A six-year-old girl from Sydney’s northern beaches was rushed to hospital after she mistook a large funnel-web spider for a toy and picked it up.
The bite was so severe that she needed three vials of antivenom.
The deadly spider was in the hallway of a Sydney home when the little girl mistook it for a toy while playing and picked it up.
The Manly Daily reports that the girl’s mother took her to her GP where she was advised to take her home and keep a close eye on her.
When she arrived home, the six-year-old began vomiting, sweating, shaking uncontrollably and complaining that her vision was ‘cloudy’.
Her father told The Manly Daily, “(s)he was shouting to my wife: ‘Mummy, mummy, I can’t see.’”
“She was sweating so much her clothes were absolutely soaking and she was shaking and convulsing. It was very scary, particularly for my wife, who was with her.”
The girl was rushed to hospital where doctors needed three vials of antivenom to fight the effects of the spider bite.
According to The Manly Daily:
“At around the same time her dad caught the spider, after a two-hour hunt, and sent a mobile phone picture of it to the doctors at the hospital. The father added that doctors had not seen a serious spider bite like this in years and told them the spider was not a classic Sydney funnel-web, therefore the antivenom was not a complete match, meaning his daughter needed several vials for it to work.”
So what was it that bit the little girl?
Australian Reptile Park representative Liz Gabriel told News Limited that she could identify the creature as a male spider just from pictures but she needed a closer inspection to confirm what type of spider it was.
Male funnel-web spiders — which are often found in houses as they look for a female to mate with — have been responsible for all 13 deaths by funnel-web spiders in NSW.
For this Sydney family, it served as a timely warning.
“My daughter is a bright child and I thought if she would pick up a spider like that, any kid her age might do it too,” her dad said.
- There are 40 species of funnel-web spiders.
- Funnel-web spiders are found in Queensland, NSW, the ACT, Victoria and South Australia.
- They are medium to large spiders, varying from 1 cm – 5 cm body length.
- Males are smaller in body than females.
- Males wander at night, especially during or after rain and may enter houses.
- Not all species are known to be dangerous.
- The male of Atrax robustus, the Sydney funnel-web spider, is probably responsible for all recorded deaths (13) and many medically serious bites, no deaths have been recorded since the introduction of an antivenom in 1981.