Northern Ireland

Big hairy spiders: do they count in your 'five-a-day'?

Image caption As the weather gets colder, spiders move into houses for shelter

They're big, they're hairy and they're moving into your house.

As the weather gets colder, people have noticed more and more large spiders around their homes.

But fear not, said former entomologist and self-professed friend of spiders, Paul Moore, the Northern Ireland variety are not dangerous.

They are merely looking for heat, a roof over their heads and a little love.

They may be big, Mr Moore told Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme, but they are not dangerous.

"You glance up from your newspaper and you think that is a mouse on the floor. Then you realise it is a spider... but you think that it shouldn't be that big," he said.

"The spiders running around at the minute are usually males in search of love. They have to mate and then the males die off, not through mating, it is just their time to die.

"The female will then eat them and utilise the body for the offspring next year."

Mr Moore said spiders get in through open windows and under doorways.

"All spiders bite, they all have venom, but our local spiders won't do any harm," he said. "We're a giant compared to them. When they see us coming, if they could scream, they would."

As for the rumour that, in a lifetime, you eat eight spiders.

Mr Moore said: "That is an average. Some people eat more, some fewer."