A mother whose baby was bitten by a noble false widow spider tries to raise awareness about the dangers posed by invasive species.
Sarah Jane Dennehy, from County Cork in Ireland, told the BBC her 15-week-old son Charlie was “laying on his mat and all of a sudden he went apocalyptic – he had a real fit of screaming purple”.
Charlie was treated in the accident and emergency department of his local hospital, but the effects of the venom took 11 hours to wear off. “I want people to know there are poisonous spiders in Ireland and the UK,” she told the BBC. “These false widow spiders are decimating the native spider population.”
Warning of the dangers of false widow spiders, Dr John Dunbar, from the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), told Sky News: “The tiniest amounts of venom – around 1,000ths of a raindrop – can cause medically significant symptoms in humans. which are about 250,000 times larger than them.
That said, it is quite rare to come across a biting spider in the UK. While around 650 species of spiders are found in Britain, only 12 of them are said to have bitten humans. Of these, only “two or three are known to give a significant or unpleasant bite,” the National History Museum said.
Although the risk of getting a dangerous spider bite remains low in the UK, the noble false widow spider is believed to have bred “in huge numbers across Britain” this summer thanks to “scorching” temperatures, a said The Mirror.
Here’s what you need to know about these poisonous creatures and Britain’s other most poisonous spiders.
False widow spiders
The three most common types of false widow are the hutch spider, the closet spider – named after its preferred habitat – and the noble false widow.
The largest and most commonly reported is the noble false widow, said the Natural History Museum, and it was first recorded in the UK in the 1870s. “It has only been since the 1980s that the species has established itself strongly,” the museum added, “forming established populations in the majority of southern counties – although it has now spread northward.”
A recent study by a team of NUIG researchers concluded that the bite of a noble false widow spider is “up to 230 times more venomous than native Irish spiders” – and the creatures are thought to be the type of spider. the most venomous in the UK. .
A bite from a false widow spider can cause pain, swelling, numbness, discomfort, burning, chest pain, and nausea. However, The Mirror said, although they have a venomous bite, the poison is not particularly potent as “symptoms should only last between one and 12 hours, and rarely more than 24 hours”.
Walnut weaver spiders
Walnut weaver spiders are the second most venomous of their species in the UK. These creatures hide during the day in nooks and crannies or under bark, the Nature Spot website said.
The pain from their bites has been described as “like an electric shock” and can cause burning, swelling and numbness.
The venom of the disturbingly named wasp spider often travels to the victim’s groin. It is therefore fortunate that this type of spider is relatively rare in the UK.
The female wasp spider has “yellow, black and white stripes, just like a common wasp,” The Wildlife Trusts said. The male is smaller and light brown.
black lace spiders
Unless three days of swelling and nausea are your thing, it’s best to avoid getting bitten by a black weaver. Mainly found under rocks and logs in gardens, these creatures can grow up to 15mm in length, the UK’s Safari website says.
They are “known to bite people in surprise attacks, their venom causing a dull ache that lasts around 12 hours,” The Sun added. “It will also cause swelling and redness, eventually giving way to blisters.”
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