Meet ‘Megaspider,’ the biggest of its kind ever seen at Australian zoo
(Gray News) - Australian zoo officials say a recently donated funnel-web spider that is so large keepers have dubbed it “Megaspider” could bite through a human fingernail.
Someone found and donated Megaspider, which is more than 3 inches foot-to-foot, to the Australian Reptile Park. With fangs that are nearly three-quarters of an inch long, the female spider could bite through a human fingernail, zoo officials say.
Megaspider is a funnel-web, of which the Sydney variety is considered the most venomous spider in the world, according to the zoo’s website. This massive one is comparable in size to a tarantula and is the largest of its kind the zoo has ever had donated to its antivenom program.
Zoo staff members milk funnel-web spiders weekly for their venom, which is sent off to make a lifesaving antivenom. The program is estimated to save up to 300 Australian lives per year.
“Having Megaspider handed into the venom program is so amazing. In my 30+ years at the Park, I have never seen a funnel-web spider this big,” said Michael Tate, the zoo’s education officer, in a statement.
The zoo hopes to identify the person who donated the spider, so they can determine where it came from. Officials want to find more large spiders because they produce larger amounts of venom.
“If we can get the public to hand in more spiders like her, it will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce,” Tate said.
Funnel-web spiders are typically about half an inch to 2 inches.
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