Spider in school, snake in bin

A funnel web spider meets an eastern brown snake. Both were found in Lennox Head within hours of each other.
A funnel web spider meets an eastern brown snake. Both were found in Lennox Head within hours of each other. Cathy Adams

A DEADLY funnelweb spider was found on the grounds of Lennox Head Public School on Tuesday night, sparking concerns for the safety of students.

Many local children would never have seen a funnelweb before, according to security worker Jason Straton, who found the creature while working the night shift.

“I went to check the doors at the public library and found it there,” he said.

“The next day I went and showed the school principal, just so the school knew to be on the look out for these spiders.

“I also took it around to the classes to show the kids. They call me ‘Spider-man’ now.

“It’s pretty unusual for funnelwebs to be up in this area.

“There’s a bit of construction work going on at the school and some of the materials have come up from Sydney, so I reckon that’s probably where it came from.

“This one I found was a female, and she wasn’t fully grown yet.

“But funnelwebs are the second-most venomous spiders in the world.”

Mr Straton said funnelweb spiders were ‘very aggressive’ and had the potential to kill a human.

However, there have been no deaths recorded in Australia since an antivenene was developed in 1980.

Mr Straton said if you were bitten by one, you should get to get to a hospital within an hour-and-a-half.

“That was part of my concern with this spider being on school grounds – we’re not exactly close to a hospital in Lennox Head,” he said.

“You would need to go to Lismore Base Hospital for the antivenene.”

But Mr Straton’s funnelweb discovery wasn’t the last of his encounters with dangerous animals for the day.

When he finished his shift, he found a one-metre long brown snake under a neighbour’s bin.

“I found it right after I got back from the school,” he said.

“With all the rain we’ve had, the snakes will be coming out to look for food.

“And it’s the same with the funnelwebs.

“I was talking to another guy in Lennox Head and he said he found a couple of funnelwebs about the same size in his garden.

“There could be a few around the place at the moment, and they’re probably going to start breeding.”

Mr Straton said he would release the snake into nearby bushland.

“I think I’m going to have to kill the spider, even though I don’t really want to have to do that,” he said.

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