Fearsome fangs

I was sorting out stuff in my laundry this morning. It’s open to the outside so I guess it’s no surprise that this fellow should be in a bucket.




Venom drops are just visible on the end of each fang.

funnelweb-spider-in-bucket_andrewIt was quite assertive, rearing up backwards in classic striking position. The venom drops on each fang were clearly visible, though not so much in the photo above. The rearing posture and venom drops distinguish it from the mouse spider, which is another biggie in our area.

You do not want to mess with this spider – it’s a funnelweb, not the Sydney funnelweb but still dangerous with possibly fatal consequences if you get bitten. It’s been quite a dry spring so the spider was probably seeking moisture as well as shelter in the daytime.

Funnelwebs are nocturnal, so I probably gave this one a shock. You can read about them here, and about mouse spiders here. Interestingly, dogs, cats, adult mice and guinea pigs are immune to the venom. The theory is that primates (including us humans) were not around when these spiders initially evolved so the toxicity is an accident.

I poured it out into the bush at the back of the property. The Queensland Museum, whom I queried re ID, says they tend to come back to their familiar places, so I might find it again. The laundry is due for a big clean-out in any case, and I’ll be wearing boots and gloves to do it.

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8 Responses to Fearsome fangs

  1. janebeau says:

    Fearsome fangs she heads so I think Oh lovely, a snake, but nooooo. Sorry, can’t do that sort!

    X j

    • Joy Window says:

      Sorry about that – I did think about giving an warning for arachnaphobes. I usually don’t get too fussed about spiders and snakes, but this one had me being very cautious. Pity I didn’t get a shot of the rearing action – very impressive. And good that it was in the bottom of a bucket.

  2. Roz says:

    These spiders are so menacing, with the dark colouring combined with the rearing action.
    Interesting too that these spiders are territorial. I wonder if it is the same for the Sydney funnel-web, must check with the Australian museum

    • Joy Window says:

      Yes, there was no doubt about its intentions if I got any closer. It’s probably the nearest I’ve come to a potentially fatal experience. I’d never seen any funnel web, even after living for 15 years in Sydney. Had heard about them, of course. I once found a white-tailed spider in my flat, immediately recognised it and carefully put it in a jar to take to the bushland next to my work. That morning I didn’t tell my passenger what was on the back seat! 🙂 White-tails are supposed to be responsible to never-healing bites and for tissues necrotising (acute and recurrent ulceration) – yuck.

      • Roz says:

        The white-tailed spiders have such a bad reputation, undeserved. The spider does bite, and most people are fine. There is a small number of people who do react badly, and it was thought that there was a bacteria which caused the necrosis.
        But now even that is being questioned. It will be interesting to see what the new research shows.

        • Joy Window says:

          Yes, I’ve read that, too, Roz. Have you read Pamela Nagamis’s book, “Bitten”? It’s fascinating, about the effects of bites of lots of different critters on humans. Gruesome but intriguing.

  3. Roz says:

    Now on my reading lIst, thanks Joy.
    And back to funnel web spiders – did you also know there is also a tree funnel web with both northern and southern species?
    Isn’t nature wonderful!

    • Joy Window says:

      Yes, I did – found out about it and took a pic of its web on the Maleny course – check back to that post and you’ll see the photo. Easy to lean against if you’re not looking! Nature is indeed wonderful!

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