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Scare as false widow spider heads to East Lancashire
TWO families have reported finding the venomous false widow spider in East Lancashire.
Though sightings north of Birmingham have until now been rare, spiders fitting the description have been found in Nelson and Darwen.
In recent weeks the spiders have hit the national headlines after a number of reports of the creatures biting people.
Symptoms can include chest pains, swelling and tingling of fingers but complications usually only occur if someone is allergic to the venom. No-one has died as a result of being bitten.
Nelson mum Annie Carter, 22, said she was left crying after she found a spider with the distinctive markings in a pile of washing.
She had come across the spider twice in one afternoon while looking after her son, nephew and nieces.
Her fiancé Zak finally trapped the eight-legged beast with a glass tumbler and set it free in their back yard.
Miss Carter, a part-time carer, said the incident was ‘nerve-racking’ as she already had a fear of spiders.
She said: “I thought at the time it was just a normal spider but as I hate spiders, I was crying. I just shook it out and didn’t think much more of it.”
When she went for a bath later on, her fiancé found the spider near the washer in the kitchen and trapped it.
But Miss Carter, of Fern Bank, said she didn’t get much sympathy from her daughter Amelia, one, nieces Angel-Mae, three, Paris, four, Lakiesha, six or nephew Leon.
She said: “All the kids were in the other room looking across at me. They were laughing at how hysterical I was getting.
“I’ve been reading about these false widow spiders in the newspapers and once we’d trapped it we realised this one was very similar. We let it out in the garden and hopefully we won’t see it again.”
Darwen man Ashley Kirby trapped and photographed a possible false widow spider in his kitchen.
He said: “I've not heard of them being near here, so I was quite surprised. I think people should be aware that as the weather starts to get colder, they may be coming inside.”
Experts at Blackpool Zoo and Lancashire Wildlife Trust are examining Mr Kirkby’s photograph. False widow spiders are usually about the size of a 50 pence piece, with a bulbous midrift, brown markings and cream coloured belt. Its markings are sometimes compared to a skull.
Originally from the Canary Islands, it has been established in Devon for around 100 years but climate change has caused the population to spread.
If found it is recommended they are not touched with bare hands. If bitten treatment will usually only require antihistamines.
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