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UK cave spiders - the scariest wee beasties in my home!

Simon Cole

Member
Joined
25 Dec 2018
Messages
708
Location
Buckingham
A few years ago I was moving logs around in my outbuilding when I got bitten by a European Cave Spider Meta menardi.
I started getting dizzy and hallucinating, and the bite took the next two years to fully heal. Not nice.
I now treat my arachnid landlords/overlords with a little bit more respect.
They live underneath all of my downstairs floorboards and I have a few inspection hatches to view them, and despite the floor falling apart, I have chosen to leave them be, preserving their habitat beneath me.

The problem seems to be that they are in some sort of social colony. The females each have a small territory of about 2 ft where they hang, and each protect an egg case above them.
When they detect a human passing underneath them, they will drop down and attack, thereby sacrificing themselves in order to protect the colony. But it is generally okay if you leave them alone.
So far as I am aware, they are the only spider to live in social colonies, but I could be wrong.
They get huge. I have seen all of the largest species of spiders in the UK (except the Fen raft spider), and I fear these ones the most.
My current colony must be well over a hundred individuals, and they rarely come out. But tonight was an exception...
One of the larger females had ventured up out of cracks in the floorboards earlier on, and she was setting up shop just below my bathroom sink. She has abdomen about as large as a 1 pence coin, and huge creepy legs with hairs all down them.
They rarely come up into my own habitat zone, so I presume she was either interested in man-habitat, or possibly chasing a small slug that was in my sink.

Anyway, here is a photograph of the cave spider currently in my bathroom, below.
There are hundreds more. I am tempted sometimes to open my house as a tourist attraction or register as some sort of protected wildlife site. Yikes!

cave spider in bathroom .jpg
 
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sparkyweasel

Member
Joined
30 Jun 2011
Messages
2,479
A few years ago I was moving logs around in my outbuilding when I got bitten by a European Cave Spider Meta menardi.
I started getting dizzy and hallucinating, and the bite took the next two years to fully heal. Not nice.
Not nice indeed. :eek:
Is that a typical reaction, or are you allergic or hypersensitive to them?
 

Aleman

Member
Joined
28 Mar 2022
Messages
86
Location
Blackpool, UK
The scariest thing in my house is my son! ... Well more so his collection of "interesting" invertebrates :D. The spiders and tarantula's are not to bad, nothing worse than a bee sting for a healthy person from the venom, but the punctures from the "jaws" would leave a mess :lol:. The scorpionidae again is a little bee sting, but the "claws" are incredibly strong. The giant Asian cave centipede, is the one that worries me :eek: The venom from that can put a healthy person on thier back ... and the thing is bloody aggressive!
 

Simon Cole

Member
Thread starter
Joined
25 Dec 2018
Messages
708
Location
Buckingham
Is that a typical reaction, or are you allergic or hypersensitive to them?
There have been very few bites recorded. The female that got me would have been very large and it was a deliberate attack. I don't think it became infected, but I still have a scar, and that was from ten years ago. I think it was the venom that did the damage because it stopped the tissue from healing, but luckily it did not become infected.
A job for Rentokil, perhaps?
I can never find it in myself to harm any living creature. They seem to stop a lot of other bugs from getting in and eating the timber, so I see them as a benefit. The only problem is that this individual has claimed my toilet as it's new territory.
To make things even more bizarre, I just went for a cup of tea, and a drowned slug was in my kettle, so I'm bleaching it. I even have a robin bird who comes inside the house to hunt for spiders sometimes, so I have always been a bit close to nature. There is even this house spider who lives behind my kitchen worktop and will charge out when a fly lands there, even when I am busy cooking. I used to put it outside, but it always returned to it's home territory, and to be honest, it is nice having them all helping out.
have you ran any tests to see if you now have super powers? (Perhaps don't try leaping off tall buildings just yet though!)
:hilarious:
Sounds like the beginning of a Lovecraftian adventure
:hilarious:
The giant Asian cave centipede... The venom from that can put a healthy person on thier back ... and the thing is bloody aggressive
That is so cool. You only need to worry if he gets a license for dangerous pets - but I would find that centipede a bit scary. I am one of those people that would possibly suck out any venom, but at least that centipede hates the light.
She looks similar to the false widow spider,
I'm glad it's not one of them. I do get the odd Nobel false widow passing through. They tend to live in cracks as opposed to hanging suspended.
 
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