Tag Archives: Spiders

Spider Populations Soar

4 Oct

Drusillas Park’s spider expert, Angela Hale has been extremely busy over the last few weeks dealing with enquiries from the public as a result of the increased spider populations this year. It would appear that a warm spring has resulted in an abundance of these eight-legged invaders, leaving little to put the achnophobics mind at rest.

Angela commented: “People are likely to notice more spiders this year as a result of the warmer springtime. This coincided with the hatching of spiderlings leading to a higher survival rate. Similarly these temperate conditions have also meant that there are more insects around, which in turn has provided a wealth of food for spiders.”

Known as ‘Tarangela’ at the 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.

Many of the enquiries Angela has received have been from concerned members of the public who have discovered a larger than normal arachnid at home or in their garden, which they believe to be a foreign species. However, Angela claims these are much more likely to be the fertile females:

“At this time of year many female spiders are pregnant. Their bodies are swollen with eggs making them larger and a little more clumsy than usual. They are not bigger this year, nor are they an exotic breed; they are simply more visible to us at the present time.”

“Our native spiders pose no threat to us. Although most spiders are venomous they will generally only use this to catch their prey. They are unlikely to bite a human, except as a last resort and even then they would have difficulty breaking through our skin.”

“Spiders are essential to our ecosystem; without them we would be inundated with insects. Other species, such as the wren, also rely on them for food. They are our friends, not our enemies.

Get Ready for Creepy Crawlies Day

9 Sep

Venture down to Drusillas Park on Sunday 25th September for Creepy Crawlies Day and meet some very unusual mini monsters. The Discovery Centre will be open between 11am and 4pm, swarming with weird insects, slimy molluscs and scary spiders.

Amongst the creatures will be scorpions with their powerful pincers, hissing cockroaches that make a terrifying hissing noise to scare off predators, giant millipedes and large fanged tarantulas.

Experts from the British Tarantula Society will be available to answer questions throughout the day, including Drusillas Park’s very own spider woman, Angela Hale. Known as Tarangela at the zoo, Angela knows all there is to know about these eight-legged creatures and will be on hand to help visitors understand them too.

Drusillas Park’s Managing Director, Laurence Smith commented: “Spiders are one of the most misunderstood creatures on the planet and this is a great chance for the public to come along and meet them face to face – who knows we may even cure a phobia!  We find that most children love creepy crawlies but it is often their parents we have to convince.”