Funnel web in nappy bag
THERE’S a fine line between becoming acquainted with the local wildlife and getting a little too familiar.
For the Nix family of Queensland, who are calling Evans Head home these holidays, it was a case of the latter.
That’s because they discovered a deadly funnel web spider climbing into their baby girl’s nappy bag after returning home after dark last week.
The close encounter could easily have ended in disaster, with father Tony or mother Rachael thrusting their hand in the bag to grab a diaper for baby Alisha.
Or the terrible fate could have landed upon the older children, either Damian, 12 or Taylah, 9.
But Mr Nix, who kept a cool head throughout the ordeal, despatched the unassuming critter with a can of Baygon before breathing a well deserved sigh of relief.
In fact, it would eventually take more than that to kill the large black creature, as it was still kicking come morning.
The Northern Tree-dwelling funnel web, or Hadronyche formidabilis, is the largest of all funnel webs, reaching 4-5 cm body length.
This one was described by local pest man James Pearson as the finest male species he’d seen, and was the size of a 50 cent coin.
These spiders live in the wet forests of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland and have been found over 30m above the ground.
While they are known on the tablelands, and even Richmond Range, they are rare on the coast.
Yet they have been found sporadically on the south side of Evans Head.
It turns out males wander during summer searching for a mate and have been known to end up on garage floors after dark, as this one did.
“Queenslanders aren’t used to funnel web spiders,” said Mr Nix. Our kids run around barefoot and we habitually leave our shoes outside overnight.
“So it might be good to make people aware that these do exist.”
If you do see a funnel web and are game, the National Serum laboratory pays $50 for every spider, so think before you squash it, or nail the critter with that can of spray.