Halloween is still more than a week away, but school kids in Gloucester, England got an early fright Wednesday when The Dean Academy there closed for the day due to an invasion of false widow spiders, better known as the most venomous spiders in England. Ewwww.
While the secondary school’s vice principal tried to downplay the creepy infestation, calling the “issue” a trifling “inconvenience” in a letter to parents, arachnophobes weren’t fooled. Earlier this year, a 39-year-old man in Essex almost had to have his leg amputated after he was bitten by the spiders. (See for yourself here.) More recently, a soccer player from Devon claimed to have had emergency surgery to cut away tissue infected by venom from a false widow spider bite.
But let’s not panic, folks. While the cream-flecked spiders bear more than a passing resemblance to the deadly black widow, they aren’t aggressive and will only bite if pinched or squeezed, according to Britain’s Natural History Museum. Even if you did have the misfortune to have the arachnid sink its fangs into your flesh and squirt its venom into your bloodstream, chances are you’ll be just fine, since the effects are typically similar to those of a bee sting.
The Dean Academy should reopen long before Halloween. No word on how long the spiders will be expelled.