A plate-sized whopper of a spider that is easily bigger than any British spider has now taken up residence in the UK.
Described by the RSPCA as “an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare” the Giant Huntsman is known for its high-speed scuttling and fondness for living in people’s homes. Measuring a mighty SEVEN INCHES it has now been found in St Leonards-on-Sea, near Hastings, on the South coast of Britain, despite the fact it is supposed to be native to South-East Asia and Australia. The Giant Huntsman’s legs boast a 12 INCH span and twist forward in a crab-like fashion.
One alarming sighting happened when staff at a warehouse of a distribution company were opening crates from Taiwan. As they opened one crate, they spotted the enormous arachnid; the warehouse manager, Joe Woodburn, said: “My mate saw it on the box I was holding. He froze and couldn’t get his words out fast enough. It was as big as the palm of my hand. We managed to get it into a big plastic container where we kept it while we called the RSPCA.”
Originally, the staff in the warehouse thought that the spider was a fake or a toy, but they soon realised it was very real. Mr Woodburn said: “I thought it was plastic at first, but the minute it was in the sunlight it started to warm up and it was running around and jumping up the side of the box. We get containers like this all the time and we have always joked that one day we’d open one up to find some kind of ferocious animal in there, but I never expected to find a spider as big as this.”
The RSPCA were called; Inspector Zoe Ballard was cautious in dealing with the Giant Huntsman: “I managed to secure the spider in the container and took it to the RSPCA’s wildlife centre nearby, but I must admit I was worried all the way that it would get out and escape in my van.”
Inspector Tony Woodley said on behalf of the RSPCA: “Huntsman spiders can give you a nasty bite, but they aren’t likely to cause too much harm unless you suffer an allergic reaction. However, because they are so big and they run around so quickly, they are probably an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare.”