During this weekends Medical Responder course with Team Rubicon Australia, a visitor was seen wandering across the floor during our nightly debrief.
Thought to be a male Funnel Web spider, out searching for a mate, the lesson quickly turned to the safe capture of the specimen and the opportunity to learn more about him.
After our interactions and discussions, this little fellow was positively identified by our good friends at SSSafe to in fact be a male Mouse Spider. When identifying the spider Jackie Adams said " This is by far one of my favourite spiders on the planet & I totally understand how you got him confused with a male funnel web".
“The male mouse spider is like a male funnel web in so many ways; he has attitude with a capital A, he’s smaller than the female... in the spider world it’s all about the girls, and he has skinny, spindly legs & travels at night or after rain searching for a girl. But you see that splash of blue/grey on the abdomen? That’s a tell tale characteristic of the Male Mouse Spider. His fangs move in & out too, instead of striking down & up. An important message we convey on our snake and spider safety programs is that it's difficult to rely on identification unless you know the specimen or take a sample of the venom”.
Like the Funnel Web, Mouse spiders are venomous though the exact degree of toxicity remains unclear, and envenomations rarely occur. In the few recorded bites of the spider, funnel web antivenom has proven effective.
If you suspect you’ve been bitten by a mouse spider or a funnel web, even if you’re not sure, apply the pressure bandage & immobilisation technique just like you would for a snake bite. We recommend the SMART Bandage to achieve the correct tension on the bandage. Ensure you also rest, reassure and immobilise the casualty.
If done correctly, the casualty may not show symptoms, but ensure the casualty is transported (preferably by ambulance) to hospital, where treatment is to be commenced prior to the bandages release.
Like the Funnel Web, Mouse Spiders are most commonly found on the Eastern seaboard of Australia and are attracted to water, often leading them to rockeries and shrubberies. In this case, it was out wandering in the rain and it found a Shrubby instead :-)
We took the opportunity to get some photos the following day, thanks to Seany Foster!