Five-year-old Dean McKennett and sister Claire, 7, take care around mouse spiders, like the one found in their Woombye garden. (Digitally modified image)
Five-year-old Dean McKennett and sister Claire, 7, take care around mouse spiders, like the one found in their Woombye garden. (Digitally modified image) John Mccutcheon Image Modified

It's a hairy thought - mouse spiders may lurk in your garden

IT LOOKS like a funnel web spider, but it's not - it's worse.

And most likely it is lurking in your garden.

Queensland Museum's spider expert Dr Robert Raven said mouse spiders - missulena - were often confused with funnel webs.

"Mouse spiders are a group of trapdoor spiders common in suburban gardens," he said. "When provoked, missulena is aggressive and is quick to rise to the striking position. It lacks, however, the dangerous bite of the funnel web.

"When funnel webs are subjected to minor disturbance, they quickly rise to the attack position and a drop of venom quickly appears on each fang tip.

"Although missulena also rises to the attack pose quickly it has not been seen with a venom drops on the fang tip. Missulena venom is highly toxic but rarely used."

Shane McKennett came across a 5cm mouse spider on Tuesday night when he went to move machinery in his West Woombye shed.

"All the water was pushed out of her hole and I could see she was trying to find a dry area," he said.

"It stood up like a funnel web would, it reared at me ... I took five steps back when I approached it and it showed its fangs.

"It took me 10 minutes to get the courage to pick it up.

"I haven't been game to approach them in the past, it was more I wanted to get it out of the shed."

Dr Raven said mouse spiders were more common than funnel web spiders, but were rarely seen.

The spiders are small, rarely growing bigger than a 20c piece.

>> ONCE BITTEN ...

First aid for mouse spider bite

  • Check breathing, circulation
  • Call 000
  • Firmly bandage the area of the bite, including the wound
  • Immobilise the limb using a splint


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