‘Tarangela’ defends her eight-legged friends

Quite a beast ... a tarantula at Drusillas Park, Alfriston
Quite a beast ... a tarantula at Drusillas Park, Alfriston

It’s that time of year again when our homes and gardens become overrun with eight-legged invaders.

For 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 said, “Lots of female spiders are pregnant at this time of year. Their bodies are swollen with eggs making them larger and a little more clumsy. 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 bigger and therefore more visible at present.

“Others may also discover a larger than normal arachnid wandering around their home. The reason for this is simple; as the warmer conditions of summer fade into the chillier nights of autumn the male spiders begin to look for

shelter from the oncoming cold taking them into our houses.

“In addition to this, the milder weather has meant there are a lot of insects around, providing an abundance of food for spiders to feast on. This has allowed spider populations to soar.”

Known as Tarangela at Drusillas Park zoo in Alfriston, Angela knows almost all there is to know about these curious creatures and keeps a collection of more than 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 curious creatures and she and her husband, fellow arachnophile Ray, will host Spider Saturday on October 8 offering an insight into the eight-legged

invaders. They also run a popular Spider Phobia Course each year at the Drusillas.

Angela added, “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.

“Spider Saturday is an informative day when anyone visiting Drusillas 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!”

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