Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Experiences with Spiders

While I was away recently, there was discussion on the Web about the dangers of spiders in Britain. My first encounter with a spider that bit was in France when I was fourteen. At the time I was into geology, and picked up a piece of rock and started to examine it. After perhaps a minute, I felt a piercing sensation on my hand under the rock. I looked under the rock to see a medium sized spider biting me. It gave me a considerable shock. Whether it was a direct effect from the bite, or an emotional response I do not know, but I did feel rather flushed and dizzy.

Araneus diadematus
Garden Orb Spider
More recently my wife picked up that very attractive green spider Araniella cucurbitana and to her surprise, it gave her a nasty nip that was really quite unpleasant. Even more unpleasant was a nip from a harvestman that was nestling in a pot of chamomile she had bought from a local garden centre. I had never heard of harvestmen biting humans, but this particularly bite caused pain, and unpleasantness for some time.
Certainly I have heard that other orb spiders, and house spiders belonging to Tegenaria can bite, but have only heard very occasionally from people who have experienced bites.