One of the biggest spiders of Europe – the huge tube web spider – has left a young family fearing for their safety after taking over their garden.
The spider, Segestria florentina, has huge green fangs and inflects a nasty bite that causes a sharp, needle-like pain that lasts for hours. The resultant swelling is red and painful.
A nocturnal hunter, the spider usually feasts on cockroaches, moths and wasps, however, 29 year-old Dan Jackson is worried his arachnid invasion will set their compound eyes on his little three year-old son Ruben.
Dan, who is from Southampton in Hampshire, said: “I’m not scared of spiders but even I’m freaked out by these ones. I first saw one when I went out into my garden and didn’t think much of it.
“But when it got dark they all came out and there must have been more than 50 of them. My home backs onto woods so I think that must be where they have all come from. I saw one that was the size of a tablespoon and I also managed to catch one after I saw it rush across my fence and then jump off onto the ground.
“It was playing dead and my brother said it was only a bit of dirt, but I put a glass over it and moved it a bit and it shot up. I let it go and it moved off so quickly it was unbelievable. As I said I’m not scared of spiders but these made me jump.
“I don’t really know what I am going to do about them, but I know they bite so I worry about Ruben. I will have to speak to the council or get and exterminator out.”
Female tube web spiders can have a body length of nearly 3 inches and it is thought that the spiders arrived in the UK about a century ago. The warm weather is providing them with plenty of prey and currently Britain is experiencing a population boom.