Photo: CSIRO

This Australian App Instantly Identifies Species of Snakes and Spiders

Wildlife Technology + Gear News
by Eben Diskin Aug 7, 2020

Usually, when you’re on a hike and a massive spider drops down in front of you, the first impulse is to draw back and wave your arms frantically in fear. More hardened explorers, however, may stay perfectly relaxed, while calmly taking out their phone and researching the spider. If you have the presence of mind to stop and Google any creatures in front of you, you’ll probably be excited about this new app called Critterpedia. The AI-driven app allows you to take a photo of snakes and spiders and immediately learn more about the species.

The app was developed by an Australia-based duo Murray and Nic Scarce, in collaboration with CSIRO, to help people better understand and identify the many species of snakes and spiders that exist in the country.

Australia is well-known for being home to more venomous snakes than any other country in the world and for being inhabited by some of the most venomous spiders out there, but not all its creatures are dangerous.

Murray told 7News, “We realise that many people don’t understand some of our beautiful wildlife and so react with fear. But it comes down to education as well.”

Her partner Nic added, “The creatures aren’t the problem, we are the problem. We need to change mindsets to safeguard the animals and our environment.”

So far, Australian experts have contributed over 200,000 images to the app’s database. As more users add photos, the app will be able to more accurately identify species.

The app’s ultimate goal is to include as many species as possible, and incorporate location details, safety information, and first-aid advice.

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