False Widow spiders on loose in Ireland could put you in hospital if they bite you

False Widow spiders on loose in Ireland could put you in hospital if they bite you

FALSE WIDOW SPIDERS are roaming across the country and Irish scientists have recently discovered that they might be a little more dangerous than we first thought.

Despite their frightening appearance, the false widows - known as the Steatoda nobilis - were initially thought to be harmless.

They've been known to bite, but experts believed the bite to do little more than scratch the skin.

But now it appears that getting bitten by a false widow could land you in hospital.

Originating from north Africa and south-west Europe, the false widows have become one of Ireland's most common spiders.

As such, the news has sparked something of a frenzy online, with people being warned to be on the lookout for these eight-legged immigrants.

Their bites are venomous and can cause debilitating pain which could leave you in hospital.

What do they look like?

They're very similar to the black widow spider, though instead of a dark, black bulbous abdomen, the noble false widow's body is brown, sometimes reddish brown, and has distinctive cream markings.

The female spider’s body length is between 7mm and 15mm, while the males are usually around 4mm to 7mm in length.

Where might I find one?

Research conducted by NUI Galway shows that the spiders most commonly bite people when they're asleep in bed (yikes), or when they get trapped in clothes.

There's very little risk of running into them outdoors, but be sure to check carefully when putting a jumper back on if it's been left on the floor for a while.

Are they likely to bite?

Approximately ten species of Irish spiders have fangs large enough to bite through human skin, but over the past five years, the noble false widow is the only one reported to have pierced people. Within that time frame, researchers have identified 18 noble false widow bites in Ireland.

So ultimately, it's unlikely you'll ever be bitten by one, particularly if you're on the lookout for them.

What are the symptoms of a bite?

Mild to debilitating pain, mild to intense swelling, reduced or elevated blood pressure, tremors and impaired mobility. In rare instances, victims have also developed minor wounds at the bite site or had to be treated for severe bacterial infections.