It is commonly believed that the island country/continent of Australia contains the most exotic, venomous, vicious and overall most dangerous collection of wildlife that exists on the planet. While this may seem like a dubious stereotype, it is true that Australia is home to an unusually high number of venomous creatures such as snakes, lizards, spiders, scorpions, insects, millipedes and centipedes. In fact, the Australian public has even been victimized by widespread invasions of toxic toads. Venomous Australian funnel-web spiders are particular problematic in the country given their wide distribution, dense habitat and potent venom. The international online buying and selling of these spiders has become quite lucrative lately, as Australians do not need a permit to own funnel-web spiders. The emergence of this market is of serious concern to Australian officials who fear that the widespread and frequent online trade of these spiders will lead to a global increase in dangerous and potentially deadly venomous bite incidents. In other words, the popularity of the online funnel-web spider market poses a global public health threat.
The funnel-web spider family is comprised of numerous venomous species, all of which are native to Australia. These spiders are quite large and most species resemble typical tarantulas. These spiders are notorious for packing venom that can kill an adult human within minutes. The spiders are most commonly sold for around 180 dollars each by Australians on the shopping website Gumtree. It has been reported that smaller funnel-web spiders are sold for 60 dollars each out of Sydney, while the tarantula variety of funnel-web spiders are being sold for one dollar per millimeter out of Queensland. Due to the booming popularity of the online funnel-web spider trade, environmental officials claim that 10,000 funnel web spiders are poached in Queensland each year. One Australian woman recently died within 15 minutes after sustaining a bite from a funnel-web spider.
Do you believe that the online trade of venomous funnel-web spiders will cause fatal bite cases to increase?