News

‘Zombie’ funnel web spider found by G’bah toddlers

Three-year-old Ujjwala Sipe and her brother Matteo, 22 months, with the spider – believed to be a tree-dwelling funnel web – they found at their home in Goonellabah on Sunday.
Three-year-old Ujjwala Sipe and her brother Matteo, 22 months, with the spider – believed to be a tree-dwelling funnel web – they found at their home in Goonellabah on Sunday. Cathy Adams

A CLOSE encounter with a funnel web spider is scary, but worse still is when your kids aged two and three are playing with one.

On Sunday morning Robert Sipe was sweeping the yard of his Goonellabah home when he found his toddlers enjoying the company of a dying tree-dwelling funnel web spider.

"The kids were over near the barbecue, on the ground, looking at something and Ujjwala said 'dad, check this out'," Mr Sipe said.

"I went over to see what it was and it was that spider ... I told them to get away and Matteo was on his belly, looking at it up close."

Mr Sipe said it was barely moving and very close to death - reason enough to simply scoop it up and keep it in a bottle to identify later.

It wasn't moving when Mr Sipe took some photos of it but two days later an unsuspecting Jane Sipe, his wife, moved the bottle to find it had come back to life.

"I thought it would be in the bin ... when I went to move it thinking it was an empty bottle, I'm going 'it's not even dead and we still have it?'" She said.

"I called (Robert) and asked what's going on and how do you kill it."

Mr Sipe was at work when he got the call.

"I just cracked up because Jane was like 'it's still moving!' ... I wanted to joke about it being a zombie spider," he said.

The scariest part, the couple said, was it was the second time they had found a funnel web spider around their home and with curious kids it posed a serious threat to their safety.

"Both of them with bugs, the first thing they want to do is touch them, so if you're not watching them constantly you're just waiting to turn around and see one of them bitten," Mrs Sipe said.

Mr Sipe said the spider was probably dying from the insect spray recently applied to the outside of the house.

"We had a black funnel web in the house last year. I asked people to identify it and that's when I realised we had funnel webs up here," he said.

"We get someone to spray once a year. We do it for the spiders.

"It's under 100 bucks, which is a good investment when you think if that funnel web had bitten one of the kids, just the ambulance itself would have cost 400 bucks."

The Sipe's property overlooks bushland so it's not unusual to find snakes and spiders nearby.

Mr Sipe believes the spiders are particularly active at the moment due to nearby construction and excavation disturbing habitats.

Topics:  family, funnel web, goonellabah, spider, toddlers




Council refuses to finance construction of long-awaited cafe

The iconic Shelly's on the Beach Cafe could be demolished to make way for a new restaurant. photo Rebecca Lollback
Journalist

Five years and counting for construction to begin on cafe.

Death of man, 72, tragic reminder of flood danger

DANGER SIGN: A damaged flood sign at Martin Bridge .

Neighbours say death is a reminder of the dangers of flood waters

Police discover $9,500 worth of stolen items

Some of the stolen items police recovered following a vehicle stop on Friday.

Police locate $9,500 worth of stolen property

Latest deals and offers

That's a wrap: Gympie Muster celebrates 35 years in style

Caitlyn Shadbolt performs at the Muster Club on Sunday August 28 at the Gympie Muster.

Country music festival blessed with great weather and bumper crowds

Julia and Sasha top The Block's leaderboard

Julia and Sasha in their winning master en-suite in a scene from The Block.

FIRST room reveals of the season deliver mixed results.

New music: The legacy of the thunder

Artwork for Celtic Thunder Legacy Volume 2.

Anticipated follow-up album to the chart-topping Legacy, Volume One

Deborah Conway: A String of Pearls, after 25 years

PARTNERS IN MUSIC: Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier are releasing their latest album, Everybody is Begging (2016).

Deborah Conway celebrates 25th anniversary of release

GANGgajang brings new and old hits

STREETWISE: The band at the opening of GANGgajang Way in Bundaberg, Queensland, last year.

Iconic Aussie band returns to Lismore

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m