1. ITV Report

False widow spider-bite victim 'thought it was a snake'

Lyn Price says she thought a snake had bitten her but in fact it was a false widow spider. Credit: ITV News

A woman from East Devon has described the excruciating pain of being bitten by a false widow spider that was hiding in her shoe.

Lyn Price was unable to walk for more than a day after she was bitten while walking home in the village of Lympstone.

She said it was a truly frightening experience and although she was always scared of spiders she is now more wary than ever before.

The spider had been hiding in undergrowth in Lympston in East Devon. Credit: ITV News

The bite happened after Lyn stepped off the train on her way home from work last week.

She felt a tickle on her ankle and then what she describes as an almighty pain. She had been walking along a tree-lined path before turning a corner onto another lane.

Initially Lyn says she thought she had been bitten by a snake:

There was this almighty stabbing pain straight through my foot. It felt like it had gone through the other side.

I instantly thought it was a snake. I collapsed on the floor because the pain was so intense. I was screaming and crying uncontrollably."

– Lyn Price, spider-bite victim

After feeling the bite she called NHS 111 and the operator recognised the symptoms were associated with a false widow bite.

The operator told Lyn the pain would subside even though pain-killers did not help.

Since the bite she hasn't been able to put the same pair of shoes on again - even though they are new.

Lyn says she will be on the look-out for spiders everywhere from now on.

The False Widow spider - the species which bit Lyn. Credit: PA Images


The first recorded sighting of a False Widow in the South West was in Torquay in 1879.

They are actually common in Britain and experts say climate change is helping them to thrive in the Westcountry and across Britain.

Their name comes from their resemblance to the deadly Black Widow - one of the most dangerous spiders in the world. Their venom is significantly stronger than the False Widow.

Widow spiders get their name from the female's habit of eating the male after mating.

The False Widow is noticeable for its distinctive white markings. Credit: British Arachnological Society