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Brighton Visitor – Brighton & Hove, Sussex, UK | February 22, 2018

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Drusillas Spider Expert Fights Back for False Widow

Drusillas Spider Expert Fights Back for False Widow
Brighton Visitor
  • On January 28, 2014

Following a number of recent reports and sightings of the false widow spider in the South East, a spider expert from Drusillas Park has come forward to defend the critters and is attempting to dispel some of the myths surrounding them.

Known as Tarangela amongst her colleagues at Drusillas, Angela Hale knows almost all there is to know about arachnids. In addition to her work at the zoo in East Sussex, she is also the secretary of the British Tarantula Society and has spent over thirty years studying and identifying our native eight legged friends; she even keeps a collection of over 150 spiders at home in her spare bedroom!

Angela commented: “There has been a lot of recent press interest into the presence of false widow spiders in the UK. However, the truth is these spiders are incredibly common in the South of England and have been living happily all around us since 1879.”

“Steatoda nobilis colonised the UK in the 19th century and is known as the false widow due to the close resemblance it shares with the black widow. It is regularly referred to as Britain’s most venomous spider, although no one has ever died of a spider bite in the UK.”

“Although most spiders are venomous they will generally only use their venom to catch their prey; they are unlikely to bite a human except in defence. The bite of a false widow is similar to that of a bee sting and has no long term lasting effects. The risk of having a significant reaction to a false widow bite is extremely low.”

Angela also has some advice on what to do should you discover a false widow spider as an unwanted house guest:

She remarks: “The false widow spends most of its time hidden away in cracks and crevices and is not readily seen, posing no threat to us. If you spot a false widow in your house and you do not wish for it to remain there, please remove it humanely by collecting it up in a container and relocating it to the garden.”

“Spiders are an essential part of the ecosystem and false widows have been a resident in the UK for many years. There is no need to panic; we just need to get used to these creatures being around us.”

Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open from 10am daily. For more information, please telephone 01323 874100 or visit the website at www.drusillas.co.uk