Eight-legged stowaway finds new home at Alfriston zoo

RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley and Drusillas Park's Angela Hale with Huntsman spider found at Seventies BMX Distribution
RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley and Drusillas Park's Angela Hale with Huntsman spider found at Seventies BMX Distribution

A giant stowaway spider that travelled from Taiwan to St Leonards On Sea in a shipping container has been rehomed at Drusillas Park in Alfriston following an RSPCA rescue.

The huntsman spider gave staff working at the Seventies BMX parts company in St Leonards quite a fright when they discovered it lurking in a shipment container from Asia.

Warehouse manager Joe Woodburn was unloading boxes when his colleague spotted the seven inch spider.

He said at first they thought the spider was plastic but as it basked in the sunshine, it began to warm up and move about.

Joe continued: “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.

“I thought it was plastic at first as it wasn’t moving, but the minute it was in the sunlight it started to warm up and 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 huntsman spider was collected by the RSPCA on the same day before being delivered to its new home at Drusillas Park on Thursday (November 7).

Angela Hale, from Drusillas Park, said: “I am really excited to have this fantastic creature in our care; it’s not every day that a spider this big is brought to us.

“Giant huntsman spiders are found all over the tropics and have exceptionally long legs that spread out to the side and this is why they are sometimes called crab spiders.

“They are not dangerous or aggressive but can move extremely fast if disturbed. I am sure it would have given the guys in the warehouse a bit of a fright when they found it.”

RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley, who delivered the spider to Drusillas Park, said he was not surprised the creature had survived the journey.

He said: “Spiders can survive a long time without food and water.

“The cold is going to be the main problem for them but it probably survived the journey because the weather has been fairly mild.”