A Spider With Mites | Secrets and techniques of the Zoo: Down Underneath

published on July 2, 2020

[music playing]

NARRATOR: Keeper
Paul has a problem

A new addition to his
invertebrate collection,

a female Sydney
funnel-web, is unwell

PAUL: She's got these
little tiny cream

sort of colored spots on her

These are little
mites that we quite

often see with the
wild funnel-webs

that get brought in

NARRATOR: So it's up to vet
Kimberly to give this very

venomous spider a once-over

Hey, Paul

PAUL: Hey, Kimberly

KIMBERLY: As vets, we work with
all of the animals in the zoo,

from the big elephant all the
way down to the invertebrates

So that includes the spiders

That is a big funnel-web

PAUL: She's not a bad size

KIMBERLY: And anytime we
get a new funnel-web spider

or any spider into the zoo,
we examine it before we

add it to our collection

NARRATOR: Extra care is needed
when examining this spider

She has a bite that can kill
a human within 30 minutes

if left untreated

KIMBERLY: I'm not
afraid of spiders

I completely respect them

But he is really
good at handling

these venomous spiders so
they're not going to hurt me

PAUL: As you see, she
got these mites on her,

which we find fairly common
with the wild funnel-webs that

come in

Yeah

She's got a lot of mites on her

More than we typically see

Yeah, a few more than
we normally see, for sure

OK

She's got all of her legs

Can you have her
stand up a little bit?

PAUL: Yeah, try and get
her to– there we go

KIMBERLY: Yeah

She definitely got her
fangs, doesn't she?

PAUL: Yeah

She's actually been quite
relaxed, all things considered

KIMBERLY: [inaudible]
Well, you're

so good at handling them

I'm glad you're here

[laughter]

Well, [inaudible]

I don't put my hands in there

PAUL: No

Why would you?

KIMBERLY: So from a
veterinary perspective,

I'm looking if the
spider looks robust,

in good condition, if
it's got all of its legs

But what's going on
with her abdomen?

PAUL: Well, she got–

looks like a bit
of a blister there

KIMBERLY: She does

It's a bit white
on the left side

We don't know what causes
that in these guys

PAUL: We have a
theory, just over time

It seems to be stress related

KIMBERLY: Oh yeah

So you think you're seeing these
blisters come up from spiders

that are handled too often

Yeah
Yeah

OK

Be good to aspirate her

PAUL: Yeah

KIMBERLY: We can look for
viruses, look for bacteria

PAUL: OK

But for now I'm going to leave
her in your hands to take care

of the mites, and let's keep
her in a quarantine situation

until we're happy with her
– Not a problem

Can do
[inaudible]

All right

Paul has his little task
of brushing off the mites

and making sure that they're
all off of the spider

So we can't really use any
kind of insect control,

because we don't want to kill
the spiders as well

Well, I'll leave you to it

Thanks, Kimberly

Thanks, Paul

No, I'd be happy to do that

But yeah, that's Paul's job

I'm gonna go off and look at
some other animals in the zoo

[music playing]

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