BRACE yourself Sydney — some of the world’s most venomous creatures are about to go bananas in your backyard.Experts warned yesterday that spring’s warm beginning and recent heavy rain had combined to provide the perfect trigger for dangerous snakes and spiders to thrive.
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Wild Life Sydney Zoo invertebrate keeper Julie Grizia said humans were doubly likely to come into contact with species like the deadly funnel web spider at this time of year because they were heading back outdoors to garden and play.
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While they spend most of their time in underground burrows, male funnel webs roam garden in search of a mate or a new place to set up shop — dark, warm shoes left outdoors being a favourite haunt.
It started with abundant vegetation growth, which led to an increase in insect numbers and consequently on the animals that feed on them.
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That continued through the food chain to venomous spiders, snakes and other predators.
“I reckon if we get some more warm weather and then a few wet days the male funnel webs are going to go bananas,” Mr Faulkner said.
Not that it’s all bad news if they do.
As Australia’s sole supplier of funnel web venom, the site needs more than 300 spiders, most caught and donated by members of the public, to keep up with demand.
“We only get an incredibly small amount of venom from any one spider, so it takes a large number of milkings to get just one vial of antivenom,” Mr Faulkner said.
“Our funnel web room is only one-third full so we can’t fill the quota and that for us is a dangerous point.”
Snakes, too, are expected to emerge due to the warmer weather, with eastern browns, red-bellied blacks and diamond pythons among the species likely to be seen around Sydney.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife said people could discourage snakes from “lingering” by removing pet food that attracted mice, removing items that could provide them shelter and filling gaps in doors and walls to prevent entry into a house.
“If snakes do come into contact with children, adults or pets, give the snake plenty of room to escape,” it said.