A giant funnel web spider - dubbed 'The Rock' - has been discovered in Newcastle.
The massive arachnid was handed in to the Australian Reptile Park on Monday, where keepers named it after Jumanji actor and ex-wrestler Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson because of its "masculine and gigantic" form.
The reptile park on the NSW Central Coast is the only facility in Australia that milks funnel web spiders for their raw venom to be made into lifesaving antivenom.
Keepers say the whopping spider - which was handed in from the John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle - is the biggest one they've seen this season. The Rock will now become part of the milking program and help save lives.
"Our spider team is very excited to have this large, male funnel web spider. He is absolutely massive and way bigger than any other males funnel webs we have here at the Reptile Park. He has to be the biggest I've ever seen," said the park's head of reptiles Daniel Rumsey.
Now keepers are keen to find out the suburb it came from with hopes of finding more of the large spiders as they produce larger amounts of venom for the antivenom program.
Recent rainy weather followed by intense heat has provided the perfect conditions for funnel web spiders to thrive.
InJanuary, the Australian Reptile Park sent out an urgent warning asking members of the public to brush up on the correct first aid should a bite occur and encouraged members of the public to safely catch the spiders for their antivenom program.
Australian Reptile Park director, Liz Gabriel, said of the hand-in: "Having Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson as part of the venom program is so amazing because he will save a lot of lives with the venom he will produce.
"He is unusually large and more spiders like him will only result in more lives being saved due to the huge amount of venom they can produce."
She said people can bring any collected spiders to the Reptile Park itself or drop-off zones around Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle.
"All facilities are provided with a spider safety kit to house the spiders until the Australian Reptile Park staff can come and pick them up each week," she said.
The Australian Reptile Park relies on public donations of funnel web spiders to keep venom supplies ongoing. The funnel web spiders are milked weekly for their raw venom that is sent off to a lab in Melbourne to be made into lifesaving antivenom.
The Australian Reptile Park website features a safety and capture video online taking viewers through a step by step process in collection and delivery of a funnel web spider.
John Hunter Hospital is one of the drop off points.
See Spider First Aid and Drop off Zones online at www.reptilepark.com.au