Don't panic! Poisonous false widows in Bury are nothing to worry about, says spider expert (From Prestwich and Whitefield Guide)
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Don't panic! Poisonous false widows in Bury are nothing to worry about, says spider expert
10:04am Friday 25th October 2013 in News
WILDLIFE expert Crocodile Joe is urging readers not to panic after a false widow spider was found in Bury — because he believes it was probably just a garden spider.
The conservationist said a real false widow — so called because it looks like the notorious black widow spider — is black, shiny and has little red markings on the abdomen.
He has also released his own photo of a false widow spider, which he recently removed from a supermarket, after being called out to a number of mis-identifications.
However, Crocodile Joe, who got his name by the Aborigines while working with crocodiles in Australia, says if anyone thinks they have found one, his advice would be: “don’t mess with any wildlife — take a step back and admire it”.
The spider has hit the headlines after a number of sightings in the south of the country — one school even shut after an infestation of them was found.
Talking of the spider found at the home of Doreen and Gordon Airton, Joe, real name Joe McQuade, said: “In my opinion it is not a false black widow spider.
“I’m receiving high amounts of mis-identifications, people sending photos asking ‘is this one of those spiders’ — but fortunately so far they have all been garden spiders.”
Joe, who runs a reptile sanctuary in Atherton, recently rescued a false widow from a super-market, and says they have a very distinctive pattern.
He said: “They have fairly long legs and can often be confused with a black widow spider, they also have a very strong web and can spin huge amounts in a very short time.”
Joe said although a bite from one is unlikely to cause much harm, it could potentially prove fatal those who are highly allergic and do not get it treated.
He said: “Remember some spiders can bite and the false widow is one of 12 of the 650 spices in the UK that can.
“When I lived in Australia I had lots of venomous redback spiders on my balcony and in the garden, but if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you.
“People are rarely bitten unless they provoke a spider.”