‘Urgent warning’ issued over ‘plague’ of poisonous spiders displaced by heavy floods


Australians have received an “urgent warning” about a coming plague of poisonous spiders displaced by flooding.

Torrential rain has drenched New South Wales in recent days, and experts warn that deadly funnel-web spiders (one of the world’s most venomous) could be seeking refuge in people’s houses.

While parts of suburban northwest Sydney are still under water, residents woke to much-needed sunshine on Wednesday morning — only to receive an alarming alert from the Australian Reptile Park.

“The upcoming warm weather and high levels of humidity is the perfect storm for a funnel-web spider BOOM in coming days,” park director Tim Faulkner said in a statement.



The funnel-web spider is among the deadliest arachnids in the world
The funnel-web spider is among the deadliest arachnids in the world

“With the incredible flooding that we’ve experienced across the Greater Sydney area, they have been forced out of their habitat and are seeking refuge in dryer areas.

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“Unfortunately, this could mean that they’ll be finding their way into residential homes very shortly.”

The funnel-web spider is endemic to Sydney, and the species is known to have killed at least 13 people with its toxic bite due to the spider’s fast-acting and potent venom.

However no one is believed to have died from a funnel-web spider bite ever since the introduction of an anti-venom programme in the early 1980s.

Images of thousands of spiders escaping the floodwaters gone viral on social media in recent days, with the eight-legged creatures spotted swarming up fences and buildings.

The Australian Reptile Park, which supplies lifesaving anti-venom for the spider’s bite, is encouraging those who “feel safe enough to do so” to catch and deliver wandering spiders to designated collection facilities.



A local resident kayaks to his house in heavy flooded Windsor, New South Wales
A local resident kayaks to his house in heavy flooded Windsor, New South Wales

The spider plague comes as another infestation is causing ruinous damage to farms in other parts of the state.

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New South Wales is currently struggling with the worst mice infestation the state has seen in decades.

“Thousands and thousands” of the rodents are swarming farms after a bumper grain harvest, with farmers worried their hay will be destroyed well before the winter.



Parks have been flooded in the torrential rain
Parks have been flooded in the torrential rain

Three people have even been bitten by mice while they were being treated in regional hospitals.

A horrifying video posted to social media shows hordes of rodents at a farm in the town of Gilgranda.

Local baiting programmes have so far made little headway against the infestation, and locals are hoping the heavy rain may have drowned many of the mice in their burrows.





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