antidote because "they're uncommon this far north in Queensland".

"They are supposedly only found as far north as Maleny," Mr Jones said.

Further investigation revealed the closest place where anti venom is held is Gosford, in NSW, where the colder climate is more suited to the dark-backed critter.

He also rang Australia Zoo, where he was told they did not handle arachnids.

So it was bye bye little spidey.

However, Mr Jones bought it to the attention of the Gympie Times because he is concerned there may be more funnel webs migrating north and they could be more common in the area than previously believed.

"I really want to warn people to be more cautious when they're outdoors.

"I reckon we have to start acting more like people in NSW do - you know, check under outdoor furniture before you sit down - and that sort of thing.

"If I've found one, I'm sure there will be more in the area - more than 100 spiderlings can hatch from the eggs of one adult female."


Fast facts

Funnel web spiders are often found in swimming pools and can survive underwater for several hours.

Body colour can vary from black to brown but the hard carapace covering the front part of the body is always sparsely haired and glossy.

Funnel-webs burrow in moist, cool, sheltered habitats - under rocks, in and under rotting logs, crevices, rot and borer holes in rough-barked trees. In gardens, they prefer rockeries and dense shrubberies.

Funnel-webs can' t jump, but they can move quickly.

There are at least 40 species of funnel-web spiders (some of which are found in Queensland).

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