10 things you didn't know about false widow spiders
False widow spiders have shut The Dean Academy, in the Forest of Dean, and Gloucestershire spider expert David Haigh said that it was a good move. He said: "A degree of hysteria could build up among hundreds of children."
But how dangerous are they really?
Here are 10 things you didn't know about false widows...
1. They can be nasty but aren't as dangerous as the black widow.
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2. The false widow was first recorded in Britain during the 1870s after being ccidentally shipped from their native Canary Islands.
3. Female false widows only bite if they feel threatened.
4. Males are more mobile than their female counterparts yet there are no reports of males biting.
5. It is among 670 species of spiders in Britain and only 12 of those are capable of biting a human.
6. There are a number of harmless garden spiders that can be commonly mistaken for being a false widow spider.
7. False widows don't travel or 'spread' over large distances.
8. Their migration north seems to be caused by climate change.
9. False widows have a brown bulbous abdomen with cream coloured markings, often likened to the shape of a skull.
10. Bites from false widow spider are much less common than stings from bees or wasps so don't believe everything you read in the national press about '10 million critters on the march' and 'killer' spiders.