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False Widows and giant house spiders

Discussion in 'Other Spiders & Arachnids' started by UpsideDown, Nov 13, 2019.

  1. UpsideDown

    UpsideDown Arachnopeon

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    Hellooo :)

    New to the forums (very nice to meet you all :) ) and have a couple of very basic spider questions. In the interest of transparency, I should probably state up front that I know almost nothing about spiders. I'm pretty arachnophobic, but I'm also hyper-curious - I'm the kind of person who'll run face first into a wall trying to escape a spider and then once I've calmed down go back and watch them with total wonder. If strikes me that they're kind of like the S&M of the animal world.

    My first query is about what we in the U.K. call giant house spiders. I've got what certainly looks like one living down the side of my dish rack, I call him Heidi, because he's always hiding (imaginative, I know). However, he's about half the size of a giant house spider. Could he be a juvenile, or do spiders not really work like that, and he's something else?

    My second set of queries is about false widows. I'm not particularly worried about them, but someone who does actually know about UK spiders has removed (and ID'd) several (4) who have turned up in my kitchen over the last 3 weeks. My problem with them has been that 3 of the 4 have been really aggressive, and have all run to attack my other kitchen spiders, who I'm somewhat attached to. Took out another spider myself maybe a week ago or so (was hovering perilously above my head whilst I was cooking) and I can't tell if it's another of the same false widows (photos below, sorry about quality), as it wasn't aggressive. If it is, why so many in the same kitchen area in such a short space of time? I'm guessing from their behaviour that they're not exactly good friends with their broodmates. Also, I'm not expecting to be bitten, but I have several small cats and two small dogs, so I'm curious if the nobilis bite could hurt them. I live on the coast of Wales in the South of the UK, if that makes a difference.

    Any help would be much appreciated :)

    Hope ya'll are having a lovely week!

    P.S. Since joining this forum moments ago, I learned what a whip spider is, and I am both wigged out and in total loving awe, what an awesome little beast! :D

    P.P.S I've just been learning what image hosting is for this post, but I can't get it to work, so they're links. Very sorry!

    Photos:
    1 https://imgur.com/e7c4Us7

    2 https://imgur.com/qBItqG4

    3 https://imgur.com/bIVdREx

    4 https://imgur.com/kvcr7jb

    5 https://imgur.com/6qDIWGU

    6 https://imgur.com/hB50bUW
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. NYAN

    NYAN Arachnoking Active Member

    CA
    Love it.

    Could be a juvenile or another species. The various funnel weaving spiders can look very similar.

    Anytime people use the word agressive to describe spider behavior, it is because they don’t understand it. If the spiders wander into their webs, of course they will attack them. They are food at that point.

    They breed very fast. They are also indoor spiders, so you will find them in such places.

    False widows are pretty harmless. I don’t see many situations where one would bite a dog, and if it did there wouldn’t be a huge issue. If your dogs lots of fur there’s even less of a chance.
     
  3. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnodemon

    It seems strange that you have found many just wandering about. Considering they are web weaving spiders. Are you sure they are false widows? There is many different spiders that are mistaken for the false widow.
     
  4. UpsideDown

    UpsideDown Arachnopeon

    Thanks for the replies! :)

    Glad to hear they're not a risk for the furries :) All the stories in the UK media are about people having limbs amputated or dying from false widow bites, and whilst I know that's basically bunk, it made me concerned for my much smaller housemates!

    If the house spider is a juvenile, will it likely moult at some point, or do they just keep growing?

    Fair point about the aggressiveness, I can appreciate that it's my very human (and uneducated) perspective. In all these cases they've been on my kitchen ceiling. I have a fluorescent light in a big long housing and loads of spiders live around it, which I try to pay minimal attention to, but if they're away from the actual light fitting on the ceiling, they really stand out, even if they're small, so I notice lots of them, a handful a week (our property backs onto fields and wildlife, so there's a lot of critters). It's also a big old room and there's lots of life above the hanging cupboards and around the windowsills, which I suspect may also wander the ceiling.

    The two false widows whose approaches and attacks I actually witnessed weren't going for spiders that approached them, they were just going for them. Like one of them, it started out above my cupboards, then started walking along the ceiling towards the light fitting, and the first spider it saw, it literally walked straight at it, and the little spider ran, and he chased it... we took both outside and the little one was really cowering! Another walked up to a spider which was in what I call a bed - a little silky pouch the spider hangs out in when it's not in its web - and went for it, two different types of spider. The other I spotted when it was eating another spider which I know had been living up there for weeks, and the last one I didn't actually see it go for anything, it was just spidering. There have been a lot of spiders in here lately though, so I did wonder whether we've just hit peak spider and they're polishing off the competition lol.

    In terms of spider ID's, as I say, I wouldn't trust my own identification, which is why I posted the photos of the 'unknown' one. But the guy who ID'd the rest (resident ceiling-spider catcher, as even on a chair I'm a solid two feet away lol) has worked his whole life with various wildlife organisations in the U.K. on conservation and stuff and is always pointing to spiders and other wildlife and being all 'look! It's a female blah blah blah, isn't it's patterning beautiful!' etc, I trust his expertise. That said, I don't have photos or anything, and I know nothing, so I guess there's always the potential for error!

    Oh, also (last question I promise!), of spider mating and babies and hatching, could that be going on at this time of year? No doubt it varies by species, but do many kinds of spider get to baby makin' in November?

    Thanks again for your help! (I'm trying to work out how to quote other messages, bear with me! Lol)
     
  5. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    @UpsideDown Logged in on Imgur, click on the image you wish to post here. A menu will open up. Click on the BB code and it will be automatically copied to your clipboard.
     
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