Spiders are the topic of the day at Drusillas Park as their very own Spiderwoman, Angela Hale, is preparing to run a course that confronts spider phobia.
Lovingly known as Tarangela amongst her colleagues, Angela knows almost all there is to know about arachnids.
In addition to her work at Drusillas Park, Angela is also the secretary of the British Tarantula Society and has spent over thirty years studying and identifying our native eight legged friends; she even keeps a collection of more than 150 spiders at home in her spare bedroom.
Angela said, “Here in the UK we have more than 800 different types of spider, none of which are dangerous to humans.
“On the contrary spiders are actually extremely helpful and harmless creatures, but despite this fact, they instil fear in many and have a terrible reputation.
“What people don’t always realise is spiders are an integral part of the ecosystem and are working to help us.
“They eat the insects on your plants but never eat the plants, making them a garden’s greatest ally. However, even more importantly, these little wonders consume countless crop-destroying, disease-carrying insects annually saving both livelihoods and lives.”
“There is no good reason to be afraid of spiders. The vast majority of spiders are harmless and extremely beneficial invertebrates. There are no dangerous spiders in the UK.
“However millions of perfectly rational people have an irrational fear of them. But spiders don’t deserve such a wicked reputation. Here at Drusillas we want to change that reputation and as such we are offering a three and a half hour course that aims to assist the arachnophobe to not only overcome their fears but to leave with a better understanding of these much maligned creatures.”
The courses will run on August 31 and September 28 and still have spaces available. Throughout the day participants will learn all about spider biology and behaviour, they will be encouraged to handle a range of spiders and to face their fears. The day will be managed under controlled conditions and with experts on hand at all times.
Angela said, “I’ve held a few spider phobia courses in the past and we see such wonderful results; everyone that attends leaves their phobia at the door and goes home feeling much more confident and less afraid of spiders.
“It can be hard for people, especially those who are really terrified, but the more time you spend in a spider’s company the more you realise there really isn’t anything to be afraid of. It’s just Hollywood that’s made them scary.”
“If you are afraid of spiders, now is the ideal time to take part in our spider phobia course. As we approach the summer you’ll start seeing a lot more spiders around and about. Particularly you’ll notice there are a lot of baby spiders around at the moment because garden spiders egg sacks have just hatched.”
“Spiders are also ballooning at the moment which makes them much more abundant as they can travel great distances through this process. They actually fly really high into the air when they are ballooning; a spider has even been found floating around in the earth’s atmosphere!”
“The weather is warming now so insects are breeding like crazy, this means there is a very rich food source for spiders at the moment. So again, we will be seeing a lot more spiders kicking about.”
“If you do find an unwanted guest, please bear in mind the wonderful work they do. Take the time to remove it humanely by gently placing a glass over the spider, then carefully pushing a piece of paper underneath; you can then move it outside and let it go.”
“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. Even the big spiders such as tarantulas don’t want to hurt you. They are much more frightened of you. They are very docile and quite friendly if you give them a chance.”
To find out more call 01323 874100 or visit www.drusillas.co.uk/spider-phobia-course.