False widow spider 'rise in UK'

The number of reported sightings and bites from false black widow spiders has risen significantly in the UK, according to reports citing the Natural History Museum.

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Boy gets 'red raw' wound from false widow spider bite

A schoolboy who was bitten by Britain's 'most poisonous spider' has said the creature's venom left him with a "red raw" wound and a "burning sensation" in his arm, according to Sky News.

A spider believed to be a False Black Widow Credit: News Team International

False widow spiders have been in the UK since the 1870s but have "rapidly spread" throughout the south of England in recent years.

William Fraser was bitten by the flesh-eating false widow spider as he slept at his home in Sutton, south London.

"My arm was swollen. It was hot and I felt faint. My forearm was red raw and I could feel this burning sensation before a blister appeared."

Read: False widow spiders and what to do when they bite

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Postman refuses to deliver letter over 'massive' spider

A postman refused to deliver a letter to a south London home after spotting a "massive" spider on the path to the front door, the Daily Mail has reported.

The 42-year-old postman said the spider was the same size as a 10p coin, and wrote a message on Stuart Robertson-Reed's letter refusing to enter. He said he had left it be to avoid breaking the web.

A common garden orb spider Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The note read: "No access - massive spider web in front gate". Mr Robertson-Reed said: "'I couldn't believe it. He was either spider-friendly and didn't want to break the web or a terrified arachnophobe."

Royal Mail apologised for any inconvenience today, adding that "alternative arrangements should have been made".

Greg Hitchcock of Kent Wildlife Trust confirmed that this arachnid is a common garden spider - and not one of thousands of poisonous spiders currently plaguing Britain.

Read: False widow spider 'eats leg'

Fears over rise in sightings of false widow spiders

One of the few spiders capable of biting humans, the false black widow, is "becoming more common and more widespread," according to an expert at the Natural History Museum.

A spider believed to be a False Black Widow
A spider believed to be a False Black Widow Credit: News Team International

John Tweddle of the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity said that "populations have rapidly spread" and they are now found in many parts of southern England.

He said the spread of the species - which is related to the infamous black widow but is far less venomous - is at least partly a response to a changing climate.

One builder from Essex, who reportedly disturbed a nest of false widows at a school, had to have his leg sliced open and the venom flushed out, the Daily Mail reports.

The Devon-based footballer Steve Harris also had to have an emergency operation to remove the poison after he was reportedly bitten on his side.

Read: Mother finds flesh-eating spider in bed