Funnel-web spiders are a risk to residents on the Mid North Coast

Keep an eye out: Funnel-web spiders are frequent in Port Macquarie, especially around koala corridors. Photo: Getty Images

Keep an eye out: Funnel-web spiders are frequent in Port Macquarie, especially around koala corridors. Photo: Getty Images

NAMBUCCA Valley residents are urged to take caution around their homes, and at parks and grass areas around the Mid North Coast.

It is likely that you will notice holes in the grass or in trees and logs, which often houses the deadly funnel-web spider.

Funnel-webs make their burrows in moist, cool, sheltered habitats, like under rocks, in and under rotting logs, some in rough-barked trees. They can be found in higher numbers around koala corridors.

They are commonly found in suburban rockeries and shrubberies, in lawns or other open terrain. A funnel-web's burrow characteristically has irregular silk trip-lines radiating from the entrance to trap prey. 

Unlike some related trapdoor spiders, funnel-webs do not build lids to their burrows, which is another telltale sign when identifying a spider hole. Redback spiders are also common at this time of the year.

Spider bites are best considered in three medically relevant groups: big black spiders, redback spiders and all other spiders.

Big black spiders are funnel-web spiders and any large black-looking spiders that may be a funnel-web spider. Patients bitten by big black spiders must be managed as a medical emergency.

Redback spiders are fairly easy to identify and their bites do not cause rapidly developing or life-threatening effects but many cause significant pain and systemic effects.

All other spiders in Australia are more or less harmless.

There are 40 different types of funnel web spiders located up and down the east coast of Australia.

Like many funnel web spider species, both sexes of the ‘Port Macquarie funnel web’ have a shiny black carapace, dark brown to black legs and abdomen.

The Port Macquarie funnel web should be treated with care as its venom is slightly more toxic than the Sydney funnel web.

If bitten, wrap with a compression bandage and immediately dial triple-0.

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