Hi all, on the weekend I took my bunny out of its hutch to put in it's run. He was absolutely normal. 2 hours later I went to give him a cuddle and he was lame with a sticky residue around his mouth (perhaps he had been frothing at the mouth). Without hesitation I rushed him straight to the vet. Unfortunately by the time we got there it was too late the vet didn't have a clue what the cause was. When looking in his hutch we found a spider which looks identical (if not then extremely similar) to a false widow lying in the corner where I had taken him from. Could this have been the cause of death? Please help!!!
Yes, your spider is Steatoda bipunctata, also known as the rabbit hutch spider because that's the sort of situation in which it likes to live. It never used to be thought of as a problem although with all the fuss in the media about other Steatoda species (false widows) suspicion has fallen on bipunctata too. However, it's a common and long-established species in this country and is harmless. See -
Thank you very much for that, very interesting. I'm a bit confused (please excuse the stupidity). You started your reply with "yes" so does that mean u believe this spider to have caused harm to my bunny?
My 'Yes' was confirmation of your identification as a false widow (in which S. bipunctata is often included). When I said they're harmless I meant to humans - they're very common and if they were capable of doing us significant harm I reckon we'd know for sure by now. I'd be surprised if they could harm a rabbit too though I do recall seeing a newspaper article in which they were suspected of doing just that. But I think it was just a typical media scare story.