The bite of an Australian funnel-web spider can be deadly. But the Australian Reptile Park has asked members of the community to catch the spiders in the wild, deliver them to the park and to be milked.
This is the only way to produce the necessary antidote to fill up the country’s stock after
a heatwave led to a higher than usual rate of spider bites in recent weeks.
Tim Faulkner, park manager says: “Now what we do is gently stroke the spider, or aggravate it a little bit. What happens there, the venom accumulates on the end of the fangs in little drops. We don’t want it to shake, and shake off that venom. But from here, we touch the end of the fangs with the glass pipette and the venom sucks up, and that’s it, right there,”
The Australian Reptile Park has been the country’s sole supplier of funnel-web venom to antidote producers.
Despite the terrifying reputation of Australian wildlife, nobody has died from a funnel-web bite since the anti-venom programme began in 1981.