Enormous Deadly Spider Named 'Colossus' Will Be Milked to Create an Antivenom Serum

Funnel web spiders are venomous and aggressive. But the biggest specimen yet—named Colossus—can help future victims survive the bites of this deadly spider. 

The Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, New South Wales, just obtained what they are claiming is the world’s largest male specimen of the funnel web spider. The span of its legs measures 7.8 centimeters, or 3 inches.

FunnelWeb Colossus is the largest male funnel web spider ever brought to The Australian Reptile Park. Facebook/The Australian Reptile Park

Some claim that the funnel web spider is the most deadly arachnid in the world, but ranking spider toxicity is complicated. Some spiders have more deadly venom but are less aggressive, and others have more painful bites. However, venom from funnel web spiders, which do sometimes hang out in proximity to humans, can kill a healthy human adult in a day or less.

No one has died from funnel web spider bites since scientists started developing antivenom. That’s where Colossus comes in.

Creating antivenom requires “milking” a spider with that venom. Park staff will carefully handle the spider, touch the animal’s mouth with a pipette, and suck up the venom that it ejects. The Australian Reptile Park created a video to explain the process.

The antivenom from milked spiders has come in handy before. Last year, a funnel web spider bit a boy who required 12 vials of antivenom to save. He was fine the next day, and the spider that bit him ended up at a reptile park antivenom program as well, The Guardian reported.

According to the Australian Reptile Park’s Facebook Post, rain drives funnel web spiders out of their burrows, so sightings (and bites) are more common. But thanks to spiders like Colossus that provide venom for antivenom medications, people who are bitten by other spiders are much more likely to survive and walk away. 

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