Watch out!

Whether it’s spiders indoors or snakes outdoors, Yass Valley residents need to keep a look out this summer.

The Tribune got a visit from a huge white-tailed spider earlier this week, brought in by Tom Cameron, and snake bites are also being reported in the region.

Resident spider enthusiast, Mr Cameron said he found the large female white-tail spider in the shed of his O’Brien Street home on Tuesday night.

It is one of the largest he’s seen of the species, measuring 26 millimetres from tip to fangs. The average size of a female white tail spider is 20mm.

“They are starting to come out now to escape the heat,” he said.

“They’ll hide in the linen, towels or bed sheets. They don’t normally build webs but to get them out of your house, their main diet is other house spiders.

"So cleaning old cobwebs from your house will help, and regular fumigation specific to white tails,” he told the Tribune.

He said this species was known to eat other spiders 10 times larger than themselves.

He wanted to warn Yass residents who may get bitten by a spider to be cautious when handling them on the way to seek medical treatment.

"Don't get bitten again trying to identify the spider."

While it was handy to catch and take the spider with you for identification purposes, it was not worth putting yourself at risk again.

For white tails, he said treatment required washing the bite site with cold soapy water.

"Not warm [water]. Anything where venom is injected into the body needs a cold press because a hot press will help the blood flow and make it worse," he said.

Then use antiseptic and seek medical attention.

Mr Cameron's love of the hairy crawlers developed from his determination to conquer arachnophobia several years ago. He now keeps several spiders in captivity as a hobby.

This spider was destined for the CSIRO, where Mr Cameron said it would be studied for research purposes. 

 Be on the look-out for snakes

People should keep an eye on their pets and kids during summer as well, as they are often guilty of getting too close to snakes.

“The snake is almost always just passing through,” snake enthusiast Jeff Van Leeuwin said.

“Dogs are usually the worst, and to a lesser extent young kids. They are curious and if they get too close the snake can get protective and strike.”

Mr Van Leeuwin has been a volunteer with Wildcare in recent times but has had to dial back his involvement. However he is adamant the message is the same as it is every year.

“Leave them alone, they’re not looking to bite or hurt anyone, just leave them be and they will move on.

“Just make sure your house is free of clutter, crumbs and anything that can attract mice, because they attract the snakes.”

Mr Van Leeuwin says to treat the bite just apply a pressure bandage, remain still and contact the hospital. While bites can be deadly, he said more often than not if they are treated properly a victim will be fine.

The brown snake is considered the most dangerous around this region.

This larger-than-normal white-tail spider was an unusual visitor to the Tribune office this week.

This larger-than-normal white-tail spider was an unusual visitor to the Tribune office this week.


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