There are, of course, two types of people in this world – those who hate spiders, and those who are certifiably mad.
We get the distinct impression that Brian Gurrin belongs firmly in the former category.
It was late last night when we heard the scream echo out across the sky, a shrill cry of fear that made it all the way from Rathdown Park to Kindlestown.
Twenty minutes later, we got the pic, above left, from the aforementioned girly man, Brian informing us – via Venom Systems Lab in Galway – that this little beauty is a Noble False Widow Spider.
You can tell by the distinctive skull and crossbones it has tattooed on its ass.
Hailing all the way from Madeira and the Canary Islands, The Spider Formally Known As Steatoda Nobilis first made the journey to Europe in 1879, believed to have hitched a ride on cargo bound for Torquay. Its reputation quickly spread as one of the few local spider species which is capable of inflicting a painful bite to humans, with the resulting symptoms generally matching those of a bee or wasp sting.
So, thankfully, not fatal. Just painful. With side effects including nausea, high-pitch screaming, and a little feverish and general malaise.
As with humans, the male bite is less severe than those of the female. Just in case you’re close enough to spot the difference.
If you are on the lookout, the feckers love a little bit of warmth, and often choose places such as the back of a washing machine to hide. Or the inside of a bra.
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