In Australia, deadly spiders capable of surviving underwater hide in swimming pools

This news should not delight arachnophobes. Deadly spiders that can survive underwater for more than 24 hours are invading Australian swimming pools. The cause of this appearance: the heavy rains and floods that hit part of the country last week.

Among the species found in pools are funnel-web spiders (Australian funnel-web spider in English). They belong to the Araneida family, which has about forty species. And among them is the fearsome A strong man (Sydney funnel-web spider, in English). It is quite simply the most dangerous poisonous spider species for humans.

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Who is l’Atrax Robustus?

Endemic to Australia, this 5 to 7 cm hairless tarantula is very present in Sydney and its surroundings. Adventurous, she does not hesitate to enter homes, especially when the weather is stormy. Impressive when she stands on her hind legs and shows off her fangs, A strong man can be very aggressive.

Its powerful venom – especially that of males – is very painful and can be fatal in vulnerable people or children. A bite can kill them in less than 15 minutes. Fortunately, an anti-venom – very effective if administered quickly – has been developed, and no deaths have been recorded since the 1980s.

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Sam Herrmann, an animal keeper at the Australian Reptile Park, told 9news that the rain had put these spiders “moving”. “They often seek shelter, so the edge of the pool creates an ideal environment for them to hide while staying dry. However, sometimes they can accidentally fall into the pool.”

Helen Smith, head of the arachnology collection at the Australian Museum, told 7NEWS than funnel-web spiders “are able to survive underwater by trapping an air bubble in the hairs on their undersides. They breathe differently from humans, so it takes them much longer to drown. Most spiders have a dual system respiratory system composed of a trachea and an organ called the laminated lung, made up of a series of stacked plates allowing the diffusion of oxygen.The trachea carries oxygen to the tissues, while the laminated lungs oxygenate the hemolymph – the equivalent of blood in spiders”.

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Before adding: “They can survive for several hours, and sometimes a spider that seems completely dead can suddenly move or slowly come back to life. And they can also bite underwater. But for that, they have to hold on to something, so don’t push your finger”.

What to do in case of a spider in your swimming pool?

Many Australians have posted videos and photos on social media of the little trespassers they have found on their property.

“Please always check your pools before diving in them, especially after rain, wrote Lynda Smith on Facebook. These are not animals you want to disturb.” Dan Smith himself confided to 9news that it had been “a stark reality check. The spider was very active, very fiery”.

Trapdoor spider in the pool on Wednesday then a funnel Web today. Anyone for a swim???

Posted by Dan Smith on Saturday, March 25, 2023

Encountered this nasty little guy today (male funnel web spider)

Posted by Vasilios Basil Haddad on Friday, March 24, 2023

So if you ever find a funnel web spider in your pool, take Sam Herrmann’s advice. Remove the animal with a net, and if you are bitten, seek immediate medical attention.

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