At Christmas we're used to having unwelcome guests, whether it's an uncle who's a bit of a prick, a sister-in-law that you all can't really stand or a grandmother who kind of scares you a bit. But Aussie homes are now bracing themselves for the worst of them all - with spider mating season officially in full swing.
And it's not just any kind of jiggy spider that they'll have to put up this Christmas, it's the funnel-web spider. This is the world's most venomous spider. It can also kill humans in as little as 15 minutes, making these dudes seriously scary,
With it being the time of year when arachnids are on the chirpse, it's usual for the eight-legged freaks to head indoors to cool, damp spaces on an average Australian summer evening - although apparently it's more common to find males than females, who make the blokes 'come to them'. Sounds like Yates's on a Friday night.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
"This time of year we find the males in the evenings when it's cooler, walking around looking for females," said Paul Hare, Invertebrate Keeper at Taronga Zoo, speaking to news.com.au.
"The females we tend to only come across if you've been doing gardening or you've had really heavy rains and they've been flooded out of their homes. The girls let the males come to them."
People have already been finding them creeping around, with Bec Sheedy from Springwood in west Sydney telling news.com.au that she'd found a 5cm-long funnel-web spider on the prowl around her house.
A funnel-web's fangs are larger than a brown snake's, and are so strong that they can stab through human nails and toenails. That is a pretty rank thought, although you'd probably rather they pierced that part of your body.
Hare says the most dangerous place to be nibbled by a funnel-web spider is in the torso.
"If you do get bitten you will feel the effects very quickly, it can make you very, very sick," Hare added.
Once bitten, you'll feel the effects almost immediately, with nausea, muscle cramps, profuse sweating and numbess around the mouth. However, before you start to completely freak out we should probably note that there hasn't been a death since the antivenom became available in 1981, thank fuck.
The spiders are attracted to cool, damp areas - think pools, bathrooms or laundry. You can't drown them out easily, either, as they can survive being submerged in water for days at a time. Hare recommends wearing gloves while gardening and says it's best not to leave items outdoors that could attract - and house - a spider.
Then, of course, there's all of Australia's other deadly arachnids hanging around - but not all are looking for the same damp places as funnel-webs.
"Spiders like redbacks, white tails and huntsmen prefer dry conditions over moist," Head of Spiders at the Australian Reptile Park, Kane Christensen, told Daily Mail Australia. "They don't want their burrows or webs to get wet.
"You'll find a redback in every house in Australia because of dry conditions."
Absolutely. Fuck. That.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons