Keep your feet well off the ground!SHARED interests take many forms but one Weymouth man hopes that it will be a long while before his partner repeats a recent incident.
They had been cycling along a coastal path route and she was in the lead when she suddenly stopped and beckoned him in close.
He duly rode up and stopped behind her machine, asking what she wanted. She replied that she had seen a big snake and wanted to share the experience with him.
He hastily asked where and was less than overjoyed at the reply: “There, by your foot!”
When he’d finished telling me about this attempt on his life he added another, something which again happened while out cycling.
This time he was descending a very steep section only to become aware that the way forward was covered in adders.
He couldn’t stop and so lifted his feet out of the way while trying to weave his way through the creatures which were basking. Dangerous stuff this cycling!
False widows move into the area
MOST people don’t find the sudden appearance of a spider running over their hand particularly pleasant, but such incidents are now taking on a whole new importance.
Sightings of the venomous false widow spider are increasing so perhaps I should have exercised more care when I moved a small pile of bricks in my garden only to disturb a large spider with jet black legs and a black bulbous body with markings on it.
My interest in nature kicked in and I thought I recognised it as a false widow spider before immediately wondering if such a creature could actually be in my garden, but I did capture it in a glass jar and take it down the road to get a neighbour’s opinion.
He is Dr Phil Stirling, Dorset County Council’s ecologist and natural environment team leader, and within a few seconds he had positively identified my find as a false widow spider.
He also said the creature was present right through our neighbourhood, other neighbours confirming they had half a dozen in a pond pump box. Nice!
Apparently the spider only bites if mishandled or provoked and those who have been bitten say it is similar to a bee sting.
No one in this country has died from such a bite but it is described as “medically significant” by experts who say some people can develop a reaction. This includes a Dorchester man who spent three days in Dorset County Hospital after suffering a bite believed to be from a false widow spider.
The spider likes nooks and crannies like my bricks or piles of wood and is often found in sheds, so keep an eye out for them and treat them with respect.
Sadly stardom was too much for my specimen. The funeral was held in my garden last week and there were no mourners.