False widow spiders and rabbits

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False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by paullp on Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:49 pm

Following a recent news story about someone's pet rabbit being killed by false widow spiders I first got worried, then did some research and then looked through where Patch and Daisy live. I found 2 in the hutch and 2 in the run and another 3 in the fence that I can't get to.

So, I contacted Gary Bradley from www.uksafari.com

and he gave me the following information which helped put my mind at rest:

Hello Paul,
Thanks for your message. With all the false stories about false widows by the false press I can understand why you might be concerned.

The spider which is frequently found in rabbit hutches is Steatoda bipunctata. It has been living in rabbit hutches (and other out buildings) for as long as mankind has been building them. I can see no reason why rabbit owners should suddenly become worried for the welfare of their pets just because of a few scare mongering stories in the papers.

Rabbits are probably far better at living alongside spiders than most humans, and I would imagine that the spiders take care of a lot of mites and other tiny creatures which would otherwise irritate the rabbits.

Kind regards,

Gary,
UK Safari Editor.
http://www.uksafari.com/



Just thought I would pass the information along Smile
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by Velvet.Tears on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:09 pm

False Widows have been here for years and are completely harmless, only those with allergies to spider/tarantulas can be affected. I have a false widow living in my bathroom and whilst i'm allergic to spiders/tarantulas i have left him there as he is doing me no harm and is quite happy where he is. And very unlikely to bite an animal unless it was threatened.
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by jolovesbunnies on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:12 pm

That s a good post and even though Binks is an indoor bunny, I would stiil have been concerned for other buns. Yes I love spiders but not when they threaten my babies or anyone else's.
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by Sparky on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:27 pm

I'm glad you checked the facts, Paul and what a fantastic reply you got Very Happy 

There was a story doing the rounds recently about 'False widows killed my rabbit' because a (stupid) woman having found her rabbit dead, then went on to find 'five false widow spiders' in the hutch. The picture wasn't even of a false widow spider, how long had it been since she had cleaned the hutch out for five spiders to have colonised it, and how does she know the rabbit did not die of any of the many other things that rabbits can suddenly die from? No No No

The lack of common sense exhibited by many humans makes me despair at times...
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by paullp on Fri Nov 08, 2013 5:56 pm

yes, it's a shame that the media have made a mountain of a molehill of this one, but that is typical I suppose.

And I have to admit that when I clean Patch and Daisy's hutch out I usually leave any spiders where they are as they are so tiny and not in the way up in the corners or between the insulation and the panels.

At least two good things have come from this though:

1) that I am enjoying identifying different types of spiders around the garden and in Patch and Daisy's run. I think they could bring many benefits to rabbits, such as catching any stray flies that get in and, as Gary said in his email, eating any mites that might bother the buns.

2) Uksafari is a great site, there are so many wonderful creatures living in the UK that I didn't know about!


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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by KatieB on Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:22 pm

Well done for checking it out. Good reply :-)



Katie, Daisy B, Charlie & Annabelle x
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by marleyNfriends on Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:55 am

Thats a good reply, and should put peoples mind at rest. Do you mind if I pinch it and put it on my bunny group on Facebook?

I HATE spiders (although im getting used to them from being at uni!), and wouldnt think twice about thwacking them usually. Embarassed I know that they are no real threat to us though and that if you leave them be, they are fine. Problems with the false widows only occur when they feel threatened, and even if you were to be bitten by one, as velvet tears has already said, their vennom isnt a problem unless you have an allergy to them. ...did you know, all spiders can bite you? Theyre very rarely harmful to us in this country, at least!
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by paullp on Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:50 pm

I don't mind you using it, I asked Gary if he minded me sharing it and he said it was fine as long as I said where it was from
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by Thumper2001 on Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:30 pm

Thanks for this Very Happy
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Re: False widow spiders and rabbits

Post by jolovesbunnies on Mon Nov 11, 2013 6:16 pm

These little things do get a lot of bad press which fuels people's fears.  It is true that all spiders can bite but I have held loads and have luckily always been OK.  They are great for keeping flies down which are everyone's enemy.  We have several little nests here and I think it is because they know they are safe.

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JO xx

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