Trouble identifying UK Spiders? We’re here to help!
It’s about time I discussed the creepy crawlies that litter Britain.
Did you know, that the UK is home to over 650 species of spider? And guess what, they all bite!
Reports claimed that last Autumn, spiders ‘the size of mice’ were stated to be invading British homes.
Luckily, autumn is behind us, so you’ll be glad to know that these critters won’t be as common now.
With that in mind, here is a list of common British spiders you may run into during the autumn months. Hopefully, this will help you identify them before they send you running!
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The common house spider is labelled ‘common’ because it’s the most prevalent spider in the UK. You’ll see these little critters frequently throughout the year and they’re completely harmless. They can be identified by their dark brown colour and long legs. If you see one, don’t panic! You can be sure they will be more scared of you than your are of them and will do their best to stay out of your way!
House spiders do come in variations but all can be identified by their thick sheet web.
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The Labyrinth Spider is larger than most. It can grow upwards of 18mm long. Found in Wales and England, amongst hedgerows and long grass, the Labyrinth Spider is most common between June and October. Surviving on a diet of small insects and flies, the spider get its name from catching insects in long funnel-shaped webs, which can become very thick.
The female won’t abandon her young until they are ready to leave the web. Once she dies, the young will eat her. This spider is not to be confused with the far more dangerous Funnel Web Spider.
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With a name like that, you’d imagine these are harmless, right?
Well, you’re right. They pretty much are. This green spider is seen from April to October and is around 4mm-6mm long. Usually found in gardens, hanging from plants, the Cucumber Spider spends its time eating small insects. These spiders are native to the UK and may look mostly green but they have a small red dot above their spinners on their tail.
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There are two types of this spider, the Meta Menardi and the Meta Bourneti.
These spiders are around 10-15mm long and are commonly found in the UK throughout the year.
Surviving on a diet of flies, woodlice and other small insects, this spider keeps itself to itself, hiding in caves, tunnels and places with little to no sunlight.
Their eggs are tear-shaped and hang upside down on a silk thread. The young spiders are attracted to sunlight at first, so they’ll seek to find somewhere new to populate. Adult spiders, however, tend to remain in darkness.
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These infamous arachnids were thought to have arrived in Devon around 1879 from the Canary Islands.
Coming in a 7-14mm shiny black body, with pale markings on their stomachs, these spiders feast on flies and other small insects. Their web formation is very scatty and their silk strands can be found all year round. The name, ‘False Widow’, comes from the fact that they’re often mistaken for the dangerous Black Widow spider. Though their bite isn’t nearly as deadly, they do come from the same arachnid family.
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It’s not commonly known, but Britain has its own version of the infamously terrifying Huntsman Spider. Ours is known as the Green Huntsman. Luckily, this spider is very rare and is only a mere 15mm in comparison to the much larger and daunting 30cm figure of the Huntsman Spider.
The Green Huntsman gets its name from its hunting method; it camouflages itself within green shrubbery before pouncing on its prey of small insects. This spider can be found in woodland areas, parks and anywhere mossy and green.
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This spider is often found underneath stones and logs in British gardens throughout the year. It has a large, fat, round body with yellow and brown patches on its stomach. Measuring in at around 15mm, its eggs are diamond white and the females are usually found guarding them.
Other Lace Webbed Spiders may look like the image pictured below:
However, there are essentially two kinds, or, ‘versions’ – if it is found in a house it’s usually Amaurobius similis, if you find it outdoors, it’s likely to be Amaurobius fenestralis. The differentiation in the Latin names is because it was later discovered that there were two different species of Lace Webbed Spiders.
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This eight-legged menace has 340 degree vision and is capable of leaping distances more than 40 times its own body length. They come in a range of colours, including brown with black markings. The picture conveys a bold red and black colour scheme. However, despite their scary appearance, these spiders are not poisonous.
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Found in many parts of the UK, these spiders are usually discovered in large numbers – especially around April and October.
Much like the Huntsman, they prefer to chase their prey rather than trap them in a web.
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When it comes to the Running Crab Spider, males and females are separated in appearance. The male spiders adopt a black body and heady, while the female spiders adopt a beige appearance.
These spiders are found in both England and Wales. They commonly reside in grassy areas and low growing vegetation. At 5mm, these spiders are small. They eat a meagre diet of insects and catch them by chasing them down and ensnaring them in a web.
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Measuring at a whopping 120mm, this is the most common spider you’re likely to find in your house. They’re very fast over a short distance but rapidly run out of energy. These spiders build large sheet-like webs and are usually found in the darker corners of your house.
These spiders’ bites do contain venom, though you’ll be very glad to know that they do not usually pose a threat to humans.
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These spiders are one of the most common groups in Britain, with thousands of species in it. These fall within the smaller spider category, coming in at 5mm long, they’re very easy to miss, unlike much larger spiders such as the Cardinal Spider.
They get their interesting name from fairy tales and folklore. People used to believe that if you got one of these spiders caught within your hair, it would bring you good look and fortune.
These spiders are harmless to humans and are not aggressive in nature.
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Common Garden Spider / Cross Spider
Many people are confused when they hear that garden spiders/cross spiders have varying colours and sometimes even shapes. This can make them hard to identify but nonetheless, it’s interesting to study their different body shapes and patterns!
The Common Garden Spider is found exactly where you’d expect, the garden! They’re fairly small and the females are often bigger than the males, with some reaching 6mm.
These spiders are seen more frequently between March and October and prefer to make nests in warm areas such as green houses. Their diet is a simple mix of flies and other small insects.
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Yellow Sac Spider
Coming in with a body-length of around 1/4 inch for both males and females, this spider falls on the smaller side of common UK spiders. Many people believe this spider to be white or ‘see-through’ when in fact, it’s actually a pale yellow.
Their diet consists of other smaller spiders and tiny insects. They’re commonly found in damp garden areas, including mossy patches and leaf piles.
The most disturbing fact about this spider is that if food supplies are low, they will eat their own young!
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Marbled Orb Weaver Spider
These spiders are usually seen between May and October, usually residing in vegetation, damp, mossy areas and other woodland regions. They get their name from their ornate marbled pattern on their abdomen.
There are, however, two varieties of this spider. One is marbled all over, while the other has a
cream or yellow-like patch (pictured below). These spiders – though they may look strange – are common in the UK, coming in at 10-14mm.
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Four Spot Weaver Spider
While female Four Spot Weavers can grow up to 15mm, males usually reach half that size (6-8mm). Though they are usually found in the summer months, they have been known to pop up around October and November.
Like other Weaver spiders, they’re usually found in vegetation, specifically long grass and/or bushes.
Although their distinctive pattern might make them seem somewhat rare, they’re actually very common. Their colours range from yellow, green, orange, red or brown. They’re easily identified by their four white spots on their abdomen, hence their name.
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Tube Web Spider
Mainly found between June and October, the Tube Web Spider gets its name from the tube-like silk it spins. The entrance to the tube is usually encased by silk trip wires, which almost represent the spokes of a wheel. This alerts the spider to any nearby prey.
This is a nocturnal spider that prefers to settle within outside walls, wooden faces and other holes it can lay its eggs in. While they’re not dangerously venomous, their bite can pack a punch, so don’t mess around with one of these!
Coming in at a somewhat small size of 4-5mm, the Sheetweb Spider is usually found between May and October.
They’re usually found in low vegetation, but aren’t shy of finding their way into houses.
Sheetweb spiders (also called Hammock Spiders) are dark brown with variable white/pearl coloured markings (usually resembling a circle) around their abdomen.
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Spiders on YouTube
There are many videos on YouTube that dive into the world of spiders, one of our favourites is Levkin’s 10 Most Common Spiders in the UK.
In his video, Levkin goes into detail about the types of spiders that are commonly found in the UK. Many of them pose no threat to humans, but we wouldn’t advise that you go poking around the gardens irritating them!
The Cardinal Spider
The Cardinal Spider will grow 20mm on average, which is daunting in itself. However, these spiders are not aggressive, nor are they dangerous. The name comes from the rumour that Cardinal Thomas Woolsey was terrified by this species at Hampton Court back in the 16th century.
Although thought to be harmless to humans, their size and generally sinister look grants them a bad reputation. Bites from these are rare and painless, so don’t worry!
That completes my list for the most common and well-known spiders in the UK. Are there any arachnids that I’ve missed? Maybe you’ve run into a couple of spiders not mentioned on this list, let me know in the comments below!
*PLEASE NOTE: Although Ames Group Ltd have been in the pest control business for over 20 years and have years of experience in dealing with spiders. We can’t take responsibility for information provided online when identifying your spider. So, please take our advice at your own risk.
What Spider is this? UK
The following images have been sent in by photographers, passersby and various other people who have bumped into our friendly arachnids during their travels!
You will need to check your bed once you’ve read our definitive list of British pests!
90% of people in the U.K don't know they have at least one of these pests in their house! We polled a selection of the public and pest control agencies to create our monster list of British pests and you wont believe number 3!