April Fool's spider boards removed from Mousehold Heath

East Anglian Drop Spider information board

One of the boards about East Anglian Drop Spiders which appeared on Mousehold Heath on April Fool's Day. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

Signs for an elaborate prank about "drop spider" introduced at a Norwich beauty spot have been removed. 

Passers-by were given good cause to do a double take when two information boards warning of spiders the size of hands appeared on Mousehold Heath last week.

The professional looking boards said the East Anglian Drop Spider (Araneaus occumbo) has been introduced into the Norwich woodland.

Many were quick to note the boards appeared in time for April Fool's Day - a sigh of relief for arachnophobes. 

A Norwich City Council spokesman said they were not aware of any complaints being made about the prank but confirmed the signs have now been removed.

Mousehold Heath

Signs have appeared on trees on Mousehold Heath. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

For an authentic look, the boards contained the logos of Norfolk County Council, the RSPB, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Nature and the British Arachnological Society, giving all sorts of information about the eight-legged creature, including that it dropped from trees on to necks and loose clothing.

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There was a detailed history of the arachnid including photos of people in medieval times fighting off the spiders and its last sighting in 1646 recording in a book called Pseudodoxia epidemica. 

Those looking up the title will have found the title translates as 'vulgar errors' and urges people to use reason and science to refute belief in mythical creatures.

East Anglian Drop Spider information board

One of the boards which appeared on Mousehold Heath on April Fool's Day. - Credit: Dan Grimmer

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The boards read: "Waiting for movement on the ground layer, the drop spider typically looks for gaps or crevices into which it can drop, wiggle and hide away in wait for its prey.

"An open bag, pocket or loose clothing near the nape of the neck can often be mistaken by the drop spider as a safe place to land and has, in the past, been a source of conflict amongst humans and these generally gentle creatures.

"Although their bite can be incredibly painful, they only do so when provoked and there have been no fatal cases in the last 100 years."

Those trying to look for the spider may have spotted a number of model spiders on trees marked with warning posters. 

Another sign of the amusing joke was those that scanned the QR code on the fact boards were taken through to a GIF of a man trying to catch a massive spider on his ceiling.

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