The Sydney Funnel Web Spider Fact and Fiction


Authored by Rodney Southern in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 03-03-2009

Sydney funnel web spiders are the most notorious spiders in the world. Their exploits and fearsome reputation is actually fairly well deserved. The Sydney funnel web spider is actually capable of killing a human being, and has done so in the past. An antivenin has been created, however, that has stopped the death from Sydney funnel web spiders in their tracks. Since this antivenin was introduced, their are no documented deaths from the Sydney funnel web spider’s toxic bite. Still, many exaggerations exist about this dangerous spider. What is fact and what is fiction?

Do Sydney Funnel Web Spiders Take Up Residence in Homes?

This is actually fact and fiction. Sydney funnel web spiders never move in on purpose. They do sometimes find themselves trapped inside a home, and this can be a dangerous situation. These are usually the males, as the females stay close to the burrows. That is a problem, as the wandering male Sydney funnel web spider is the dangerous one both in venom and aggressive nature. The female is often never encountered.

Do Sydney Funnel Web Spiders Chase Humans Or Jump On Them?

This is purely fiction. This rumor probably stems from the aggressive stance that the spider takes when it perceives a threat. It will rear up on its back legs, and raise its front legs in a show of size. This also bares the fearsome fangs that this spider uses quite effectively. Make no mistake that it will attack if you get too close. But it will not chase you down to bite you.

Do Sydney Funnel Web Spiders Attack Only At Night?

This is absolute fiction. The male Sydney funnel web spider goes out hunting and searching for females during the evening hours, as the conditions are right and they are not exposed to their natural enemies as easily. During the day, the spider takes cover from these problems. Often, this will be in a shoe left outside, or any number of other hiding places where humans and spider come into contact with each other. While the Sydney funnel web is certainly more active at night, they will bite anytime they are threatened.

Does the Sydney Funnel Web Spider Bite Mean Certain Death?

Again, this is fiction. Their was a time when the Sydney funnel web bite was much more dangerous however. Deaths from this spider bite did happen, and the ratio of bite to death was much higher than it is today. The bite is now considered an extreme emergency that must be administered antivenin. Also, the female and younger funnel web spiders have a much less toxic venom than adult males. It really depends on the circumstances of the bite, and how much venom was delivered.

The Sydney funnel web spider is certainly a dangerous spider that should be avoided and respected. It is also a very agile spider, that can bite from many angles. If you come across one of these dangerous spiders, do not risk a bite trying to remove it yourself. Call your animal control center to have the spider safely removed.


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