Father collapses after being bitten 10 times by the UK's most venomous spider after it falls into his HOOD False widow spider is thought to have dropped into Mr Galton's hooded top from foliage near his homeArachnid arrived in Devon from Canary Islands a century ago and has spread south and east

A father collapsed in a toy shop after he was bitten ten times by the UK’s most dangerous spider.

Chris Galton had been shopping at children’s store Toys R Us with wife, Zoe, and one-year-old daughter, Imogen, when he suddenly became unwell and dropped to the floor.

Bitten: Chris Galton, pictured with his daughter Imogen, received several nasty bites from a suspected Fake Widow Spider

Bitten: Chris Galton, pictured with his daughter Imogen, received several nasty bites from a fake widow spider

The 31-year-old was rushed to hospital where doctors discovered as many as ten 50 pence-sized red
welts on his neck and back.

Watch out: The false widow spider came over from the Canary Islands a hundred years ago

Watch out: The false widow spider came over from the Canary Islands a hundred years ago

Mr Galton, from Southampton, Hampshire, had been aware of several stings during the day and had assumed they had come from a bee.

He was horrified to discover the bites had come from the false widow spider, which is closely related to the black widow spider.

Thankfully he suffered no further reaction and was given painkillers before being released the same day.

The spider, whose body is bigger than a
five pence coin, is thought to have dropped into Mr Galton’s hooded top
from foliage growing close to Mr Galton’s home.

He said: 'I had been stung earlier in the day but had assumed it was a bee and took some anti-histamine pills.

'I didn’t think any more of it until I was shopping in Toys R Us for my daughter’s first birthday later and felt more stings.

'The next thing I knew I was feeling hot, queasy and light headed and collapsed on the floor.'

Mrs Galton, a nurse, kept her husband comfortable with the help of shop staff while the spider was caught and an ambulance was called.

Paramedics gave him oxygen and he was taken to Southampton General
Hospital where doctors identified the spider as a false widow.

It has now been sent for formal identification.


The false widow is one of only around
a dozen UK spiders that can deliver a nasty bite, and is thought to be
the country’s most venomous arachnid.

The species came from the Canary and Madeiran Islands more than 100 years ago. It has been established for a long time in Devon but in recent years has spread south and east.

The spiders can be found on walls and fences and in trees.

They are brown with a rotund body and pale markings. Only the female bites as a method of self-defence.

Bite victims describe a burning pain, which travels along the body from the bite, and swelling.

Some suffer fever and a general sick feeling.

Mr Galton said: 'I’ve been stung by wasps before. This was a like really a sharp pin prick and very painful. I’m just thankful it never jumped out and got on to my daughter.'

Only a handful of cases of bites from the false widow are confirmed each year.

It delivers enough poison to cause severe pain and inflammation.

Insect experts at the Natural History Museum said one particular variety, called the Steatoda Nobilis, arrived in Britain with a cargo of bananas from the Canary Islands more than a century ago.

A spokesman for Toys R Us confirmed the incident, which happened on
Saturday afternoon.

One store worker said: 'It was a very scary big spider. I’ve never see one like it before.'

Insect exterminators at Wessex Pest Control Southampton said increasingly mild climates were helping exotic species like the fake widow to spread and establish colonies.