Scout Backpack Warning! Funnel Web Spider Inside?

Putrid stench and enough dirt to start a veggie patch…that’s what you expect in your scout’s pack when they return from camp. Of course, you hope ALL their gear’s returned but are philosophical. It usually only takes a trip to the Scout Hall to find the rest.

However, I am fast becoming prepared for the unexpected.

That is, if you can ever be prepared for a deadly Funnel Web Spider catapulting out of a backpack and into your path.

Well, that’s only a possibility. However, after getting Mister home safe and sound, we received an official Funnel Web Spider warning from Assistant District Commissioner. It seems that the deadly venomous spider has been making its own exodus out of the camp grounds in search of electricity and a comfy bed. Uninvited guests, they’ve been found by two hapless local families while unpacking their scout’s bags.



This is FACT and not the usual Australian hyperbole about our dangerous and deadly wildlife. Well, we’re not exactly exaggerating ALL of their deadly powers but you could say that myth and fact can become a little blurred.

While it seems most other families had well and truly unpacked by the time the warning was issued, of course, we were trailing far behind. After 12 days away, Mister had a lot of catching up to do… with us, the dogs, checking out his new room and making that all important phone call to his little sister and grandparents. So, somehow, the bag was still lying on the floor like a corpse this afternoon.

After I mentioned the Funnel Web warning, the bag was promptly moved out of the Scout’s bedroom and dumped beside my feet in the lounge room. Goodness knows why! I hardly look like “Spider Mum”, do I?!!


Moreover, when I last checked my list of responsibilities as  “Scout Mum” there was absolutely NO MENTION of removing venomous Funnel Web spiders from backpacks or even checking the aforementioned backpack for them either.

That’s what Scouts are for. The only trouble is that a bite to a child is much more dangerous than an  adult and you could say that I might have a bit more “added protection” as well.

I’m not scared of spiders but the Sydney Funnel Web isn’t any ordinary spider either. Even the Encyclopaedia Britannica rates the Funnel Web as the deadliest spider in the world. I’ve never seen one outside a sealed specimen jar and I can’t say I’m disappointed either.

So, while the scout is supposed to pack and unpack their bag, I did offer assistance.Not that I expected us to find a Funnel Web. However, a Funnel Web warning is not something to ignore either, especially when No. 1 son has already told me that it’s currently mating season and the males are out searching for true love. Indeed, one of his leaders found two funnel webs before they left. Mister also told me that a scout had been bitten at camp (unconfirmed) and they even had anti-venom on site. So, that along with the two spiders found in packs, advises caution.

All this aside, I don’t know how I became the spider expert.

You probably haven’t heard about the nervous breakdown I had when a bird flew inside the house and became wedged between the window and a shelf. It’s constant flapping totally freaked me out!!! I had to get the neighbour to help. I was an absolute mess!! Mummy and the Bird

Spiders don’t have wings but they do scuttle and those Funnel Webs Spiders are so big and ugly, they look scary. After all, it’s not like they camouflage themselves as fairies to deceive you!

Yet, after our snake encounter at Byron Bay, I’m now an old hand dealing with deadly wildlife:  Snake Bait

My modus operandi is to tip everything out of the bag onto the back deck and make enough noise to scare it off. I don’t know whether spiders have ears or can even hear at all. But, if I was a funnel web, I’d runaway. However, I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I do end up with a Funnel Web at large in the backyard, especially with the kids and two dogs to consider. I really should have a glass ready so I can do a textbook capture if required. However, the concept of getting that close to a Funnel Web is more than I can come to grips with, even though the folk at  The Australian Reptile Park would ultimately take it off my hands. They milk spiders to produce anti-venom. So, you could say that catching this spider would be a good thing, although couldn’t someone else be the hero?

Mister empties out his pack.

I hold my breath. Seriously hold my breath. I have absolutely no idea how the contents of this pack are going to fall.

To be or not be?

Will a funnel web spider

be staring up at me?

Apparently not. Seems they weren’t too keen on his stinky socks either!


We just threw the lot in the washing machine and pressed the magic button. Pretty soon all that stench will emerge as celestial threads!

Meanwhile, our son is adjusting to being home. No longer having to dodge Funnel Webs, he’s found it “weird” having electricity again and somewhere comfortable to sleep. Of course, that hasn’t stopped him from lying in bed playing on his iPad.

Happy at camp, happy at home.

So much to be thankful for!

xx Rowena





xx Rowena


19 thoughts on “Scout Backpack Warning! Funnel Web Spider Inside?

  1. Tails Around the Ranch

    Whew…I was tensed up just waiting for the final (and positive, I might add) outcome. Good for you for being brave-not sure I could have handled one of those thing popping out without clinging to the ceiling light! ღ

  2. roweeee Post author

    Monika, imagining you clinging to the ceiling light made me laugh…such compassion! It was just the thought of my husband coming home and the bag still being unpacked that spurred me on. Surely, we could’ve done SOMETHING while he’s been at work all day?!!!

  3. roweeee Post author

    I don’t mind most spiders but Funnel Webs are a different story. After investigating deadly spiders, I’m also going to show Red Back Spiders a lot more respect. We get them in our backyard but they usually hide under things and we’re careful.
    While our son was cautious around the funnel webs, he has always loved spiders and goes and handles the think like he’s Steve Irwin. Indeed, responding to your comment reminded me of when my son was 5 and invited a girl from his class over on a play date. Her parents owned the local pet shop and perhaps he confused a love of fluffy animals with spiders. However, there he is showing this little girl a huge huntsman. Not unsurprisingly, she didn’t like spiders. Despite giving her nail polish for Christmas, things went rapidly downhill from there. She ended up playing Barbies with his little sister and he had a huge meltdown and I was lucky to pull the whole thing back together to drive the girl home. It’s hilarious now but I felt so sorry for him at the time. He meant well.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Karen. I reminded myself recently that I also need to give thanks for what doesn’t happen as well as what does.
    Hope you have a great weekend as well.
    xx Rowena

  5. New Journey

    Just read up on that spider….I wouldn’t of let my kid go to camp…LOL I think every living critter in your country is lethal. I hate spiders and then being lethal on top of it…well I am sure I will have nightmares….oh by the way..Chika sends a tail wag to Bilbo….glad he made it back safe and sound….kat

  6. roweeee Post author

    I didn’t know about the funnel webs until he got back. I don’t know how many there were but of course, my imagination has turned them into a marching army. I grew up in Sydney’s North Shore and heard of people finding them in in their swimming pools but I think Dad only found one after I’d moved out. Geoff was really surprised that I hadn’t seen one because he’s seen them on the footpath in the rain. This is in a built up suburban area albeit fairly leafy.
    Bilbo offer Chika a turn of his ball. Said its great to find a kindred spirit!
    I am feeling so lazy today. Hard to find any motivation at all. The weather has been too hot or wet and freezing all week and I haven’t left the house in days, except to pick up Mister on Thursday night…got a lift up too. Have gone splat on the couch looking a bit like a squashed spider.

  7. merrildsmith

    I’m glad there were no spiders–or other creepy things amidst the stinky socks. 😉
    Several years ago, one of our neighbors got a serious spider bite while she was mulching her garden.

  8. New Journey

    Well lets revamp…I am pretty sure you were busier than mister at camp the entire time he was gone…so is it any wonder why you have no energy….take a nap….you worked hard…cleaning out a kids room and painting it and then putting it all back together again is a monstrous task….you did great….Chika says make it a Frisbee and she’s in!!! LOL glad no spiders found….Nasty little things….kat

  9. roweeee Post author

    It’s interesting how these dogs have their “thing”. We just saw a dog walking along carrying a stick in its mouth. It look so cute but at the same time I could help think “addict”.
    I bought a frisbee the other day and I wanted to see if either of the dogs would chase it. Geoff noticed that on the warning sticker it said: “this is not a toy”. We were just wondering what it is then. Have you ever seen that on a frisbee before? With USA being the home of the frisbee, I thought you might know.
    How was your weekend? WE’ve had a quiet one and went out with friends this afternoon at the park. Had better get my coffee post up before dinner and it’s almost 6.00PM. Catch you later xx Ro

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  11. New Journey

    Oh yes I think we have some very nasty dog addicts in this world…Chika and her Frisbee is quit pathetic…she used to have to have it leaning against her food bowl before she could even ear…we couldn’t lean it she had to have it just so….then on the other end…they do live in a pretty small world so why not let them have there neurotic side..LOL she only will only use a Frisbee that has a plastic bone on the top, its all one piece of plastic and molded into the Frisbee….they have quit making them so we are watching the last one very carefully, guarding her from chewing it up….when we were traveling around the US, I forgot her Frisbee in Nebraska…didn’t discover it for about 800 miles,,,,she was so forlorn… I called ahead and found another one had to drive 400 miles out of our way to get it for her, she was so happy to have it….never noticed the sticker, but the ones I buy are dog toys….not the ones people use…I will look next time I am in the store… my weekend is turning out great, movers are due here in the next 3 hours….YAY..went garage sale-ing and found my husband a 5 drawer dresser yesterday so that was a good day….just like brand new and it fit in my little car…whooo hooo..I got the last 2 bags of the holiday specialty popcorn at the grocery store, dark chocolate drizzled over popcorn with sea salt…so glad that it was just a holiday thing…LOL made my day…clothers are in the was and will hang them out soon, it suppose to be a whopping 75′ here today….I know I should be careful what I wish for but I love the heat…..happy Sunday my friend…raising my cup of java to you…!!! xxkat.

  12. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much, Kat. It’s now Wednesday here. We were out all day yesterday in Sydney sailing with my Dad and back for dinner. Kids away for another few days. Just chilling by the air-con today and writing. Too hot! xx Ro

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