What Spiders Are In The Uk?

10 common spiders you’re likely to find in a British home


Wonder what that little eight-legged creature you see lurking in the corner of your home really is? Find out with our guide.

Here’s a round up of Britain’s top 10 house spiders to look out for. Arachnophobes, look away now.

1. Giant house spider

Size: Up to 12cm wide
Habitat: Most commonly found in sheds and gardens.
Appearance: Typically dark orange, brown or beige.
Does it bite? They do possess potent venom and can bite, but don’t usually pose a threat to humans.

2. Zebra Jumping Spider

Size: Up to 8mm
Appearance: Distinctive white and black markings.
Habitat: Found on external walls, as well as indoors, where they will enter through open doors and windows.
Does it bite? Yes, but like most spiders are more likely to run away from larger prey.

3. Cupboard Spider (Steatoda grossa)

Size: Up to 10mm
Appearance: Can vary slightly from dark purple, to brown to black.
Habitat: As the name suggests, usually found in cupboards inside out buildings and houses.
Do they bite? Yes, but they are not usually aggressive and the bites themselves have minor symptoms.

4. Daddy Long Legs

Size: Do vary in size, but can reach up to 45mm
Habitat: Lives in a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, caves, and wetlands.
Appearance: Bodies are round or oval in shape, and of course have trademark long legs.
Does it bite? Rumoured to be the most venomous invertebrates in our houses, there are actually no cases of the spider biting a human and causing long-lasting damage.

5. Money Spider

Size: Smallest in the UK growing no more than 5mm
Appearance: In most cases they have grey or black bodies, although some do have distinctive markings.
Habitat: Usually found in low growing vegetation and piles of leaves.
Does it bite? These spiders are considered so harmless to humans it is believed if such a spider is seen running on you, it will bring with it financial fortune. We’ll let you decide if that’s good luck.

6. Lace Web Spider

Size: Up to 12mm
Habitat: Common and widespread throughout the UK, although less so in the far north. Usually found on outdoor walls and fencing.
Appearance: Brown with yellow markings in the abdomen.
Does it bite? Yes, bites are reported to be painful but symptoms usually ease off after 12 hours.

7. Missing Sector Orb

Size: Up to 7mm
Appearance: A silver-grey coloured abdomen with a brown oak leaf pattern on the back.
Habitat: Windowsills.
Does it bite? No, it isn’t usually harmful to humans.

8. False Widow Spider

Size: 20mm
Appearance: Dark brown with a bulbous abdomen.
Habitat: They love conservatories, window frames, porches, lofts and garages, and tend to live beneath kitchen appliances and cupboards.
Does it bite? Often referred to as ‘ Britain’s most venomous spider’, female False Widow Spiders are known to have bitten humans, although they are not usually aggressive and attacks are rare.

See also:  What Kind Of Spider Looks Like A Crab?

9. Cardinal Spider

Size: Largest spider in the UK, growing up to 14cm
Appearance: Reddish brown, but young spiders can be much paler up to their last moult.
Habitat: Lives mostly in buildings or walls.
Does it bite? Bites are rare, and painless. Legend has it that Cardinal Thomas Woolsey was terrified by this species at Hampton Court back in the 16th century.

10. Tube Web Spiders

Size: Up to 23mm
Appearance: Has six eyes arranged in three groups of two, with an iridescent green jaw.
Habitat: Under stones or logs, and in holes in walls, trees and wooden fences
Does it bite? Yes, this spider has a painful bite, with a sensation lasting several hours.


Spiders in your home

Almost all of us will have seen spiders in our homes — perhaps walking across the lounge floor, stuck in the bath, or quietly sitting in a ceiling corner.

Several species share our living spaces, some staying year round whilst others have just found their way in through open windows or gaps beneath doors.

The truth is that few spiders are able to comfortably live in modern centrally-heated homes. The majority would prefer to be helped back outside where they live in garages and sheds or among the general clutter around the outsides of homes and in gardens.

Spiders are very important in our urban environment and help to control the numbers of many nuisance household pests, so are useful and eco-friendly pest controllers. The pages below will help you to identify a number of species commonly observed in homes and get you to know your lodgers a little better.

House spider

A large spider with a brown cephalothorax and tan-coloured abdomen often withВ characteristic ‘herring bone’ pattern.В

False widow spiders

A number of species found in the UK are known as false widow spiders. Although they resemble black widow spiders, they are not as harmful.

Missing sector orb web spider

A small spider with pale body and legs and silver-grey markings on the abdomen.

Daddy long legs spider

A large spider, but with a very small greyish body and long thin legs.

Zebra jumping spider

A small spider with white and black markings and a characteristic jerky ‘start and stop’ movement.В

Lace web spider

A medium-sized spider, usually brown and frequently having yellowish markings on the abdomen.В

Can spiders bite?

All spiders can bite — that’s how most subdue and kill their prey — but only a small number have fangs that are strong enough to pierce human skin.

Spider bites are quite rare, so there is generally no cause for concern if you see spiders in your home.

Of the 650 species of spider found in the UK only about 12 species have been recorded as being able to bite us and these are larger spiders. Of these, only 2 or 3 have been known to give a significant or unpleasant bite. Symptoms have usually been described as localised pain and swelling. In the rare event of symptoms more acute than these, medical advice should be taken.

If you pick up a spider, as with any living creature, you should remember that it is delicate and handle it with care and respect.

What are the largest and smallest spiders in the UK?

The largest spider found in the UK is the Cardinal Spider (Tegenaria parietina). Male examples have been recorded with an impressive 12 cm leg span. By comparison the smallest species of ‘Money spiders’ (family Linyphiidae) have a leg span of little more than 2 mm.

Spiders found in fruit

Spiders that are not UK species are occasionally found in imported fruit such as grapes or bananas; these can include species that are more seriously venomous.

If you find spiders under these circumstances it is always worth seeking advice. You can get these identified by emailing an image to the Museum’s identification service.

Get help identifying your spiders

You can email a photo to the Musuem’s Identification and Advisory Service:В [email protected]

Please tell us as much about your specimen as possible, including a detailed description, where and when you saw it, and its approximate size.В

See also:  What Spider Bites Look Like Blisters?

Download this guide

Try this at home

Why not try out more of our simple crafts and activities whilst you’re stuck at home?

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Every autumn there are reports of false widow spiders becoming uninvited eight-legged houseguests across the UK.

Spider webs: not just for Halloween

Explore seven common styles of spider web and discover the arachnids that make them.

Finding love on the web

Spiders may seem scary, but most of them are just looking for love. Read some dating profiles of spiders searching for the perfect mate.

Invasion of the giant spiders? Not quite

Are giant spiders invading Britain’s homes? Find out if that eight-legged beast in your bathtub is dangerous with Museum expert Stuart Hine.

Identification help

Identify nature

Found an animal, plant or fossil that you’d like to identify?В Get help from our identification guides and apps, or ask our Museum experts for advice.

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Here’s how to spot the UK’s biting spiders as they invade British homes this season

6 September 2019, 10:56 | Updated: 18 September 2019, 11:21

Here’s the most dangerous spiders in the UK. Picture: Getty Images/PA Images

By Naomi Bartram

How dangerous are Britain’s household spiders? Here’s everything you need to know.

Spider season is upon us, which means you might have spotted a few more creepy crawlies scuttling across the kitchen tiles.

Every September, the creatures usually start invading British homes while they seek out a dry place to mate.

But while there are thought to be more than 650 different species of the eight-legged insects in the UK, most are completely harmless to humans.

In fact, there are just a handful of common spiders in the UK which are capable of biting you, and although their bites are painful and can cause swelling, they are not serious.

Here’s a list of the spiders which can bite in the UK…

False Widow

False Widows are the most poisonous spider in the UK and the venom of females can cause swelling, numbness, discomfort, burning, chest pain and nausea.

They usually grow up to about 10mm with their legspan reaching 25mm and have blotch markings on their backs.

Luckily, experts say false widow bites can’t produce an infection bad enough to cause death.

Woodlouse spider

The woodlouse spider has a dark red body and a yellow stomach with a legspan of about 40mm.

Also known as the «sowbug killer», «woodlouse hunter» and «slater spider», these creatures feed on woodlice.

Despite their scary name, if one of these bite you it will just cause slight itchiness and a red mark.

Cardinal spider

These terrifying creepy crawlies are the largest spider species in the UK, with some growing up to 14cm.

They are mainly harmless but people are usually terrified of them because of their huge size and speed.

Cardinal spiders are technically venomous, but bites from them are rare and fairly painless.

Lace web spider

While this species usually like to live in the garden on wooden fences and in sheds, the heavy autumnal rainfall often forces them inside when their webs are ruined.

See also:  Spider Bite What Does It Look Like?

You’ll notice these spiders have brown bodies about 2cm in length and their abdomens are covered in yellow markings

These creepy crawlies are known to bite people and their bites can be painful with localised swelling lasting for around 12 hours.

Tube web spiders

This species creates a tube-like web to catch their prey, and is commonly found in cracks of buildings.

Known to be quite aggressive, they do bite, and the pain is said to be similar to resemble an injection lasting several hours, but they are not serious.

You’re most likely to find these spiders in areas such as Cornwall, Gloucester, Dover, Southampton and Bristol.

Walnut Orb-Weaver Spider

Walnut orb-weaver spiders can be found all over the world, including Europe, north Africa and south Asia.

They usually like to hide behind bark and in cracks in woodwork during the day and females can grow to around 15mm.

This species is actually one of the most venomous spiders in the UK, behind the false widow and the pain of one biting you has been described as “like an electric shock from finger to elbow».

While they’re not deadly, a bite from one of these can lead to a few hours of pain with swelling and a numb arm.

Wasp Spider

Though fairly new in the UK, the wasp spider is black, yellow and white with a stripe pattern that gives them their name.

Just like their namesake, these spiders can be aggressive and a bite from one could give you pain in your groin — but they’re not serious.

Mouse spider

These critters get their name from the mouse-like hairs growing over their brown/grey bodies.

They can grow to 3cm and run very fast but are mostly nocturnal.

Mouse spiders live in burrows covered in soil but invade British homes during mating season.

Although they do have a noticeable bite, the spiders don’t pose any real threat to humans.

A bite from one of these can cause painful inflammation but this is thought to go down in a few days.


Spiders in the UK: What species do we have and are they poisonous?

18 September 2019, 12:47

Are there any poisonous spiders in the UK? Picture: Getty

As spider season continues in the UK, we take a look at the spiders you’re probably seeing around your house.

Spider season is in full swing, with the arachnids more active than ever as they search for a mate.

People across the UK have reported a huge amount of sightings of the creepy crawling in their homes, as they look for hacks to rid their houses of the creepy crawlies.

There are 650 different species of spider in the UK, and all of them can bite.

But are any of these poisonous? And which spider species live in the UK?

There are 650 different species of spider in the UK, and all of them can bite. Picture: Getty

How many species of spider do we have in the UK?

There are 650 different species of spider in the UK, however, these are the 10 spiders you’re most likely to spot in your house:

1) Giant house spider

2) Zebra Jumping Spider

3) Cupboard Spider

4) Daddy Long Legs

5) Money Spider

6) Lace Web Spider

7) Missing Sector Orb

8) False Widow Spider

9) Cardinal Spider

10) Tube Web Spiders

There are only three species of spider in the UK that can bite, these are the cellar spider, the woodlouse spider and the false widow spider. Picture: Getty

Are any UK spiders poisonous?

There are only three species of spider in the UK that can bite a human – these are the cellar spider, the woodlouse spider and the false widow spider.

No UK spiders are poisonous and there are no killer spiders living in the UK, however, their bites can be nasty and cause hours of pain for the victim.

The Natural History Museum explains that while there are reports of false widow bites with “more sinister symptoms” like “rotting flesh and excruciating pain”, these are «usually not backed up with formal spider identification».

They explain: “The extreme side effects experienced are most likely the result of a secondary infection, likely bacterial, if the wound is not kept clean.”


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