Tied for number 1 on the world’s most venomous spider list, it’s the deadly funnel-web spider! The funnel-web spider has also earned a reputation of being one of the most aggressive spiders around. So, they not only look fierce… they are fierce! There are around 30 known species of funnel-web spiders; many of which are capable of delivering a very painful and potentially lethal bite. They, like most all spiders, are sexually dimorphic (females are much larger than the males).
First the Stats…
Scientific name: Atrax robustus
Length: 1 inch (male) | 1.4 inches (female) – Plus their 4+ inch legspan
Fang size: Roughly 1/4 of the spider’s body length
Lifespan: Up to 8+ years
Now on to the Facts!
1.) From 1927 to 1981, there have been 13 recorded deaths due to the male funnel-web spider. Fortunately, antivenom was created in 1981.
2.) Envenomation affects include: breathing and circulatory issues, tears, drooling, muscle spasms, diarrhea, and vomiting. All or some of these happen within 10 to 30 minutes after being bitten.
3.) 1 in 6 bites are serious! If you get bitten by the funnel-web spider, you should seek help immediately. The venom is fast-acting and potentially lethal if not treated within a matter of hours.
4.) They can be found in Sydney, extending north to the Central Coast and south to the Illawarra region, and west to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales.
5.) Male funnel-web spiders typically live alone. Females have been found to live in colonies of up to and over 100 spiders!
But wait, there’s more on the funnel-web spider!
6.) They should not ever be handled without taking substantial precautions, due to the fact that their fangs have been known to penetrate soft shoes and even fingernails!
7.) Their prey consists of insects, small reptiles, and amphibians.
Did you know…?
Seven of the deaths caused by the funnel-web spider were children!
8.) Funnel Web Spiders live in burrows in the ground, or in stumps, tree trunks, or ferns. Their burrows are lined with white silk and several strong strands of silk extending from the entrance.
9.) The cocktail of toxins delivered are called atracotoxins (ACTX).
10.) About 10% – 25% of their bites are venomous. They produce “dry” bites (bites without delivering venom) less frequently than other spiders.