YIKES: The two mouse spiders Nicky Edwards found in her pool.
YIKES: The two mouse spiders Nicky Edwards found in her pool. Contributed/Nicky Edwards

Eight-legged visitors take a dip in Gympie pool

GYMPIE local Nicky Edwards received a big shock earlier this week, fishing what she thought were two funnel-web spiders out of her pool.

But upon closer inspection, it revealed the two arachnids weren't funnel-webs at all.

"Those are mouse spiders, no question about it,” Dr Robert Raven, arachnologist and head of terrestrial biodiversity at the Queensland Museum, said.

"There's often a misconception and confusion between the two.

"It's important to note that funnel-web spiders can absolutely be found as north as Gympie, but they usually keep to rainforest areas.”

Despite the misconception, mouse spiders can pose just as much of a risk as their more well-known counterparts.

"Their venom can be just as powerful as a funnel-web spiders,” Dr Raven said.

"But the thing is, because of their cantankerous and aggressive nature, they tend to bite without releasing the venom.”

He went on to offer the example of a young boy, who was impaled through the finger by a mouse spider - necessitating the spider be crushed and removed.

"Keep your fingers and toes away from them, you definitely want to get that point across,” Dr Raven said.

The appearance of the two mouse spiders is unusual for this time of year, but recent trends in weather may give an explanation for their early arrival.

"We believe the recent rainfall or low-pressure systems may be the reason for their activity so early on,” Dr Raven added.

Mouse spiders and funnel-webs are just two of what Dr Raven said was a 'wide variety' of species in the Gympie region.

And despite their fearsome appearance and reputation, he recommended 'removing the danger' instead of giving them the boot.

Mouse spider and funnel-web bites can be incredibly dangerous though. If bitten by any spider, the recommended course of action is: apply a pressure immobilisation bandage, reduce movement, stay calm and then immediately phone 000.

Gympie Times


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