Summer is approaching, the weather is warming up, and that means male funnel-web spiders are on the move, eager to find as many mates as possible.
But Jarrad Prangell, reptile supervisor at Helensburgh's Symbio Wildlife Park, said the eight-legged creatures were "nothing to be afraid of".
Mr Prangell said funnel-web spiders, for the most part, did not leave their burrow and only ventured a short distance to hunt.
It was only mature males who roamed further, he said, trying to find as many females as possible to mate with.
"That's why he might find his way into your shoe or laundry basket," Mr Prangell said.
The spiders become more active in summer because bugs and invertebrates get more energy the warmer it is.
Mr Prangell said the next three months would bring increased movement from the male funnel-webs.
He said the spiders liked moist, damp areas so they were more likely to come out when there was a little bit of rain, too.
The Illawarra looks set to have a hotter and drier summer, but this does not mean funnel-web spiders are likely to seek water from homes.
Mr Prangell said the arachnids got all the moisture they needed from the places they took refuge, such as leaf litter and under rocks.
The Illawarra is home to two species of funnel-web spider: the Sydney funnel-web, which is the only species known to be deadly to humans, and the tree-dwelling Illawarra funnel-web.
Mr Prangell said it was the ground-dwelling Sydney funnel-web that people in the Illawarra most commonly encountered.
Those who come across a funnel-web spider and are able to safely relocate them are asked to take them to Symbio Wildlife Park, the southernmost drop-off point for Australian Reptile Park's spider venom project.
The latter park is Australia's sole supplier of funnel-web venom for the production of antivenom, which is administered to people who are bitten by the spider.
Since the program's inception in 1981, there have been no deaths from funnel-web bites.
"It absolutely saves lives," Mr Prangell said.
Tips from Australian Reptile Park keeper Jack Meney:
Australian Reptile Park says the following safety rules apply to all spiders, including funnel-webs:
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