No question, we can all sympathize with you! Knowledge and familarity
of spiders is a good place to start, but you will also need to take
care of the emotional side (phobia) as well. Dealing with spiders can
be compared to picking mushrooms - just as we only need to know about
whether the mushroom in hand is safe to eat, the only spider that is
important to you at the time is the one you are looking at. Therefore,
learning about an entire list of spiders for the average person is
impractical because the chances of you ever meeting up with most of
them are very remote. If you learn how to identify the poisonous
spiders that you have the most chance of encountering, you will know
that it is likely the others are safe. That said, rest assured that
spiders do not seek out human victims - they would rather just be left
I've divided my answer into four sections:
I. First things first.
II. Learn to identify the poisonous spiders that can be found in your
III. Bookmark internet sites which identify spiders.
IV. Buy a field manual.
V. Try to deal with your phobia.
I. Read the book "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White (your kids will enjoy
it too). Guaranteed, you will never view spiders the same after
reading this book.
Fortunately, reasonably priced copies are not hard to come by. Here's
an example on Abebooks (your local library probably has a copy too):
II. POISONOUS SPIDERS:
Araneae, Spiders of North-West Europe:
"I receive many questions about poisonous/venomous spiders. Most
spiders use venom to kill their prey. This venom is almost always
harmless to humans. However, there are a few exceptions. In Europe
there is one known spider, called the black widow, whose bite can be
lethal to young children and elderly people. It lives in the southern
parts of Europe. Also the bite of a water spider can be harmful and
should be avoided. There are some spiders dangerous in other
continents, like the brown recluse. If there are venomous spiders in
your neighborhood, you will probably know by word of mouth. If you
have never heard of dangerous spiders from the people in your
neighborhood it is not very likely the spiders around your house are
venomous to you or your pets."
Ed Nieuwenhuys Copyright 1996-2002
Identifying the Brown Recluse Spider:
IMAGES: Brown Recluse:
BROWN RECLUSE LINKS:
Identifying the Black Widow spider:
IMAGES: Black Widow:
BLACK WIDOW LINKS:
Bites and Stings of medically important venomous arthropods:
"Considering that by far, most of the species with which we share the
Earth are arthropods, and that many thousands of these species possess
venom, envenomation by arthropods remains remarkably uncommon. This is
due to two factors. First, most venoms are used for capturing prey,
and humans are too large to be prey for arthropods except parasitic
and blood feeding species. Second, those arthropods which use their
venom for defense (and most will if pressed) generally do so as a last
III. Internet Guides:
NICK'S Spiders of Britain and Europe:
NICK'S Basic Spider Information:
NICK'S Spider Gallery of Common or Important Spiders:
Spider Location Chart:
"This table, the drawings of spiders and webs below will make it
easier to identify a spider. Together with the thumbnail page you can
find the family or your spider."
British Arachnological Society: Click on SPIDER CHECK LIST for "a
revised check list of British Spiders":
IV. FIELD GUIDE:
Collins Field Guide:
Spiders of Britain and Northern Europe.
Michael J. Roberts
"This is the spider equivalent of the above and is unusual in that I
have not yet heard anyone say anything against it. More competent and
cheaper than anything comparable on the market at the moment this is
The Book on Spiders for anyone with an interest in its remit, who
doesn't have £160.00 to spend on the complete spiders of Britain and
Ireland by the same author. Within its 380 pages it contains 288
excellent colour illustrations, and over 1 500 b/w drawings which
include epigyne and palpal illustrations of 450 of the larger species
as well as pictorial keys to family and and genus. Alongside these is
a comprehensive text description of each species including information
on habitat and distribution. Before all of this is a 75 page
introduction to the biology of spiders including sections on
observing, catching, identifying and preserving specimens. All in all
an essential book for all people interested in spiders as well as for
libraries schools and universities.
"1) Apart from a few scorpions and spiders which are truly dangerous
to human, the rest are simply harmless life forms and 2) There are no
dangerous spiders in Europe; those live in Africa and other tropical
places. Nevertheless, one spider, which can be lethal to young
children and old people, is the black widow, which is most commonly
encountered in the southern parts of Europe. Also, the bite of the
water spider and the brown recluse, seen in the continent, can be
harmful and should be avoided. All the rest use poison to kill their
prey but their venom is harmless to humans."
Copyright 2002 by PageWise, Inc.
Fear of Snakes, Spiders Rooted in Evolution, Study Finds:
Can Hypnosis Help With My Fear of Spiders?
VR Therapy for Spider Phobia:
"The following list is provided as a guide to the arachnological
publications and societies of the world. It is currently the most
extensive list on this topic anywhere. No need to look further.":
Web Gateway For Links on The Widow Spiders:
Humane Spider Catcher:
British Tarantula society:
I hope I've been able to get you off on a good start to learning about
spiders. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask
before rating my answer. Lastly, as you learn about spiders and grow
to appreciate them, it will become less difficult to get near them.
Have you ever watched a spider weave a web? It is really fascinating,
they put so much work into it - and what gorgeous works of art.
Google Search Terms Used:
"spiders of britain"
"Brown Recluse Spider"
"black widow spider"
"spiders of england"
"common spiders" guide england
arachnid england species site:.edu