Whilst spiders in the UK are not overly dangerous or aggressive to humans, there are a few that may bite you if they’ve been provoked. Most spiders prefer to live outside, in gardens, sheds or garages, but some may make their way into your home and take up residence.
Out of the 640 indigenous of spiders in Britain only around 12 of these have bites that are strong enough to puncture a human’s skin. Some spider bites can cause irritation, but no UK spider bite is fatal. Below are some of the UK spiders that you may find in your home that you should be careful of if you want to avoid getting nipped.
Noble False Widow Spider
False widow spiders get their name from the fact that they’re often confused with the more dangerous black widow spiders. Black widow spiders are not native to the UK and very rarely found here. Noble false widows are dark brown in colour and around 10mm long with a swollen, globular body. They’re usually found in kitchens or conservatories, with webs high up off the ground.
False widows are the most venomous spider in the UK, and a bite from one can cause pain, swelling, numbness, chest pain and nausea. Often the bite is no worse than a wasp sting, but if you experience more severe symptoms for longer than 24 hours, you should seek advice from a health professional.
Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider
The walnut orb-weaver get its name from the orb-like web it weaves. Males are usually 9mm in length, but females can grow to 14mm. They’re fairly common garden spiders but have been known to find their way inside houses. They are brown or black in colour, with shiny, flattened abdomens.
Walnut orb-weaver spiders are very timid and usually hide themselves away in shaded crevices. They’ll only bite as a last resort in self-defence. Walnut orb-weavers are quite venomous, and its bite can result in a burning pain, inflammation and numbness. Symptoms will usually subside within a few hours.
The cardinal spider is the largest spider in the UK and can grow to a leg span of 12cm. They are reddish brown in colour, with long legs and hairy tibias. They prefer to live in buildings, in dry and sunny areas.
Bites from cardinal spiders are rare, but they have been known to bite when they feel threatened. They are venomous but bites are relatively painless – this particular spider definitely looks scarier than it actually is!
Tube Web Spider
Tube web spiders are usually found in southern England. They can grow to between 15mm and 22mm in body length. Adult tube spiders are black in colour, sometimes with a green iridescent shine. They mostly live outside under stones and logs but can make their way inside through holes in the wall.
Bites from tube web spiders can be quite sharp and painful. The area around the bite can turn red and sore and there will be visible bite marks. It can feel similar to a bee sting, but effects should only last a few hours.
Woodlouse spiders get their name from their diet which mainly consists of woodlice. Their bodies can grow to 9mm to 11mm, with a leg span up to 40mm. They’re orange or dark red in colour, with shiny paler abdomens. They’re usually found close to woodlice, often in decayed wood.
Bites are rare but be careful if you pick up one of these spiders as they are likely to bite when handled. Although the woodlouse spider has large jaws, symptoms usually aren’t severe and the bite shouldn’t be too painful. At the worst you may experience some itchiness around the area.
Lace Web Spider
The lace web spider is named after the intricate web it weaves. They can grow to around 2cm and are brown with yellow markings on the abdomen. They often live in outdoor walls and fences, but you may find them inside during mating season in autumn or if there has been heavy rainfall.
Bites have been reported as being quite painful, but usually just consist of swelling around the bite area. Symptoms shouldn’t last longer than 12 hours.
Cupboard spiders are, unsurprisingly, usually found in cupboards. Their body can grow to 10mm in length. They are usually dark brown in colour and can sometimes have a reddish-brown crescent shaped marking on its abdomen. They’re usually found in the south of England, but their habitat is expanding north.
Cupboard spiders are not aggressive and, like the other spiders on this list, will only bite humans if they feel threatened. Bites from a cupboard spider are often painful and can sometimes leave blisters. Severe symptoms also include a fever, muscle spasms and a general unwell feeling that can last a few days.
The wasp spider is new to the UK and still very rare. It is mainly found in the south of England and is more active between June and September. As the name suggests, it has yellow and black stripes on its abdomen, although some can be creamier in colour. Males are around 4.5mm in size, with females growing up to 15mm.
Bites from a wasp spider can be painful, with the pain spreading to the groin. However, as these spiders are so rare in the UK, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about getting bitten by one.
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