Scilly’s Wildlife Trust Says Don’t Be Scared Of False Widow Spiders

A false widow spider

A false widow spider

Scilly’s Wildlife Trust says people shouldn’t be concerned about false widow spiders following growing media hysteria over possible toxic bites.

Julie Love says they’re not a new species and have been in the UK for almost a hundred years.

The first ones arrived in Torquay in a case of bananas from the Canary Islands.

Julie says they probably came to Scilly shortly after and there are regular sightings here, particularly in the Ram’s Valley and Rose Hill areas of St Mary’s.

The arachnids are about the size of a pea with a distinctive skull-like black marking on their back.

Julie says they’re very slow moving and don’t tend to come into houses.

From Radio Scilly

Julie Love from the Wildlife Trust describes the False Widow spider

And while she says it’s true that they’re one of the few spiders that will bite, it’s actually  very rare.

The Natural History Museum recorded only ten last year and Julie says they’re more like a bee sting.

Recent newspaper reports have suggested spiders jumping at people in an aggressive manner and gangrene-like infections from the bites.

But the website of the conservation charity Buglife says they’re very sluggish and infections are more likely to be due to scratching the wound with dirty fingers.

Julie says the spiders are very beautiful and people shouldn’t be concerned about them if they see them.

For more information, you should check out the Buglife website.

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