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False Widow Spider alert shuts a school down…do they pose a risk?

Sightings of Steatoda nobilis the false widow spider are on the rise. Should we be concerned….not really! Experts say they are not usually aggressive towards humans and being bitten is rare. They are spreading further throughout the UK and already well established in the South of the country.

They arrived in the South West in c1879 travelling to us in shipped fruit from the Canary Islands. Of the UK’s 650 species of spider only about a dozen are capable of biting humans including the false widow spider. It is our most venomous spider but there have been no reported deaths from it’s bite. It has distinctive cream markings on its bulbous body and is brown with reddish-orangey legs. It likes warm dark places and will eat other spiders, insects and invertebrates. Its distribution is likely to increase in response to a changing climate.

If bitten the effects from the spiders neurotoxin (present in a false widow’s venom) will be similar to being stung by a wasp. They are unlikely to be any worse than this. Keep your eyes open and do not panic if you find that one has set up home nearby. It is only a spider!

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