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Photographer’s unwelcome eight-legged discovery

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Dubbed Britain’s most dangerous spider, photographer Paul Ponting was in for a shocking surprise when he discovered two false widow spiders in his back garden.

Paul stumbled across the deadly duo when he was clearing his storm-damaged garden in Ebley that had destroyed his pergola which housed two nest boxes.

He explained: “I found the larger and presumably the female, in one of the boxes and the second in the other box. I’m not scared of spiders so it didn’t bother me, but being a keen photographer I thought they would make interesting images.”

Paul posted his striking images on Facebook and received a reply from his brother, telling him it looked like a false widow.

He added: “By this time the smaller spider had disappeared and I think the larger is still in the box. Now I know it’s mildly venomous, I don’t think I’ll be searching in the box too closely.”

Sightings of Steatoda nobilis, the false widow spider, are on the rise.

The false widow spider is known to have inhabited the UK for more than 150 years and is cited as being Britain’s most dangerous spider, the most poisonous spider in the UK and even potentially deadly.

There are six species of false widow spiders (Steatoda) that are now considered native to Britain. Four of these are true natives and have been here for many hundreds of years. The others are relatively recent introductions that have gained a foothold in the UK ecosystem.

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