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Australians asked to capture deadly spider due to antivenom shortage

Anti-venom shortage leads government to ask citizens to capture funnel-web spiders
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A Funnel Web spider is pictured at the Australian Reptile Park January 23, 2006 in Sydney, Australia. The Funnel Web is one of Australia's deadliest animals, with a venom that is packed with at least 40 different toxic proteins. (Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

Australia's least squeamish are being asked to capture deadly, aggressive funnel-web spiders, in the midst of a worrisome anti-venom shortage, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). 

Although funnel-web spiders (Atrax Robustus!) are extremely venomous, there have only been 14 deaths from the spiders bite since the 1981 introduction of a potent antivenom, reports the Australian Museum.

That's despite 300 reported funnel-web bites a year in Sydney, and about 60 "life and death situations" according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Which is utterly uncomforting!

Read more: Deadly funnel-webs invade Sydney - The Telegraph

As the antivenom is a major factor in keeping Sydney safe, Australian GlobalPost readers may want to contemplate capturing the deadly beasts for the greater good. (This is one of those times when I'm glad my patriotic duties don't extend to the capture of hyper-aggressive arachnids). 

If you do manage to capture a funnel-web, or find one paddling about in your swimming pool, you are invited to take it to either the Australian Reptile Park or another designated spider drop-off center.

The Australian Reptile Park is the only place in Australia that is either brave enough or nuts enough to milk these deadly arachnids, depending on your perspective.  

You can see a video of spider-milking below. It's probably not what you think. 

The reward will, I believe be your conscience - although it really ought to be cold, hard cash. 

Sydney Funnel-web spider, Australian Museum, Mike Gray 

Australia is infamous for having wildlife that really wants to kill you, and the funnel-web spider—among the most dangerous in the world—is a sterling example of the natural masochism many Aussies cheerfully endure. (I suppose us Americans do have cougars, but cougars don't like to hide in your shoes). 

Native only to the Sydney area - What a great place to build a major city! - the funnel-web is large, aggressive, and is even capable of swimming. If you are bitten, the nice man from the Australian Reptile Park advises you "remain calm." 

Residing in silky "tunnels" underground, funnel-webs often come into direct conflict with people when males go wandering in search of mates. This means they're highly likely to turn up in your swimming pool, car, or nestled discreetly inside your sock drawer. One never knows. 

Here's a funnel-web spider swimming around in a pool. Gosh, it's a hot day outside, isn't it? 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/news/science/wildlife-news/australians-asked-capture-deadly-spider-due-antivenom-shortage