Australian Zoo Adopts a 'Megaspider' So Big Its Fangs Can Pierce Human Fingernails

Most Australians think that the land Down Under is a hot-bed of venomous arachnids. Every now and then a spider emerges that gives us a dose of arachnophobia.

The Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales recently received an example of a female funnel-web spider.

It's the largest of its kind the park experts have seen, with a leg-span double that of many other members of its species and fangs that are powerful enough to punch through a fingernail.
What else do you call it, other than Megaspider?

The plan is to make more anti-venom by milking her venom.

The zoo's education officer, Michael Tate, says that if the public were to hand in more large spiders like her, more lives would be saved because of the huge amount of venom they can produce.

There are neurotoxins in funnel-web venom that block sodium channels in our nerves. In the worst cases, the effects of a large dose can be fatal.

The venom doesn't bother other mammals. Cats and dogs are unaffected by female bites, with a mild response from the male.

It's not clear why funnel-web venom evolved to cause humans harm, though research suggests it's an accidental side effect of an insect-killing cocktail that also happens to keep predators at bay with a painful nip. It's handy when the males are looking for mates.

Sometimes it doesn't take a bad mood to drive the spiders out in the open. They'll come out of their damp burrows in droves given enough rain.

It adds up to 30 to 40 bites a year. Having enough anti-venom is important in those events. The spider's venom is used to create funnel-web anti-venom.

There could be some useful chemicals in that soup. Medical scientists want to know how venom can help reduce damage from heart attacks or extend the life of hearts for transplants.

Milking programs like those at the Australian Reptile Park help supply medical and research facilities with a fresh supply of vital treatments, and specimen like Megaspider are as prized as a farmer's fattest cow.

"We want to find out where she came from so we can find more massive spiders like her," says Tate.

A typical funnel-web spider's legs can reach up to 5 centimeters from tip-to-tip. An individual found inNewcastle earned the nickname "The Rock" last year.

Megaspider is a size 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465 888-282-0465

The Australian reptile park is located in Australia.

Impressive as it sounds, the park has seen some big hitters before. The park received a male who was 10-centimeter (4-inch) in length.

If there are bigger ones, the park staff would love to meet them.

People can bring collected spiders to the park.

If they can't get to us, we have drop off zones around the country, and all facilities have a spider safety kit to keep them safe.

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