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Friendly Spider Programme

Do you have a spider phobia?

Remove your fear of spiders with the Friendly Spider Programme at London Zoo

There is no good reason to be scared of spiders, they are harmless animals.

In fact, their survival depends on avoiding large, lumbering humans. However, millions of perfectly rational people are terrified of spiders. No matter how much they try to calm themselves, no matter how many times they tell themselves they are being silly, the response remains the same; sweating, nausea, panic, rapid heartbeat and worse. To ease or eliminate fear of spiders, sufferers must change the part of their mind most therapies don't reach - the subconscious mind.

The Friendly Spider Programme at London Zoo (FSP) is an afternoon course designed to ease or eliminate arachnophobia - fear of spiders. The programme combines practical information on spiders with group hypnosis. The course is run by the Zoo's Invertebrate Conservation Unit in collaboration with the Centre of Clinical Hypnosis.

Meet the FSP Team:

John Clifford, clinical hypnotherapist, begins the FSP by helping participants share their subconscious spider fears. Dave Clarke of London Zoo then provides the spider facts, proving that here really is nothing to be afraid of. This is followed by a relaxing hypnosis session where positive messages about spiders are implanted in the inner mind, to allow the subconscious to let go of the fear.

Then it's off to the Zoo's invertebrate exhibit (BUGS) to progressively encounter a range of spiders and be taught how to calmly catch British House Spiders. There is also a chance to meet Frieda or one of her friends, our famous Mexican red-kneed spiders and our wonderful London Zoo volunteers and Zoo Keepers.

It's a strange concept, losing a lifelong phobia in an afternoon, but experience shows that since the programme began in 1993 over 80% of participants report that they remain calm, confident and relaxed when they encounter a spider. Although success cannot be guaranteed, it's entirely possible that you too need never fear a spider again. Imagine that!

To reserve a place on the Friendly Spider Programme, please contact:

Friendly Spider Programme

London Zoo

Zoological Society of London

Regents Park



Telephone: 0207 449 6451

Email: [email protected]

or visit:

Spaces are limited and places must be booked in advance. The course costs £150.00 (£105.00 for concessions ie. students, senior citizens). An average of eight FSP sessions are run each year always on a Saturday afternoon from 2:45pm to 6:30 pm. You will be sent a map and schedule on booking your place.

Please mention us when you book. Thank you.

2020 Dates


April 11


May 9


June 6


July 4


August 1


August 29


September 26


Covid - 19 Notice

In line with the governments advice and guidelines we have suspended the FSP until further notice. If you are struggling with a spider phobia we are happy to run a session for you via Skype.