Do not fear South East spider invasion says expert

In the week where schools across London were close due to an infestation of False Widow spiders an arachnid expert at a Sussex zoo park has said there is nothing to fear.

Friday, 5th October 2018, 10:12 am
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 10:14 am
False Widow Spider SUS-180510-085116001
False Widow Spider SUS-180510-085116001

False Widows are native to the South East, about the size of a 50p coin and are the most dangerous spider species in the UK in that their bite has been known to cause painful swelling.

The spider has distinctive cream markings on its bulbous body and is brown with reddish-orangey legs.

It prefers warm, dark, places, including homes and eats insects.

But Drusillas spider expert Angela Hale is advising people not to panic about recent sightings.

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 animals 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% 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.’

Angela commented: “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 10.00am daily. For more information, please telephone 01323 874100 or visit the website at