TOPICS: Australian Reptile Park’s tips on catching funnel webs for venom milking

admin | 杭州桑拿
5 Feb 2019

Funnel webs can be milked of their venom, which can be used to make anti-venom to stop bite related deaths.FOR anyone the sane side of Mark Holden, the news that you’re running low on funnel webs might sound just fine.

Not so Stacey Denovan. Part of the Australian Reptile Park keeper’s job is to ‘‘milk’’ the spiders of their venom, and she’s down to her last 10. It’s getting desperate.

‘‘At our highest point last year we had three or four hundred males,’’ she told Topics.

‘‘And the males don’t live long once they’re on the shelf.’’

The park is the sole supplier of funnel web venom in Australia. It’s used to make anti-venom which, since being developed 33 years ago, has put a stop to bite-related deaths.

Where are we going with this? Look, we’ll come clean. Your help is needed.

Next time you find a funnel web in the yard, the house or the depths of your gumboot, Denovan, Topics and society need you to trap it, scoop it up and drop it off for milking.

‘‘It’s the only way we get them,’’ say Denovan.

‘‘The people who bring them in are gardeners, builders and contractors who find them digging.’’

As shown in this demonstration video, the idea is to find a jar, punch holes in the lid and corral your funnel web with a ruler. It’ll need soil in there for moisture, or some damp cotton.

‘‘They’re easier to deal with than people might think,’’ says Denovan, brightly.

‘‘They don’t jump, can’t climb smooth surfaces and can’t run very quickly.’’

Excellent. It’s a male you’re after. In the matriarchal world of funnel webs they live half as long, are routinely eaten and, with venom six times stronger than females, are in demand for milking. On the upside, they don’t have to tidy the burrow.

John Hunter Hospital and Belmont Hospital are the drop-off points for funnel webs – in a jar. We can’t stress that enough.

ONE of Newcastle’s behind-the-scenes movers and shakers has a gig tonight at the Lass O’Gowrie.

Rod Smith, the legal mind who underpinned Renew Newcastle, will front his four-piece North Arm at the Wickham live music institution. The band just released its EP Life Cycles, and is making a buzz in independent circles.

Smith is a City of Newcastle Service Award-winner for his pro bono work for Renew. With colleagues Alex McInnes and Danielle Larkin, he managed the group’s corporate compliance, tax office endorsements and lease arrangements.

And we’re told his band is worth checking out.

TOPICS finds ourselves in furious agreement with John Safran. It’s about cake.

‘‘There’s a lot of pressure to eat cake in society,’’ the filmmaker wrote this week on Facebook.

‘‘Easily more pressure than taking drugs I’ve found. You’re always insulting someone by not accepting cake. Either you’re rejecting their kindness, or insulting their baking, or implying they’re fat and greedy for gobbling cake and you’re better than them for showing restraint.’’

Exactly. Be it a school fete, wedding, funeral, end of the HSC, our birthday, your birthday, Jesus’ birthday, the latest round of redundancies, people can’t get enough of cake.

This column once shuffled to the side of our own farewell as colleagues busied themselves with a flan. A lady made it her mission that we take some home in tupperware. Why?

The thing is, some of us prefer something savoury – seafood, perhaps. Imagine debating the finer points of whatever with a mate, cracking into a crab, waving a claw for emphasis.

But that’s one idea. Who’s with us? Which food could end the rein of cake?

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