Experts in Australia are warning citizens, tourists, really anyone on the continent, to be on high alert due to a possible "bonanza" of deadly funnel-web spiders. This is due to the fact that the country is currently exhibiting the "perfect conditions" for the highly venomous arachnids to thrive. And they are horny.
Since the fire season started in late July, Australia has had massive chunks of their country destroyed by the worst wildfires in decades. Late last week severe thunderstorms offered relief to some areas, though flash flooding then became a new issue. Southeastern Australia was also hit with hail storms complete with pellets the size of golf balls less than a day after storms of the dust variety swept through.
Jake Meney, an employee of the Australian Reptile Park, said that hot temperatures and a host of rain activity has increased humidity to the point that conditions are right for spiders to come out of their hiding spots. Meney further states that his park has seen an increase in funnel-web spider activity. A similar sentiment was expressed by park spokesman Daniel Rumsey, who said in a Facebook video that "funnel-web spiders will start to move around" due to the recent weather.
"Funnel-web spiders are potentially one of the most dangerous spiders on the planet, in terms of a bite towards humans, and we have to treat it very seriously," Rumsey said.
More so than their female counterparts, male spiders are particularly dangerous since they come out to try and find a mate. Also their venom has six times the potency. That's a bad combo.
"Females don't move around too much," said Meney, according to CBS News. "They mostly wait for the males to come and find them, but that's bad news because it's the males that are super dangerous.
"A male funnel-web bite is extremely dangerous and extremely serious and has caused deaths in the past."
No confirmed deaths have been attributed to the spiders since the '80s, but who really wants to break that streak?
Meney said that anyone bitten by one of the spiders should head to the hospital immediately. He also laid out steps that could save your life if you memorize them and recall them in a crisis. That's probably not going to happen, but those steps are, "[applying] immediate first aid, which would usually be applying pressure or a compression bandage to stop limit circulation to the entire limb."
Funnel-web spiders are unable to climb smooth services, and they don't jump. So they're more likely to be on the ground. That said, they can get into homes from the ground or roof.
They also hide.
"Piles of clothing, and shoes (are) a tempting retreat for them especially when they've wandered too far away from their burrow and they can't find their way back before daylight," said Meney.
Meney also said you could just sack up and catch the spiders if you're daring enough. "If you see one on the ground just slowly put a jar over it or just put the jar in front of it and it will usually just crawl straight in."
In the event that you're reading this in Australia, take a look at the picture above and make an informed decision.