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Who is this Overton chap?

I suspect that many of you are wondering what makes me think I can offer advice on keeping tarantulas, scorpions, snails and snakes?

Some of you may think that I run this site to boost my ego, or to show how smart I am, or to make loads-of-money?

Well the details below give answers to the above questions and also show that apart from the hobbyists that I try and help, large organisations and educational establishments contact me for information and help, and when I'm unable to offer advice I point them in the direction of someone that has that specific knowledge.

Who am I?

I'm a regular chap with a wife, a son, and loads of animals, (Arachnids: Tarantulas and Scorpions, Snake, Tropical Fish, Cold-water Fish, Dog, Guinea Pigs, Rabbit, Budgies, Giant African Land Snails, Stick Insects) that likes to try and help.

I'm a member of BTS (British Tarantula Society). I've been a BTS member and have kept arachnids since 1988 (I have had a number of articles published in the BTS journal).

This site was originally started in January 1997 and moved to its current home (here) in November 1997.

The alt.pets.arachnids Usenet newsgroup was started by myself in 1997 and I maintain the FAQs for it.

I live in the town of Horsham in the county of West Sussex, England. (One of the few places in the world where you can experience all four seasons in one day without moving!) 

Why do I run this site?

For The Money?

Well you'd be wrong, I don't make any profit from this site. The information on this site is offered at no cost. I have a small amount of advertising to help try and cover the costs of running this site.

For The Publicity, or Because You Know More Than Everyone Else?

I am not a dealer or an arachnological/herpetological expert, and my own articles are written from personal experience.  Constructive feedback received is acted on and is very welcome. There are a number of other respected contributors of material used on this site, and I'm always looking for more good information to republish, with due credit.

Because I've Got Nothing Better To Do?

I work full-time, and maintain this site in my spare time. On average I spend at least an hour every evening maintaining and improving it. Acting on suggestions that I receive from visitors, answering emails, and putting together the free monthly newsletter (Arachnid Arena). I also write anti-virus (and other) software, and research, write, and present papers at Anti-Virus/Security conferences (Worldwide) and write specialist articles when the time allows.

Then Why Do You Run It?

Simply because I like to help people and I am fascinated by arachnids, snails and snakes. I also want to try and show people that these creatures are generally not the 'killers' (not the snails of course) that they are made out to be, and that keeping these creatures does not make you a 'weirdo' (I was considered eccentric before I kept arachnids, but it is not a required trait for keeping them).


Who Have You Helped/Advised?


Thousands visit this site every month (over 50,000 each month), that equates to over 750,000 (thre-quarters-of-a-million) hits a month.


I have given talks to many schools.

The following have asked for permission to use articles from my site for course material:

  • Texas Tech University.

In 2001 I was  filmed (interviewed) as part of a documentary on 'Arachnophobes and Arachnophiles' by students of a London University as part of their degree work.  My arachnids were also filmed and are all natural actors (shame the same couldn't be said of me).


  • The Australian Red Cross

  • The Scouting Association. (Both Scouts and Beavers).

  • Several articles published in the British Tarantula Society Journals.

  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF).


  • British Broadcasting Corporation

  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC Wildlife Section).

  • Daily Mirror

  • Discovery Channel.

  • Fuji TV (about Giant African Land Snails)

  • United Productions. I helped with the Giants series (the edition on Tarantulas).

  • contacted me for details and photos for an article that they produced on the Goliath Tarantula (Theraphosa blondi).

  • Several other TV/Production companies have contacted me for information on Snakes, Scorpions and Tarantulas.

  • London Weekend television was working on a new wildlife documentary for ITV and contacted me for information about several spiders native to the UK as well as one non-native species that has now set up home in the south of the UK.

Contact details can be found here.

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Last Updated: March 05, 2007