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spider webs on a covent garden sign
Photograph: Matt Rakowski / Shutterstock

Horny spiders have come to claim London

What’s up with all those webs?

Chiara Wilkinson
Written by
Chiara Wilkinson
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You might have noticed an influx of large spider webs invading gardens, bushes and sheds across London. Usually, a chubby-bodied, fuck-off arachnid will be chilling in the middle. What’s the deal with all these eight-legged friends at the moment?

Unfortunately, Time Out doesn’t have an in-house arachnologist, so we turned to some spider experts to find out exactly what’s going on. In a nutshell: it’s officially spider season.  

The ones we’re seeing outside are most likely common garden spiders: Araneus diadematus, if you want to get fancy. They hang out wherever there’s a good structure to build their large, spiralling ‘orb webs’ on. They can grow up to the size of a thumbnail and nearly always have a white cross on their back. 

a garden spider in a web
Photograph: Dietmar Rauscher / Shutterstock

Dr Geoff Oxford has been a spider enthusiast for 15 years and works for the British Arachnological Society.

‘The reason we get really big webs at this time of year is because the females get large because they’ve mated and are full of eggs,’ Oxford told us. ‘They were still around when they were smaller, but they just weren’t noticed as much.’

Then there’s the inside ones. Those black lurkers that creep into your bathtub and tickle your face while you sleep, preying on your sanity. Again, there’s no more of them around than normal: they’re just more visible. And more spermy. 

Dave Clarke is the head of invertebrates at London Zoo. According to Clarke, we’re about to see more house spiders around because they’ve started to reach maximum size and the males are out on the pull. ‘While searching for a mate they are so active you are bound to see one or two running across the carpet,’ he said. 

A common house spider
Photograph: Christine Bird / Shutterstock

After a month or so, they will have copped off and then the males die, with spider mating season usually rounding up in October. 

It’s worth remembering that no matter how creepy these guys look, scientifically they’ll cause you no harm: they’re just horny fuckers. They’re here to guzzle up flies and have a good time, rather like me on a night out. 

Here’s London’s best (non-spider-based) nightlife this weekend

Here are 17 of London’s most gloriously green parks.

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