The main Funnel Web Spiders has had a major revamp in time for some national advertising that’s coming up in early November 2007. Here’s what it looks like:


New Funnel Web Spiders Design

Moving to our own domain

4 October 2006

This blog has been getting good traffic so I’m going to move it to its own domain, www.funnelwebspiders.com. Hopefully there won’t be too many glitches in the changeover while I set up WordPress on the new host and upload all my posts. Fingers crossed!

Rod Crawford, sensible bloke and Curator of Arachnids at Burke Museum in Seattle, USA, has put together an exhaustive list of Myths, Misconceptions and Superstitions about Spiders. His list covers:

  • General fallacies
  • Myths about identifying spiders
  • House spider myths
  • Just plain weird stories
  • Myths about dangerous spiders

A lot of the pages are about American spiders and some myths that returned soldiers from Iraq are perpetrating on their unsuspecting friends and families (pretty cool/funny though – see the camel spider articles).

His most relevant myth for this site is:

But there really are deadly spiders in Australia and Brazil

(Ours are deadlier than yours)

I agree with pretty much everything Rod has to say, except when he says that funnel web spiders can’t be considered deadly because we now have antivenom for them. The inherent deadliness of the spider doesn’t change because we have antivenom.

At any rate, I certainly won’t be playing with funnel webs or letting kids have them as pets just because we have an antidote to their potentially lethal bite.

spider-catcher.jpgDon’t want spiders in your room but don’t want to kill them either? Concerned about the use of pesticides near your kids and pets? Check out the Spider Catcher!

This device was originally invented in Ireland for their genteel little critters. Then Des Harris brought the invention to Australia. He found it lacking when it came to handling our more rugged, butch and manly spiders like the huntsman and funnel web spider. So it was re-engineered for our conditions.

You can catch spiders without hurting them (there’s been supervised testing on real live animals after extensive testing on plastic spiders), then set them free in a more appropriate environment.

And if being near a spider makes you a bit queasy, there’s a long handled version that allows you to get about 1.6m (5 ft) away from the beastie.

BUT…

There is much potential for misuse of this invention. I’m concerned that squeamish terrorists, kidnappers, bullies and CIA agents may be able to use this device to intimidate and coerce their victims from a safe distance. Should the Geneva Conventions pertaining to the rights of prisoners and excluded forms of interrogation include a reference to the Spider Catcher? By making spider handling safe for the bad guys, are we contributing to the downfall of society as we know it?

Sorry I missed you

13 September 2006

I’m usually pretty quick on the draw when someone uses “Spider Talk” to talk to me (scroll down a bit and you’ll see it on the right hand side). I missed someone while I was away from my computer. They asked a question about identifying a spider with short legs and red on its back. If that’s you, please try Spider Talking to me again, or leave a comment and I’ll answer it for everyone to see.

I hope that in the meantime, the spider you tried to describe hasn’t bitten you and that if you don’t come back to this site it’s not because you’re dead or very ill in hospital from spider bite.

australiaspiderchart-small.gifTermite.com is actually the site that I got the funnel web spider first aid information from (obviously not verbatim – mine is more vivid). If you happen to see a creepy looking spider in your back yard and want to know whether you’re taking your life in your hands by poking it with a stick (even if you’re not, please don’t), then this chart is for you:

Printable version
Web version with more info

I personally like the web version much better as it has an animated image of the male funnel web spider that does a little jig!

The chart lists the spiders by whether they are:

  • Deadly and Dangerous (this is where the funnel web spider is)
  • Venomous – Poisonous – Painful Bite, and
  • The “Low Risk” Spiders

Termites.com is actually a really good, very informative site about all sorts of creepy crawlies. These guys are apparently the ones who can eradicate the following vermin and nasties from your home:

arachnid coffee mug, large

Note quite what I wanted to give you…

What I REALLY wanted was to have a mug that was blank on the outside, or had some innocuous print like flowers or Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Starry Night that would lull people into a false sense of security.

Then on the inside of the mug, I’d print a photo of a funnel web spider as large as I possibly could. I think the best place would be right on the very bottom. People would buy the mug to scare their friends.

So these cool people would give their dorky guests this harmless-looking yet secretly-sinister mug to drink from. Everything would be hunky dory until they get the end of their cuppa. The cool people would have to be all calm and not let on that something is wrong.

Then when the dorkmeisters are taking their last sip and the cup is really close to their face, they’ll see the creepy spider in the bottom of their mug, ready to pounce on their face. They’ll freak out and drop the cup, breaking it into a thousand little pieces. And their cool friend will laugh at them because it was just a joke. And the freaked out geekfest will be all apologetic that they broke the mug and will promise to replace it and I will make more money.

But I couldn’t get one of those. So instead you’ll just have to make do with this mug. A supersize mug for the true caffeine addicts.

  • Holds 15 ounces (about 450ml)
  • Measures 4.5″ tall, 3.25″ diameter
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe
  • $14.99

more info

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