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‘Killer’ spider not lethal
1:40pm Thursday 31st October 2013 in News
A SPIDER expert says scare stories about a “killer” arachnid which have been making national headlines should be taken with a pinch of salt and that people have little to fear.
The emergence of the false widow spider in various parts of the UK, including Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, has attracted a lot of media attention.
However, Gloucestershire’s county spider recorder David Haigh has moved to calm people’s fears about what the spider, which takes its name due to its resemblance to the far more deadly black widow, is capable of.
Mr Haigh said: “This spider was first reported in the UK from near Torquay in 1879.
“It had been assumed that this was a chance import with fruit from the Canary Islands.
“In Gloucestershire I received the first record from a shed at Northway, Tewkesbury, in June 2007.
“Since then, records are from Longney in 2008 and now in September and October 2013, two records from Gloucester, one from the housing of an external light and the other photographed on a window sill.
“Although the false widow can pierce the skin and inject venom, reports of ‘killer spiders’ should be taken with a pinch of salt as there are no reported deaths as the result of this spider’s bite.”
Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust posted on its website this week: “False widow spiders are not aggressive or quick moving, and live a quiet existence without straying far from their webs.
“As with bees, the false widow spider will only bite if protecting itself, for example if you put your hand directly through their web or inadvertently sit or lie on one.
“The bite can cause a painful sensation and localised swelling, but there is no lasting damage’.
Earlier this month, a man from Fairfield in Evesham believed he was bitten by a false widow and attended Evesham Hospital for treatment after suffering a bad reaction.
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