Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Monday, February 6, 2017

To Catch a Spider

A weird paradox is that using a backfire is sometimes the best way to fight a fire.  Similarly, poison is sometimes needed to fight poison.  The venom from rattlesnakes, for example, is required to produce the antivenom for protection from a rattlesnake bite.  To produce the antivenom, domestic animals are injected with small doses of venom.  These small doses cause the animals to produce antibodies which are then harvested and used to fight off the poison in humans.
This same process can be employed to produce antidote for poisonous spiders.
First of all, you would think just being creepy-looking is enough for spiders.  But this is not so.  A bunch of them are also capable of dispensing a poisonous bite to humans.
Now, let’s talk about Australia.  Australia is “The Land Down Under” for good reason.  That reason is because they have a bunch of really creepy spiders and snakes and we need to keep that shit below us.
The other day, I chanced upon a Reuter’s article about a zookeeper at The Australian Reptile Park who is urging the public to go out and catch deadly funnel-web spiders.  The folks at the park have not been able to catch enough spiders and need more spiders.  The park is the country’s sole provider of funnel-web venom for the production of funnel-web spider antidote.  The antidote is actually derived in other facilities from rabbit plasma.   A recent spate of spider bites has left the supply dangerously low.
The funnel-web spiders near Sidney are the dangerous ones.  These spiders are endowed with conspicuously large fangs.  The bites are painful and can (reportedly) cause death within an hour if left untreated.
So far as catching the spiders, a fellow named Tim Faulkner, speaking on behalf of the park, noted: “With an appropriate jar and a wooden spoon, you can flick the spider into the jar easily.”
Really?  A jar, a wooden spoon, and a live venomous spider?  Is that the best you can do, Down Under?

--Mitchell Hegman


  1. Well maybe the Aussies will develop an anti-venom to the belligerent POTUS who upset the Aussie prime minister over the refugee issue.