Callum Christie with the second funnel-web spider found at his family’s Pie Creek property.
Callum Christie with the second funnel-web spider found at his family’s Pie Creek property. Renee Pilcher

Killers on the prowl

MALE funnel-web spiders have a habit of wandering into backyards and falling into swimming pools, and that's exactly where Callum Christie, 12, found the deadly critter this week.

In fact the potentially deadly - and now dead - spider is the second funnel-web found Callum's family in a year.

The first one also drowned in the pool.

This time Callum noticed the spider just as he was about to dive in the pool. It was floating on top of the water, which was a sign it had drowned.

His mum, Sharon Burke, said after a bit of online research they discovered funnel webs could hold their breath for hours and, if found on the bottom of the pool, would most likely mean they were alive.

According to Queensland Museum senior curator Robert Raven, male funnel-webs are active in the state's south-east until March or April.

They wander at night, especially during or after rain, and are known to enter houses.

If you are in a known funnel-web area, wear gloves when gardening, know what a burrow looks like and wear shoes when walking, carefully shaken out before use.

 

FUNNEL-WEB FACTS

Funnel-webs are some of the world's most deadly spiders and are commonly found in coastal and mountain regions in eastern and southern Australia.

Funnel-web spider venom is highly toxic and all species are potentially dangerous.

They live in sheltered burrows in the ground, or in stumps, tree trunks or ferns.

Female funnel-web spiders are long-lived, possibly up to 20 years.

They are rarely seen except during tree felling, excavation or landscaping work.

Bites by males of two large species have resulted in death.

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