BRITAIN risks being overrun by snakes and spiders this autumn.
Exotic rescue centres say they are "chockablock" with abandoned snakes, lizards and tortoises as hard-up owners dump them.
They are being forced to turn down any more – leading to fears the creatures are being freed to roam wild.
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Staff at Reptilia Exotic Animal Rescue in Ossett, near Leeds, said soaring energy bills have meant many owners cannot afford to supply the creatures with the constantly-heated habitats many need to survive.
Manager Kayleigh Firth said: "It’s really upsetting but we can’t take any more in.
“People travel from up to two hours away to drop off animals.”
And the bad news doesn't stop there, with experts fearing false widow spiders will take over our homes by using their super-strength venom to kill weaker species of arachnids.
Researchers at the National University of Ireland Galway revealed Britain will be home to more false widow spiders than ever before because of their power and ability to adapt to surroundings.
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Their study found venom from our only poisonous spider is up to 230 times more potent than other species of Northern European spiders which it typically encounters when crawling around our homes.
Dr Michael Dugon, senior author of the study, said: “Over the years, we have learned a lot about the Noble false widow and its venom.
“This study is another important step to understand the true impact this species has on the ecosystems it invades throughout the world.”
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