The biggest of its kind found in Australia, this spider is unique for its size.

When you see those videos on the internet of giant spiders the size of small dogs climbing up some poor homeowners wall, chances are that video was taken in Australia. The continent that is home to cute kangaroos, cuddly koalas, and plenty of beautiful birds is also home to some of the most terrifying spiders in the world. One of which is the Australian Funnel-Web Spider.

The Australian funnel-web spider, otherwise known as Artacidae, is an arachnid native to Australia. These spiders on average are “one to five centimeters in length,” according to Australian funnel-web spiders are venomous, with their bites causing severe pain to those bitten. However, none of the spiders belonging to the subfamily Hexathelidae (which includes the Australian funnel-web) are deadly, and no deaths have been reported since the development of modern medicine. 

Recently in Australia, a particularly large Australian funnel-web spider has been donated to the Australian Reptile Park in Somersby, Australia. This spider, nicknamed “Megaspider”, is a whopping 5 centimeters (or 1.9 inches) long. This means that Megaspider is on the larger side for funnel-web spiders. In an interview with CNN, the Reptile Park said that “Megaspider was the largest of its kind that they had ever seen. 

Funnel-web spiders (and all venomous spiders) are incredibly important to modern medicine. When people donate these kinds of spiders instead of killing them, they are saving lives. The Australian Reptile Park stated that Megaspider will be milked for her venom, which will then be turned into antivenom. Without antivenom, many venomous spiders could kill someone who is bitten by them. It is only through the donation and milking of venomous spiders that lives are saved. 

Beyond making antivenom, spiders are an important part of our ecosystem. They consume hundreds of thousands of pesky insects everyday, and then ensure that there is a balance amongst the insect population (and in some cases the rodent population). And not only does spider venom make antivenom, they and their venom is also used in research for medicines and treatments like pain killers and cancer cures. Rather than kill a spider, try to trap it and release it back into the wild using a cup and a piece of paper. 

Even though spiders are terrifying to behold, especially if they’re massive, they’re still very important to our ecosystem and lives. Just imagine how many more annoying flies or gnats you’d have to deal with if spiders weren’t around.