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'Big Boy' Funnel-Web Spider Caught For Milking In Australia, As Reptile Park Encourages Public To Collect More

25/01/2016 14:59 GMT | Updated 25/01/2016 15:59 GMT

A reptile park in Australia is celebrating after receiving its biggest ever male funnel-web spider - but that's not because one of the deadliest spiders in the world is now safely in captivity.

In fact, they're encouraging the public to capture more.

'Big Boy' is the largest male funnel-web spider ever to have been dropped off at the Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales, measuring 7.5cm in length, and is set to be milked, to make anti-venom.

funnelweb spider

The funnel-web spider is one of the deadliest in the world and will be milked to make anti-venom

And his milking couldn't have come at a better time - when the spider was found in Newcastle bushland, venom was said to have been dripping from his fangs.

The park's head curator Liz Vella said it was always happy to receive funnel-webs for milking, adding that now is the best time to catch them as it is mating season. The spiders spend January and February looking for a female to mate with.

Vella told the Sydney Morning Herald: "Given that only males can be milked, we really encourage local communities to hand them in... within this peak season."

The Australian Reptile Park has a video on how to capture funnel-web spiders safely

She went on to tell the newspaper that funnel-web spiders only live for 12 months, so the reptile park is "constantly needing to restock our males" - then detailed where the best place to find them was.

The spiders are often found in sheltered, shady spots, which are always cool, humid and often damp, Vella said.

However, she did urge caution as the males in particular can be very aggressive, saying: "They are a feisty species of spider and can be expected to stand their ground and defend themselves.

"For that reason we encourage adults to educate children that, should they locate a spider of any kind, parental assistance be provided in the capture."

The funnel-web's venom attacks the muscles of the heart, causing them to spasm, and has been known to kill humans.

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