Not meaning to be someone jumping on the media bandwagon but from the photos on the net I suspect this may be a False Widow I have just found in my 18-month-old sons bedsheets before putting him to bed....Hope it isn't but can someone confirm if it is or not?
Yes this is a False Widow spider and is mature male example of the Noble False Widow, Steatoda nobilis, which is the species principally implicated in the recent media reports. That said there is no need to panic as this is not a 'deadly' spider by any stretch of the imagination.
They are known to bite and generally this is no worse than a wasp sting; however, although regularly reported the likelihood is still very low. You are still far more likely to be stung by a wasp.
My rule of thumb is that I am happy with these living in my garden or on the outside if the house, any found setting up home indoors, or wandering males, are tipped outside. That obviously includes this fellow, but the likelihood of finding another in your sons bedclothes has to be even longer odds now you have found this one. Now you know what they look like it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye out in bedrooms for any more wandering males to reassure yourself.
For further info. on False Widow spiders please see the following links:
Could you tell me where you have seen this by forwarding a grid reference or post code to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as it is valuable to know where these are being found so we can get a better picture of the current UK distribution of this species.
Thanks very much for getting back to me so quickly. I had only read an article about them a couple of days ago on the Daily Mail site, and as soon as I saw it I was pretty sure it was one. I was hoping it wasn't as it's not going to help me get the best nights sleep tonight both worrying if there are anymore in my sons bedroom - and mine for that matter! At least they aren't deadly I suppose!
I live in Hythe, Kent (about 30 seconds walk from the beach). I will send the details over to you in a minute that you have requested. Once again many thanks for the quick reply and the re-assurances about this species.