Deadly giant funnel-web spider named ‘Hercules’ with ultra-toxic venom is biggest ever found


RESEARCHERS have unearthed the largest-known male specimen of the world’s most venomous spider.

Nicknamed “Hercules,” the spider is a Sydney funnel-web and has been discovered in Australia.


Researchers have unearthed the largest-known male specimen of the world’s most venomous spiderCredit: Live Science

It was found at a local hospital around 50 miles north of Sydney but has been relocated to the Australian Reptile Park.

The hairy specimen measures a whopping 3.1 inches (7.9 centimeters) across, which is roughly the diameter of an Olympic gold medal.

The Australian Reptile Park runs a venom-extracting program to produce life-saving antivenom for Australian hospitals.

“Male funnel-webs, once they reach maturity, their natural lifespan is only around one year,” Emma Teni, a spider-keeper at the park, said in a video via the Associated Press.

“So we need to constantly have them handed in by the general public because we need them for our lifesaving antivenom program.”

The Sydney funnel-web spider is known for its potent venom, especially in males.

While both genders are venomous, the toxins in male bites pose a greater threat to humans due to their neurotoxic effects on the nervous system.

Male funnel-webs typically have larger fangs and produce venom specifically for hunting insects.

Thankfully, with proper medical attention, bites from these scary spiders are rarely fatal to humans.

And now, Hercules’ potent venom will play a helpful role in protecting Australians from Sydney funnel-webs, thanks to the Australian Reptile Park’s work.

Since 1981, the Australian Reptile Park’s pioneering spider antivenom program has saved many lives from the deadly bites of funnel-web spiders.

Every week, specially trained park staff use fine glass pipettes to coax the spiders into releasing tiny droplets of venom.

This is then collected and frozen before being used to develop antivenom by vaccine company CSL Seqirus.