Deadly Widow Weaves Web Across Britain
2 hours 46 mins ago © Sky News 2009
A deadly spider related to the Black Widow is spreading across Britain because of climate change, experts have warned. Skip related content
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The False Widow, a purple and black creature with a body the size of a 1p piece, is said to carry enough venom to kill a human.
Since arriving in Devon from the Canary Islands, the spider has established colonies in Devon, Dorset and Cornwall.
The spiders do not usually survive in colder parts of the UK, but a series of mild winters have led them to migrate to other areas.
Spider recorder David Haigh, of Cheltenham, has reported sightings of the species in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
One was in a shed in Tewkesbury and the other was spotted in Longney, he said.
The False Widow is one of 12 arachnid species known to bite humans in the UK.
In January, Lyn Mitchell became critically ill after she was bitten by one of the creatures while in bed at her home in Egremont, west Cumbria.
Ms Mitchell, 52, suffered a serious allergic reaction to the bite and was rushed to hospital.
"I jumped out of bed, pulled the duvet and sheets back and saw a spider running over the other side," she said at the time.
"It was only tiny, black and shiny, and it ran so quickly.
"When I looked down I noticed two little pin marks on my chest."
The False Widow first started to arrive in banana shipments from the Spanish islands about 140 years ago.
Its bite is not deadly but can cause swelling and severe pain.
And in Hastings! These are one of the spiders that have created colonies in the Caves...what if they get out? And run up the hill and climb through the window. What then? Bet a bit of hairspray won't stop them in their tracks (my teenage way of saving myself from spiders).
And there are 12 species that bite in this country...I knew it all along, you doubters.