It’s that time of year again when our homes and gardens become overrun with eight-legged invaders in Eastbourne. Giant house spiders, which can grow to as big as 12cm in length, will be becoming increasingly present in UK homes as the weather starts to get cooler and wetter.
For Drusillas Park’s spider expert, Angela Hale, it is a familiar tale. At this time of year, she can expect to be contacted by a number of nervous callers each day, who have stumbled across a larger than normal unwelcome guest.
Angela commented, “As we approach the autumn season, adult male spiders will be starting to move around and look for mates, so it will appear as though there are suddenly a lot more spiders around. Lots of female spiders will also be pregnant at this time of year so they will appear larger and a little clumsier as their bodies are swollen with eggs. Due to the temperate conditions, a lot of people have been out working in their gardens and spending time outdoors. They are therefore noticing the spiders more, as they are larger and therefore more visible at present.
“In addition to this, the milder weather has meant there are a lot of insects around at the moment, providing an abundance of food for spiders to feast on. This has allowed spider populations to soar.”
Known as ‘Tarangela’ at the Alfriston zoo, Angela knows almost all there is to know about these curious creatures and keeps a collection of over 150 different arachnids at home in her spare bedroom. She is also the secretary of the British Tarantula Society.
Angela spends a great deal of time trying to re-educate people about these amazing creatures and she and her husband, fellow arachnophile Ray, will be hosting Drusillas’ Spider on Saturday 7 October. This exciting event offers an insight into the eight-legged invaders and their unique set of behaviours and characteristics.
Angela commented, “Our native spiders pose no threat to us. They are essential to our ecosystem; they are our friends, not our enemies so we need to find a way to learn to live alongside them. They really are more scared of you than you are of them, and would much rather run away.
“Spider Saturday is an informative day when anyone visiting the Park can come and meet a few spiders and learn a little about why they are so important to us all. Come along and be amazed!”