Southampton man hospitalised by Britain’s most venomous spider

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False Widow spider

A young father was rushed to hospital this weekend after suffering ten painful bites from the UK’s most poisonous arachnid, the False Widow spider.

The False Widow (Steatoda nobilis) belongs to the same family of arachnids as the notorious and deadly Black Widow spider, but is fortunately not as toxic. It does however have a reputation for biting, and is compared to that of a bee sting, which kill around four people a year. The nasty little critter is thought to have been introduced to Britain from the Canary Islands as far back as 1879, probably arriving on a bunch of bananas. In the past 100 years or so the spider has spread across the country and is becoming increasingly common.

On Saturday 31-year-old Chris Galton was shopping with his wife and baby daughter when he collapsed on the floor of a Toys R Us store in Hampshire feeling hot and queasy.

“I had been stung earlier in the day but had assumed it was a bee and took some anti-histamine pills.” Chris explained.

“I didn’t think any more of it until I was shopping in Toys R Us for my daughter’s first birthday later and felt more stings. The next thing I knew I was feeling hot, queasy and light headed and collapsed on the floor.”

Chris was rushed to Southampton General Hospital where an examination revealed he’d been bitten ten times by the spider, the bites had swollen up to large, red, ugly welts. Chris was given painkillers and sent home.

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