False Widow

Is it just me or does this look suspiciously like one of those false widow spiders that seem to be dominating the news lately?  It was only recently that I was rolling my eyes at the panic surrounding what are reportedly non-aggressive, venomous-but-not-life-threatening spiders.    Blamed for everything from near-amputations to a school closure, I couldn't help but think that this was just a lot of excitement and fuss about nothing.  I mean, surely you're more likely to get stung by a bee than a false widow spider and even then don't you have to have some kind of adverse reaction to it to cause you any real harm? Have you seen the spiders in Australia?

But on a recent trip away to Norwich (I know, so very glamorous!), I'd just put my children to bed and was walking down the stairs, ready to have a large glass of wine and put X-factor on the telly, when this little critter fell off my top and onto the floor in front of me. Now I didn't panic or really feel much of anything at all, as the tiny thing just scuttled into a corner and cowered, but I recognised it instantly.  And suddenly, as I thought of my sleeping children upstairs, all the images I'd seen in the media came flashing into my head of infected bites and swollen limbs, and as I looked long and hard and what was quite frankly a pretty pathetic and terrified looking spider, I decided that it was necessary to dispose of it. Although not feeling very proud of myself, we all slept a lot better that night and I’ll try not to scoff too much when I see the next scaremongering media report about them.


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