The autumn spider invasion of Irish homes & keeping a pet tarantula

Common spiders in Ireland

There is a long list of spiders in Ireland – literally hundreds of different species. However most of them are tiny outdoor creatures which are rarely seen. The main spider causing concerns just now is the Giant house spider, because the males are out and about just now, inside houses, looking for females to mate with.

Here are a few of the more common spiders that may be seen around Irish homes.

Giant House Spider

This measures up to 12cm diameter including its legs, and it’s most commonly seen in the autumn months when the males leave their webs in search of females. They can run very rapidly, but only for short distances. They are often found in garages, sheds and attics. Giant house spiders can bite, but this is rare.

False widow spider

Known as Ireland’s “most venomous spider” this measures around 2cm. Adult female false widow spiders are known to have bitten humans, but it’s rare and only if they feel very threatened.

Lace web spider

These are usually found on outdoor walls but they sometimes come indoors in autumn to look for a mate.
They can grow to a size of around 2cm. They are brown with yellow markings on the body. They too can bite, but again, it’s rare.

Zebra jumping spider

These are smaller, reaching a size of just 8mm, with unusual black and white markings. They look more like beetles than spiders, moving in a jerky, erratic fashion rather than running like other spiders. They tend to live outdoors, in the garden and again, they can bite.

Cardinal spider

This is the largest spider in Ireland, growing as big as 14cm diameter. They are harmless to humans, but can be frightening because of their size and their scuttling speed.

How to catch a spider

  1. Get a clear tumbler (plastic or glass, but you must be able to see through it) and a rigid slip of paper or index card.
  2. With the tumbler and card in hand, quickly place the cup over the spider securely.
  3. Tap the edges of the tumbler to attempt to make the spider fall in.
  4. When it does, take the index card and slip it in between the wall and the tumbler.
  5. Take the spider outside, and set it free.

How to keep spiders out of your home

  1. Get rid of anything that might attract them e.g.remove all food sources such as dead flies, woodlice  and other insects.
  2. Take steps to deter flying insects that spiders like eating e.g. turn off lights that attract moths etc
  3. Have a regular routine of removing cobwebs4) Vacuum regularly, high and low – particularly “quiet” areas like backs of cupboards, under furniture etc
  4. Remove obvious spider habitats from close to your house e.g. compost heaps, firewood stacks and general clutter
  5. Block up gaps to the outside e.g. cracks around doors, windows, large vents

Pet spiders

The spider shown on Ireland AM today was a Chilean Rose Tarantula – available for €50 from Tallaght Pet Store.
Spiders can be fascinating creatures to keep, but they are (obviously) a very different type of pet to dogs, cats and other cuddly creatures.

To find out more about tarantulas as pets, click here.

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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