Good headline, that.  Right up there with “Hitler’s boyfriends” or “Bush fire danger.”

The good news is that there hasn’t been a funnel web death in nearly thirty years and the total number of recorded deaths is thirteen!

The bad news is that there are no real pictures of them. They are black or dark brown all over so there is very little differentiation in a photograph. Look for shininess.  Funnel web spiders tend to be glossy dark.

The other bit of bad news is that the males go courting in the warm months so that is when you will see one. That is what makes this story topical. Warm weather.

Its nest is the real giveaway. A neat hole in the ground where it is moisty. The neat hole has little silken tripwires around it which, when a cocky or something touches one, the spider is out like an exocet missile to have a word.

What to do if you see one? Kill it. The advantage is that you won’t have to read the next paragraph.

If it bites, kill it now for ident later. Press thumb against the wound. Immobilise the limb with splints. (No, there is no way to immobilise delicate body parts without losing a ‘family’ rating.” Get to hospital, quick smart.  Pressing the bite is like a kind of tournique, stopping the venom moving.


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