1,300 Students Evacuated From School Following False Widow Spider Sighting

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 18 Sep 2021 14:07
1,300 Students Evacuated From School Following False Widow Spider SightingAlamy

A whole school was evacuated in the wake of someone spotting a false widow spider.

The spider was spotted at Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton, UK, yesterday, September 17, leading to 1,300 of its students being evacuated.


While false widow spiders can bite, they reportedly rarely attack humans.

The school defended its decision to send all year eight, nine, and 10 students home, however, saying that it was ‘simply acting with caution’.

False widow spider (Alamy)Alamy

A statement issued by the school read:


We have today found a false widow spider in school. Some of you may remember this has happened in the past.

Pest control are on their way and the area is isolated, but to be cautious we would recommend that your child is collected as soon as you are able for years 8, 9 and 10.

Year 12 and 13 will be dismissed with consent. We will keep year 7 in school in a separate building away from the spider sighting.

It continued to say that there is no cause for concern and that the school would reopen as normal on Monday. However, according to Mirror Online, the school’s now set to reopen on Tuesday, September 21, instead.

Malcolm Arnold Academy in Northampton (Alamy)Alamy

As per the statement, this isn’t the only spider scare the school has had. The first one came in 2018 where an infestation was discovered in the technology centre department.


False widow spiders are often confused with their more dangerous counterpart – the black widow. According to National Geographic, a black widow’s bite is 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s, and can be fatal.

Meanwhile, false widow spiders ‘are not aggressive towards people’, Wildlife Trusts reports, and are only likely to bite a human if they’re roughly handled. The organisation compared its bite to that of a wasp sting.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Evacuation, Life, School, spider


  1. Mirror

    1,300 pupils evacuated from school after it shut down due to false widow spider sighting