Do not provoke UK’s most venomous spider or this could happen to you

Wales: Man catches False Widow spider after getting bitten

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Joe Hildebrandt examined the spider’s markings and, believing it to be a False Widow, snapped a photo and shared it online where his suspicions were confirmed. Despite having a similar appearance to the Black Widow, the False Widow’s bite is usually no worse than a wasp sting.

However, they are the UK’s most venomous spider and secondary infections are a possibility, reports North Wales Live.

Joe, from Kinmel Bay, north Wales posted: “They don’t scare me but this one did. When I saw it on the floor it spooked me a bit as it has been on my arm – and I know they will only bite when provoked.”

Of the six types of False Widows in the UK, only two are large enough to be able to bite through human skin.

When Joe shared his finding on Facebook, fellow Kinmel resident Dave Morgan recalled the time he was targeted by one of the spiders.

In his case, the effects were dramatic. “My hand swelled up for weeks,” said Dave, an accomplished landscape photographer.

“It was very painful too. The pain eventually turned into a constant itch for about eight weeks and it scarred for almost six months.

“I keep a safe distance from spiders now.”

It could have been worse.

A few years ago a 33-year-old from Rhyl, north Wales, was left with an “oozing hole” in his elbow after being bitten by a False Widow and former Wrexham AFC striker James Gray was rushed to hospital after a spider sunk its fangs into his right arm.

Joe’s post prompted replies from others on the North Wales coast who have also seen False Widows, while others were glad never to have encountered one.

“Omg that’s terrifying!!!,” said one person. “It’s freakin’ huge!”

With a leg span measuring up to 35mm, about the size of a 50p coin, the largest of the six types is the Noble False Widow, which is thought to have arrived from the Canary Islands in banana boxes in the 1870s.

Once more common in the southwest of England, in recent years they have spread north as the climate warms.

Of the other types, four are true natives, including the more common Rabbit Hutch and Cupboard spiders.

Their webs are usually 3-4ft off the ground. Many prefer life indoors, and can be found skulking in kitchens and sheds, trying their best not to be disturbed.

Of the 650-plus species of spider known to live in the UK, only around 12 are known to bite humans.

False Widow bites are rare as they only lash out when threatened – but Joe was not taking any chances.

Having scooped up his False Widow in a container, Joe identified it as a female, which are typically larger than males.

Later, he released her unharmed in woodland where he knew she would not come into contact with people.

“It’s my first encounter with a False Widow and I hope it’s the last time too,” he said. “I don’t like to kill any creatures. They serve a purpose in nature, however harmful they can be to us.”

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