A spider enthusiast from Banbury has hit back at recent media stories about sightings of the False Widow spider calling them “complete nonsense.”
Amateur arachnologist Carl Portman said stories about ‘poisonous’ spiders inflicting dangerous bites are just “scare mongering.”
Mr Portman, has indulged his passion for natural history since retiring from the MOD and keeps 30 tarantulas, scorpions and Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches at his home. He said: “Spiders are venomous not poisonous. Venom is injected by a snake, spider or wasp, not inhaled or absorbed like poison. Poison is associated with death and venom isn’t.”
He continued: “You will always get some people that have an allergic reaction to wasp stings and bites, but people need to chill out.
“It’s very unlikely that you’re ever going to meet one of these spiders let alone be bitten by one.
“You’re not going to get attacked in the night by an army of crawling spiders.”
“These spiders have been in the country since 1879 and guess how many people have died? None!”
Mr Portman said the closure of the The Dean Academy school , in the Forest of Dean last week after the discovery of False Widow spiders on the premises was ludicrous.
He said: “What the heck do they do in Australia?”
Several sightings of the False Widow spider were reported in Banbury last week following a frenzied response to national media stories about a Northampton man being bitten.
Mr Portman urged people not to kill the spiders. He said: “You can remove them and put them outside. Live and let live, it’s still a life.” If you see a False Widow spider or have a query about any type of spider you can e-mail Mr Portman at email@example.com