Record-breaking rains and upcoming warm weather and humidity has created the perfect storm for a funnel-web spider explosion across Greater Sydney.

The Australian Reptile Park has warned the public to be alert for the deadly arachnids, likely to be among thousands of creatures fleeing flood-affected and sodden areas.

Horrific footage earlier this week showed thousands of spiders escaping floodwaters in Penrith with clusters climbing up fences, buildings and even pant legs.

The Australian Reptile Park is issuing a warning to the public with the prediction of an influx of funnel-web spiders. Picture: Australian Reptile Park
The Australian Reptile Park is issuing a warning to the public with the prediction of an influx of funnel-web spiders. Picture: Australian Reptile Park

Australian Reptile Park director Tim Faulkner issued an urgent warning to NSW residents today that funnel-webs may be among the creatures surfacing in coming days.

"Under normal circumstances, the humidity that is generated from warm weather after a rain event would see an increase in activity amongst funnel-webs," Mr Faulkner said.

"This situation is completely different. Not only are we seeing increased movement due to humidity, but we're already seeing a plague of ground-dwelling spiders searching for higher ground, out of the floodwaters."

Thousands of tiny spiders escape across the flood waters on the NSW Mid North Coast.. Credit: Matt Lovenfosse
Thousands of tiny spiders escape across the flood waters on the NSW Mid North Coast.. Credit: Matt Lovenfosse

Funnel webs are usually found in damp, wooded areas near a water source. However flooding across Greater Sydney will have forced many out of their habitat to seek refuge in dryer areas.

"Unfortunately, this could mean that they'll be finding their way into residential homes very shortly," he said.

Mr Faulkner said people should be wary but not panicked if they see a spider.

If it's safe to do so, they can catch wandering funnel-web to contribute to the Australian Reptile Park's lifesaving spider antivenom program.

Details about drop-off locations and how to catch a funnel-web can be found here.

 

Tim Faulkner with a funnel web that bit a child on the fingerseveral years ago. He survived after getting 12 vials of antivennene. Picture: Mark Scott
Tim Faulkner with a funnel web that bit a child on the fingerseveral years ago. He survived after getting 12 vials of antivennene. Picture: Mark Scott

 

IF YOU GET BITTEN

The Australian Reptile Park is the sole supplier of funnel-web spider venom to make into lifesaving antivenom.

If you are bitten, stay as calm, apply a pressure immobilisation bandage and get to hospital as fast as possible.

Originally published as 'Perfect storm': Floods spark deadly spider warning


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