Impulse Gamer Katrina... How did you become involved in the
Amazing Spider-man release?
was approached by the PR team working for The Amazing
Spider-Man release in Australia and because of my
veterinarian background. Also, the fact that weíre coming into
summer and that Spider-Man was bitten by a spider led him
to getting superpowers but this is not what happens in real
life. We wanted to send the message to people that spiders are
out and about now and you have to be aware of them to keep safe.
What was your
favourite part of the movie?
My favourite part of the film is when Peter Parker begins to
morph into Spider-Man due to the spider bite. Seeing him morph
into Spider-Man is what makes the film.
don't give people superpowers, what are Australia's most
The two most dangerous and famous spiders are the funnel web
spider and the Red Back. The white tail spider comes in after
these but there is a lot of controversy about this spider. The
funnel web has been responsible for 13 deaths but since the
anti-venom was brought out in the 80ís, there have been no
Is it true that
daddy Long-legs spiders (aka Pholcidae) are one of the most
venomous spiders in Australia?
It is a bit of a myth that daddy
long legs are venomous, they have such a small amount of venom
that it wouldn't really hurt a human. In fact their fangs are
so small that they can't even get through the epidermis.
Daddy long legs are actually
good to keep around the house as they have been known to eat the
more dangerous Red Back spider.
Interestingly enough spider venom effects different creatures differently. The funnel
web spider affects humans, primates and insects. It doesnít have
the same effect on other animals which is really interesting.
Different venoms react differently with different species.
In your Tips &
Facts for Spider Dangers, you've mentioned what humans should do
if bitten... what about dogs?
Generally, spider venom is not as serious for dogs and cats but
it can effect them and should still be taken seriously. The
problem is when a dog or cat is bitten around the mouth or
throat area, it can cause serious swelling, whether from a
spider or bee.
The best thing to do is prevention such as clearing out rubbish
from under your deck to prevent red backs and to be really
conscience that spiders may live in these areas. In relation to
pets, if you can get a picture of the spider on your iPhone that
may have bitten your pet, it helps the vet identify the cause.
Red backs seem to cause more problems for pets than funnel webs
as they like to live in similar environments such as humans.
What are some of
your tips to keep Spiders out of the house?
If you have a lot of spiders that come into the house, you can
use those door blockers if lots of spiders come under the doors.
Keeping all your awnings and back decks clean and clear of
spiders and getting rid of rubbish like timber where red backs
like live also helps. You should be aware that funnel webs love
moisture and like living under logs and rocks in backyards. The
male funnel web which are more venomous than females and when
they are looking for a mate can be a problem. Since they donít
like daylight because they dry out, they are more likely to
climb into your shoes to stay out of the light. So if you leave
your shoes outside, make sure you check them in the mornings.
How do spiders stay
alive in swimming pools for so long?
They can stay alive for up to 30 hours in a swimming pool and
they trap air with them. Eventually they will die but they canít
swim or jump once in the water. Interestingly enough funnel webs
canít jump. It's only just a rumour but some people have said
they can jump quite far.I would hate to see them jump if they
Where are funnel
webs located in Australia?
They are Australia wide and there are 40 species of funnel webs
that are found in all states but Western Australia. A couple of
states also have funnel webs that live in trees.
Are funnel webs
that are found in Victoria or South Australia also venomous?
As far as I know, they are all venomous but the Sydney funnel
web is known for being super deadly.
Off the topic of
spiders, what is your favourite animal and why?
For me, I canít go past a dog as my favourite animal just
because they make great companions. It would also be a border
collie because I had my border collie for 14 years and he was
human-like in his thought process and was the most amazing
companion. "Besides, theyíre always happy to see you and never
talk back <laughs Katrina>. Thereís never a bad day with a dog
and they always make you smile.
How is Riley,
the Golden Retriever you rescued and adopted doing now?
Heís sleeping right beside me now and heís amazing. His spirit
to love and trust humans again after being treated so badly is
outstanding. Heís a beautiful dog and Iím very glad I found
another beautiful dog. He is also a very different experience as
a rescue, whereas I raised Toby from a puppy who I also worked
and travelled with. They are both beautiful and I canít imagine
life without a dog.
Were there any
issues with your cat Mr Fox and Riley meeting for the first
Because I had the cat first, I thought he would not like Riley
initially but within an hour, he was following the dog around
everywhere. Heís the most amazing cat and he's a Maine Coot.
Theyíre really big and hairy. Heís a high personality cat so no
issues at all, theyíre great mates.
that some dogs seem to dislike certain people, what do you think
Itís often an experience that they had as a puppy such as not
being socialised to that kind of person who looks in that
manner, walks in that manner or smells in that manner. So, the
more you can socialise when their up to six months of age, the
better. The idea is for your dog to come into contact with as
many different people as possible.
What about dogs
that chase birds? We have a naughty 3-year old heeler cross
called Ruby who love barking at anything that gets in her air
Unfortunately it becomes a habit, the bird flies in, the dog
barks, chases it and the bird flies away. Then the dog goes,
this was really fun and it worked. It can become really
difficult to address with older dogs but the idea is to nip it
in the bud when they're puppies. For example, I was in
Centennial Park once and Toby was 5 months old and he saw birds
and chased them. It was terrifying as he ran across roads but
for the next 2 weeks, I sat in Centennial Park with treats and
every time the birds went past, I made him watch me and every
time he ignored the birds, he was rewarded. Thatís the kind of
thing you need to do. You need to sit there, birds come and
reward her for watching you but the reality is, your not home
during the day which makes it hard to control.
We loved your
book Wonderdogs with Kelly Gill, do you have any more books
did a cat one many years ago, including a pet name one but that
is the main one at the moment.
As a vet, what
was your biggest challenge?
Euthanasia without a doubt. When itís time to end someoneís pets
life. Itís the most heart-wrenching thing that you could do and
itís the reason I didnít stay working in a Veterinary Practice
because I couldnít handle it. The first three cases when I
graduated from uni in a row were Euthanasia's and it was heart
breaking. Thatís the hardest part of it and I understand how
much those pets were part of someoneís life.
Was that one of the reasons why you
started a memorable websites for pets (www.ourwonderfulpets.com)?
Totally! When Toby passed away, I had an outpouring of support
from the Australian community which lead me to starting up my
facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/drkatrinawarren).
The more I researched it, there was very little pet support
sites or references for vets to send people who have lost pets.
There was nowhere for them to say, this thing is going to happen
to you or where very sorry about your pet, hereís some helpÖ
there was nothing. So I ended up setting up
Our Wonderful Pets
which is a very sad topic but itís very nice to be able to help
people who have lost a pet and have some comfort.
When a person passes away, people gather around and they
understand thereís grief which leads to a funeral and a purpose.
Itís a sense of closure. But when your pet dies, you donít get
that. Then you get some people who understand but others saying
have you replaced Toby yet? I still get that today. Iím like, I
canít replace him, Iíll never replace him and some people donít
understand. Itís a lonely journey when a pet dies, especially
for people who live on their own. That pet is there family which
can be devastating for them. And then we get more pets and go
through it all again!
It is a great
resource though.... Besides your radio show, websites and books,
what other things are you up to?
just seem to be super busy and I do a lot of work with the
Wonderdogs with public appearances and events. We talk about
pets and educating families. And life in general keeps me busy.
Thanks for your
time Katrina and enjoy The Amazing Spider-Man again but before
we go... any last words of wisdom for dog lovers?
Just be aware of the commitment of a dog and remember that a dog
can live up to 18 years and when you embark on that journey with
a puppy, itís going to be a long process. There are some people
that get puppies but donít know whatís involved.
Thanks for the interview!
Funnel-Web spiders and
Red Back spiders.
The Funnel-Web and Red
Back spiders are the
most poisonous spiders.
There have been 13
deaths caused by Sydney
Red Back spiders can
cause serious illness
and have caused deaths
in the past.
There is now anti-venom
available for both
spiders, to prevent
death, which can be
given if quicklyrushed
Where are these
spiders most likely found:
Funnel-Web spiders are
found at the bottom of
swimming pools and can
survive under water for
24-30 hours. They are
also found in backyards
and bush land areas.
Red Back spiders are
found around Aussie
homes as we like the
same kind of
environments. They build
their webs on hard
surfaces like rocks,
concrete, bricks and
Number of spider
bites per year:
More than 250 cases of
Red Back spider bites
are reported each year.
30-40 people are bitten
by the Sydney Funnel-Web
spider each year.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUíVE BEEN BITTEN
Most spider bites, including
the Funnel-Web spider will
method of first aid which
involves applying pressure
to the bite to delay the
absorption of the venom.
Red Back Spiders require an
ice pack to be applied to
the bitten area to relieve
pain. Do not apply a
pressure bandage (venom
movement is slow and
pressure worsens pain).
Take a picture of the spider
so it can be easily
identified and quickly rush
to hospital to obtain the
TIPS TO AVOID BEING BITTEN:
Be cautious when gardening
and wear gloves.
Never put your hands where
they cannot be seen.
If boots or shoes are left
outdoors makes sure you
shake them before putting
them on, as spiders
oftenmake dark burrows their
Make sure the bottom of the
swimming pool is clear
before jumping in.
Keeping these spider danger tips
top of mind will ensure that you
and your family can enjoy the
sunshine without any unexpected
surprises. However, if you want
to see how AMAZING some spiders
can be, just in time for
Halloween, grab a copy of
The Amazing Spider-man on
3D, Blu-ray or DVD from 31stOctober