Exeter exotic pet expert Jason Edworthy say people should not be unduly alarmed about increased sightings of false black widow spiders.
And that’s despite Mr Edworthy still bearing the scar of a false black widow bite inflicted three years ago.
The Echo has run a series of pictures from readers showing spiders amid growing concern that the false black widow, named because it only looks like a deadly black widow, is on the increase.
Mr Edworthy, who sells exotic spiders along with snakes and other reptiles at his Tiny Boas shop in East Wonford Hill, Heavitree, said Steatoda grossa had been out and about for decades.
He said: “I am not exactly sure how long they have been in Britain but it is quite a long time, maybe 100 years or more, and they are not particularly unusual.
“In fact I was at a show not so long ago where you could buy them
“There has been a lot of fuss and there do seem to be more of them about just now but they are not overly aggressive.
“You can find them in sheds and similar places. Of course the thing is when spiders give birth its not just one or two but hundreds
“If you can it is best to leave them alone. They can bite and I still have the scar on my leg from where one bit me three years ago.”
Despite that Mr Edworthy is happy handling much bigger spiders than a false black widow.
“We have the Mexican Red -Knee Sopider, the sort you might see in a Hollywood film and you can go right up to the Baboon Spiders, which are quite aggressive to a the Goliath Bird Eating spider which is the biggest there is.
“They can run to a few quid for a baby spider right up to a couple of hundred.”
Spider experts have suggested that there have been more sightings of the spiders as more and more homes are built on their natural habitat. There is alos the impact of warmer summers and milder winters.
The bite is not regarded as life threatening unless people whave a reduced immune system or allergy related to bites or stings .
The false widow is thought to have first arrived in Britain many years ago in crates of fruit from the Canaries.