UK & World News
False Widow Spider Gives Boy 'Red Raw' Wound
A schoolboy who was bitten by Britain's most venomous spider has said the creature left him with a "red raw" wound and a "burning sensation" in his arm.
William Fraser was bitten by the flesh-eating false widow spider as he slept at his home in Sutton, south London.
The spiders are on the march in Britain, migrating from southern England where they are most commonly found to counties further north.
"My arm was swollen," William told Sky News. "It was hot and I felt faint.
"My forearm was red raw and I could feel this burning sensation before a blister appeared."
Louisa Giordano and her husband, who live nearby, suffered a similar night-time encounter.
She described the experience as "unnerving", adding: "Every time I see a spider, I break into a cold sweat.
"I'm always looking around to make sure there's none nearby."
The bites are the latest to involve the false widow, or Steatoda nobilis, which is thought to have arrived in Britain from the Canary Islands more than 100 years ago.
An amateur footballer from Dawlish, Devon, was left unable to play after a bite meant he required emergency surgery.
Meanwhile, a mum in Hirwaun near Aberdare, south Wales, has described stumbling across a nest of 50 of the spiders outside her garden shed.
The false widow can cause serious allergic reactions but is less venomous than its more famous cousin, the black widow.
There are no reports of anyone having been killed by the species.
James Reynolds, who works at Cotswold Wildlife Park in Burford, Oxfordshire, said the spider is "not too dangerous", although reactions to bites can vary from person to person.
"They give you a bad bite and you might experience some swelling or some chest pains," he said.
"But I wouldn't be concerned at all. They're not aggressive and although they can be found around garden sheds, they're not often seen in built up areas when you're most likely to come into contact with them."