The Sydney funnel web spider is a shy one that can cause a lot of problems (5 photos + 1 video)

Category: Animals, PEGI 16
20 November 2023

Spiders themselves are unpleasant creatures. With whom ordinary people are not eager to contact unnecessarily. And the inhabitants of the mysterious continent - Australia, in this regard, are generally ahead of the rest.

The Sydney funnel web spider (Atrax robustus) is a mini killing machine. One bite is enough for the arthropod to paralyze and kill the victim.

The small creature has such a nasty character that it attacks without warning. And the level of frantic aggression is such that the spider can easily bite through shoes and even a human nail.

The species was first described in 1914 by British explorer William Joseph Rainbow. And its representatives are considered the most poisonous on earth. Toxins, which include robustotoxin and atraxin, enter the bloodstream a couple of minutes after the bite.

Fortunately, after the advent of the antidote in the 80s, no deaths were recorded. But if the drug is not administered, death caused by arterial hypotension occurs within a few days.

The insidious quiet creatures feel comfortable not only in the wild, but also in parks and squares, posing a very real threat to people.

Atrax robustus leads a rather solitary lifestyle: it digs holes near clusters of stones and fallen trees and stretches nets. Near which it sits, waiting for prey. Females do not leave their homes at all, and males leave their shelter only when they go in search of love.

Quite often, spiders form entire colonies of up to hundreds of individuals. True, respecting other people's space and weaving your network at a distance from your neighbors.

During heavy rains, Sydney spiders have to look for dry and warm shelter. And this gives rise to a new danger: often, in this capacity, spiders choose attics and hallways of houses, where they enjoy the warmth, crawling into pockets or shoes. With all the possible consequences.

Males reach a length of 5 centimeters. Females are slightly shorter. The body is smooth and shiny on the outside, and covered with sparse hairs on the abdominal side. A distinctive feature of Sydney spiders are their impressive fangs, reaching 5 millimeters, and pronounced arachnoid glands.

With their impressive fangs, arthropods prepare their prey (usually snails and insects, but spiders can also pamper themselves with small amphibians and reptiles) for consumption. The poison injected into the victim’s body turns its insides into a kind of nutrient broth, dissolving them. And the spider feeds on this substance, ultimately leaving only a dry, empty shell of its prey.

The courtship process in males who have reached the age of 2 years is interesting. Having caught the girl's scent, they move towards the potential bride and delicately warn of their arrival by tapping their paws on the wood or ground. Those who are especially impatient can even tug on their chosen one’s web. If the female is satisfied with everything, then she responds to the partner with a similar knock.

After the act of love and fertilization, the gentleman quickly runs away from the meeting place with all his ten legs. Because there is a great risk of becoming the first meal of the now expectant mother.

The female spins a cushion-shaped cocoon and lays many eggs inside. Every day and more than once, she performs a sacred ritual - she cleans and shakes the pillow so that future children will be clean and comfortable. The spider rushes at anyone who dares to approach her offspring like a tigress, ready to protect her treasure from any adversity.

The spiderlings are born after about three weeks. And for the next few months they are in the care of their parent. After which they crawl away to begin an adult, rather long (up to four years for males and up to 12 for females) and full of adventure life.

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