Researchers in Australia have received an anonymous donation consisting of an unlabeled Tupperware container and an exceedingly massive spider. While most of us might not enjoy being given huge spiders, these researchers are thrilled with the gift because they it gives them an opportunity to produce antivenom which can save lives. They are eager to receive more from the public and they hope that the unknown donor will come forward.
Deadly spider donated anonymously
Given the nickname “Megaspider,” the gargantuan arachnid was delivered to the Australian Reptile Park by an unknown individual in the Sydney area.
In most cases having a highly venomous spider delivered anonymously to your workplace might seem like an attempted homicide. In this case these donations are actively encouraged.
Locals are encouraged to catch funnel web spiders like the Megaspider and deliver them to the Australian Reptile Park directly or to safe drop off points checked regularly by the organization.
They operate the only facility in Australia which is able to milk raw venom from funnel spiders for the production of antivenom. Spiders are kept at the facility and milked weekly.
All of the funnel spiders used for this operation come from donations made by the public, though most are not nearly as large as the Megaspider.
A bigger spider means more venom can be produced for antivenom and this spider is certainly big. At 8cm in length she vastly exceeds the average funnel spider size of 1-5cm.
Megaspider will help save lives
Her fangs are large and powerful enough to bite through a human fingernail with ease before delivering her potentially lethal venom through the unfortunate finger.
Antivenom produced using funnel spiders donated by the public saves an estimated 300 lives each year in Australia and more than 25,000 in total since the program began in the 1950s.
The anonymous donor who provided this Megaspider with her great potential for venom milking may have preemptively saved multiple lives in doing so.
People in Sydney who encounter funnel spiders might be killed by their bites without members of the public being prepared to safely trap and deliver the ones they encounter.
The recipients would like to know the identity of this donor both to thank them and to learn more about when and where this exceptionally large spider was found.
If there is one massive funnel spider which came from somewhere around Sydney there might be more which are also capable of providing great amounts of lifesaving antivenom.