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Red-headed spider packs punch

The Red-headed Mouse Spider has a bite full of toxic venom that is currently treated by Funnel-web spider anti venom.
The Red-headed Mouse Spider has a bite full of toxic venom that is currently treated by Funnel-web spider anti venom. Contributed

WARNING, the following story contains descriptions and images of spiders that people with or without arachnophobia may find disturbing.

With eight spindly legs and a prominent head and jaw the red-headed mouse spider is difficult to miss.

This striking spider is also known for its venom that has been compared to that of the Sydney funnel-web spider.

Last week grey nomad Rod Pavey, who was staying on a mate's property near Allora, spotted the potentially life-threatening spider.

"I found it in the middle of a paddock I had mowed to set up my motor home," he said.

"I knew what it was because I have seen one before and the bright red head made it obvious it was a male.

"It was only little though, about 10-12mm in size.

"It is the second one I have found in the Allora district although the other was five years ago and quite small."

Even though no deaths from a red-headed mouse spider bite have been recorded in Australia funnel-wed spider antivenom has proven to be an effective antidote.

As normal, if bitten a pressure bandage should be applied to the bite and as high up the limb as possible, the victim immobilised, the spider collected for positive identification and the venom left on the skin to assist with identification.

Red-headed mouse spiders have a large distribution and can be found across mainland Australia but tend to avoid densely populated areas.

Nobly Mr Pavey set the captive spider free.

"I don't like killing things so I took it a long way away and let it free," he said.

Topics:  mouse spider


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