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Venomous false widow spiders sighted in York and North Yorkshire
SIGHTINGS of the false widow spider, Britain’s “most venomous spider”, have been reported in the York and North Yorkshire area.
There has been a national increase of reported sightings of the venomous spider but experts have reassured people the spider rarely bites and usually only if provoked.
A York father said he found several of the creatures in his garden, one on the handlebars of his daughter’s scooter.
Gary Short, 27, of Layerthorpe, said: “We have got four children and we brought them in straight away. I caught the first on my child’s scooter on the handlebar. When I looked around there was another. We don’t have a clue what to do. We daren’t let the kids outside.”
He said he had contacted pest control experts but they had said there was nothing they could do.
Stuart Mortimer, of Kexby, said he found an “infestation” of spiders near his home.
He said: “In our garden we have a large 40ft container where we keep various things. I was in there the other day and noticed an unusual spider, I looked it up on the net and discovered it was a false widow spider. Since then I have discovered we have quite an infestation of them.”
The false window spider, which is about the size of a 50p piece, was until recently found in the south-west after being accidentally imported into the country in fruit from the Canary and Madeira Islands 100 years ago.
Conservationists believe that changes in the climate could be encouraging the spider to make itself at home in new areas and the Natural History Museum said there was evidence the species is spreading north.
The false widow spider has a striking bulbous abdomen, but it is brownish in colour rather than pitch black, usually with distinctive cream markings and reddish-orangey legs.
The Natural History Museum said: “Reports from those bitten describe a certain amount of pain, which often radiates along the limb or part of the body where bitten, and often a degree of swelling in the affected part. Some describe fever and a general feeling of being unwell. These symptoms may last for a couple of days, but the total effect is unlikely to be more serious than that.
“More serious symptoms have occasionally been reported, but are likely to be the exceptional reaction of individuals to the venom. It is always advisable to seek medical attention if symptoms persist.”
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