Funnel-web Spider Introduction
From sharks to box jellyfish in the sea to snakes and spiders on land, Australia has a reputation for being filled with animals ready to kill you. One land-dwelling animal that has the history to back up those claims is the funnel-web spider with venom that can kill a human in just 15 minutes. But other than warnings to wear gloves while gardening and to check your shoes before putting them on, how much do we actually know about these deadly arachnids? There are 35 species of funnel web, a number of which are found along Australia’s eastern coast, from New South Wales to Queensland however, only one holds the title of world’s deadliest spider. The Sydney funnel-web (Atrax robustus) is generally found in both suburbia and bush land in an area bound by Newcastle to the north and Illawarra to the south. They are relatively large spiders, one male affectionately named ‘Big Boy’ by the Australian Reptile Park reached 10cm stretched out and have large, rearward-facing fangs capable of piercing through fingernails. They are aggressive spiders that are black in color, the front of their bodies shiny and hairless and their abdomens black or dark plum in color. Females are generally sedentary, remaining within burrows, their entrances framed by the species’ characteristic ‘funnel’ webbing, often positioned beneath rocks or logs in suburban gardens and bush land.
Keywords to learn
Suburb: An outlying district of a city, especially a residential one.
Funnel: a tube or pipe that is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, used for guiding liquid or powder into a small opening.
Web: a network of fine threads constructed by a spider from fluid secreted by its spinnerets, used to catch its prey.
Hey Kids, my name is Finn the funnel-web spider and I am very happy to meet you. Learn more about me and my species @ www.kids.nationalgeographic.com
Scientific Name:Atrax robustus.
Length:1 to 5 cm (0.4 to 2 in).
Region found:Sydney and New South Wales.
Current population trend:Unknown.
Sexual maturity:4 years.
Listen up guys, these spiders are extremely dangerous and if bitten can cause death in as little as 15 minutes if not treated. The bites do not always cause death, however if bitten always get to a place where you can be treated ASAP. And remember, male bites are more deadly than female bites.
Now that you know more about the Funnel-web spider by learning the key data above, be sure also to check out the fun facts. When you are finished learning the facts, try answering the questions in the Q&A corner on the bottom right side of the page.
Download questions about the funnel web spider here: Funnel-web spider (answers are on this page)
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Funnel-web spider Facts for Kids
- # 1. The Sydney funnel-web spider is one of the most venomous (to humans) spiders in Australia, and second most venomous in the world. Unlike many other spiders where the most toxic venom lies within the female, the male holds venom up to six times more toxic.
- # 2. Within the venom lies neurotoxin atracotoxin that attacks the nervous system and affects the body’s organs; this is most notable in primates (both humans and monkeys) who are bitten, alongside guinea pigs and mice.
- # 3. Despite the toxicity of the venom for humans, it has been found that some animals such as rats, cats and rabbits are usually unaffected when bitten by a female, whilst there are slight effects seen in cats and dogs when bitten by a male funnel-web spider.
- # 4. The funnel-web’s fangs are very sharp and strong and are much bigger than the fangs of a brown snake with the ability to pierce through a fingernail and shoe leather.
- # 5. With the web ranging anywhere from 20 centimeters to 60 centimeters in depth, they tend to hide in humid and sheltered places, usually between rocks, under houses or in holes in the trees.
# 1. How many minutes can a Sydney funnel-web spider kill a human in?
# 2. What order does the funnel-web spider belong to?
# 3. What is the sexual maturity of the funnel-web spider?
# 4. Which gender of funnel-web spider has the more toxic venom?
# 5. What species of snake does the funnel-web spider have longer fangs than.