The northern funnel web spider is rarely found near populated areas, so its almost as deadly cousin, the Sydney funnel web spider, is classed as the more dangerous of the two. Its venom has neurotoxins that attack the human nervous system, which in severe cases can result in death.
The funnel web spider is one of the three most dangerous spiders in the world and are regarded by some to be the most dangerous.
Funnel web spiders are medium-to-large in size, with body lengths ranging from 1 cm to 5 cm (0.4" to 2"). They are darkly coloured, ranging from black to blue-black to plum to brown, with a glossy, hairless carapace covering the front part of the body.
There have been 27 recorded deaths in Australia in the last 100 years from spider bites. Bites from Sydney funnel-web spiders have caused 13 deaths (seven in children),although since the introduction of antivenoms there have been no deaths from funnel web spider bites.
The Funnel web spider makes its burrows in moist, cool, sheltered habitats—under rocks, in and under rotting logs, some in rough-barked trees (occasionally metres above ground).
They are commonly found in suburban rockeries and shrubberies, rarely in lawns or other open terrain. A funnel web spider burrow characteristically has irregular silk trip-lines radiating from the entrance. Unlike some related trapdoor spiders, the funnel web spider do not build lids to their burrows.
Australian Reptile Park is the only place in the world where the Sydney funnel web spider is milked. The venom is then sent off to the Commonwealth Serum Labs to become antivenom. Besides the daily funnel web spider milking show put on by the park, a large window displays feeding and venom extraction in the spider lab.