False Widow? False Alarm

October 19, 2013, 8:00 AM GMT+0

69% are unconcerned by "killer spiders” – and only 20% are following the story

There has reportedly been a “terrifying surge” in the number of sightings of Britain’s most venomous spider, the false widow. According to the tabloids, the spiders are spreading from London to as far as Yorkshire and have almost cost one man his leg. But how far has the panic spread? Is anyone listening?

Not really: 69% of the public say they are unconcerned about the false widow spider, and only 20% are following the story closely.

Only 28% are concerned, despite a larger number (33%) saying they are afraid of spiders in general.

Young people are more afraid than most however: 45% of 18-24 year olds say they are afraid of spiders in general and 38% say they are concerned about the false widow, compared to only 16% and 25% of over 60s respectively.

Although described as ‘killer’, no one in the UK has died from a false widow bite. And despite being presented as a recent threat, the spiders were first sighted in the country in 1879, when it is thought they arrived in Britain in crates of fruit from the Canary Islands.

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