Funnel Web Spiders: would you know what to do?

Australian spider chart

Please Be Careful And Know What To Do!

When I arrived home from work it was dark and chilly and it had been raining on and off for the past couple of days.  What a relief to walk inside to the warmth of my home! The fire was blazing but it would need another load of wood if it were to burn overnight. I’m a bit of a cold frog so I always like to know there is a plentiful supply of dry wood kept undercover in our outdoor room.

I live in an area of Sydney that is known for funnel web spiders. I also live in a bushy and somewhat rural area that is the perfect habitat for spiders and other venomous creatures. Needless to say, I am vigilant and rather cautious in ensuring, most of the time, that I am on the lookout for creatures lurking about.

Funnel web spiders are land dwelling, large, aggressive, black spiders. They live in burrows underneath rocks, wood or debri. They are sensitive to light so usually wander at night navigating their way close to or into human dwellings. It’s not unusual for them to be found in shoes, washing baskets or amongst clothing.

Life threatening effects of a funnel web spider bite can occur within minutes and include pain at the bite site, numbness around the mouth, sweating, increased salivation, pain in the abdomen, twitching, increased heart rate, confusion and breathing difficulties.

So... My very helpful, bare-footed daughter opened the door from our lounge room to our outdoor room to collect the wood for the fire and then just before she placed her foot to the ground she looked down. There it was – the large, black spider just centimetres from her foot that could not be mistaken for none other than the deadly funnel web.

The Australian Reptile Park runs a venom milking program that produces life saving anti-venom and quite honestly, it did cross my mind to attempt to catch the spider. However, in the moment, I assessed the situation and deemed it to be too dangerous for the novice and it petrified me to attempt to capture this creature!

What has transpired from this incident though is the need to notify and inform you about this and ask you if you would know the emergency first aid required to help your child or family member if they were bitten.

  • Did you know that you must call 000 immediately?
  • Do you know how to apply a Pressure Immobilisation Technique?
  • Do you know how to perform CPR if your child or family member is unresponsive and not breathing normally?

At CPR Kids we are here to empower you with those skills and so much more. Please don’t be complacent about this. Today I have purchased two more pressure immobilisation bandages for my home first aid kit because I know that being aware of the correct first aid would make a difference to my daughter’s survival outcome should she have stepped on that spider.

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Written by Nicole Ovens
Operations Manager at CPR Kids