False widow spider will only bite ‘if threatened or provoked’

Don't panic ... the false widow
Don't panic ... the false widow

The spider expert at Drusillas Park is advising people not to panic about recent sightings of false widow spiders across the UK.

Angela Hale knows all there is to know about these eight-legged invaders, known as Tarangela at the Alfriston zoo.

She said: “The false widow spiders originate from mainland Europe but are no more dangerous than the garden spider. The bite of a false widow is no worse than a bee or wasp sting and they will only bite if they feel threatened or are provoked.”

Angela spends a great deal of time trying to re-educate people about these mini-monsters and she and her husband, fellow arachnophile Ray, will host ‘Spider Saturday’ at Drusillas on Saturday, October 13, in an attempt to offer an insight into these creatures we love to hate.

They also run a popular Spider Phobia Course each year at the Park where children and adults with serious phobias learn to love spiders.

Angela said: “We have had a 100 per cent success rate on our phobia course, using our patience and expertise to educate people. We have had participants safely and happily holding tarantulas and false widow spiders with no problems at all.”

She continued: “There is no good reason to be afraid of spiders. Our native spiders pose no threat to us. They are essential to our ecosystem; they are our friends, not our enemies so we need to find a way to learn to live alongside them.”

“Spider Saturday is an informative day when anyone visiting the Park can come and meet a few spiders, including false widows, and learn a little about why they are so important to us all. Come along and be amazed!”

Located just off the A27 in Alfriston, Drusillas Park is open from 10am daily. For more information telephone 01323 874100 or visit the website at www.drusillas.co.uk