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Sac Full of Deadly Spiders Opened and Milked for Venom

These Australian funnel web spiders were found in a garden and brought to a zoo, where they will help scientists develop life-saving drugs.

Milking This Deadly Spider Can Save Lives

When a Newcastle, Australia, resident discovered a strange sac in their garden, they had no idea it would contain hundreds of the country's most venomous spiders.

The unusual-looking object was promptly taken to the Australian Reptile Park for further investigation. The zoo is on the Central Coast of New South Wales, about an hour from Newcastle and Sydney.

After inspection, it took no time for Kane Christensen, head of spiders at the reptile park, to identify the strange sac as a funnel web egg.

Australia’s most dangerous spider, a funnel web is not only venomous but has a reputation for being aggressive. Each egg contains around 100 spiders.

For the reptile park, the sac was a blessing as the zoo is the only place in Australia that milks funnel webs for their venom, to make anti-venom. (Learn about how sea snail venom may help fight opioid addiction.)

The park relies on the public to provide them with captured funnel web spiders. The new funnel web spiders will be kept in the zoo and will be added in to the park's milking program. (Learn more about the possible medical benefits of venom.)

This article was previously published by National Geographic Australia and has been lightly edited.