A spider expert from Drusillas Park in Alfriston has come forward to defend the false widow spider following reports of increased numbers of the critters in the South East.
The zoo said Angela Hale knows almost all there is to know about arachnids and in addition to her work at Drusillas she is also the secretary of the British Tarantula Society.
She has spent more than 30 years studying and identifying spiders and keeps a collection of more than 150 spiders in her spare bedroom in her home.
Angela said: “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.
“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.
She said: “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.”