9th March 2012
False widow spider numbers set to rise
The UK isn't renowned for its venomous spiders like America and Australia but this isn't to say they don't exist. The most venomous spider in the UK is the false widow, named due to its resemblance to the world's most dangerous spider the black widow.
Stuart Hind, insect specialist of the Natural History Museum told the BBC how the false widow has existed in the UK for 100 years after migrating from the Canary Islands. Its presence has increased over the last 25 years as climate change affects have really began to be noticed.
The growth of this species in the UK has recently come to light after a shocking case of a man in Southampton being bitten 10 times whilst out shopping in a local toy store with is daughter. He was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered ten 50 pence sized red welts on his back and neck which they treated and after no further reaction the man was released the same day.
An attack by one of these spiders is quite rare and it will only occur when the false widow is antagonised and in this extreme case it was caused by being caught in clothing.
Stuart Hind went onto say that false widows tend to dwell in locations around any clutter that can be a good basis for building webs and urged people to be careful when cleaning out behind furniture that hasn't been moved in some time. He added "they originate from a much warmer climate and as such they're very common in south facing conservatories that see a lot of sunlight".
This all comes as another example of the increased presence of insects across the UK and whilst they may not pose a threat like their predecessors, it comes as bad news for arachnophobes and people uncomfortable around spiders.
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