If you don't like spiders, look away NOW!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 23 April 2011 15:47

So I'm poking around a wall in a park in Chichester looking directly at the biggest spider I have ever seen in Britain in the wild (no kidding!), but how did this all come to be? Well, I knew I was going to be doing a farm survey today and I would finish up near Chichester around lunch time. I was tempted by the Black Stork on the other side of the New Forest but I didn't fancy another 100 mile car journey and I'd like to do the New Forest properly, not rushing around after some bird. I needed something more local to satisfy my daily natural history fix, so I tried an experiment. I posted this request on Twitter:

'After my survey tomorrow I am going to be in West Sussex near Chichester. Anyone know any rare or unusual wildlife I could see there?'

I got a response from none other than Buglife's Matt Shardlow. Amongst other things he told me that Chichester was a good site for Segestria florentina. I found what I thought would be a suitable looking wall and began my search. Plenty of Steatoda nobilis and Armadillidium depressum, two spiders with large chelicerae but they very quickly retreated into their holes. After about an hour's searching, I found one and using a twig to emulate a fly trapped in the web, I lured it slowly out. A leg came out that could only belong to a MASSIVE spider and when I finally saw its whole body I have to say I was quite surprised and a little jumpy. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's the biggest spider I have seen. Roberts states the females can be up to 2.2 cm long, coupled with the huge thick hairy legs and the formidable looking green 'fangs', this is one mean looking spider. I couldn't get enough of it and showed a few interested people that walked past that didn't think I was a weirdo. Here are the best shots, enjoy!
You get the idea.What an amazing sight and a big thank you to Matt! I heard my first Swifts too and looked up to see six birds flying very high. I'm pretty excited after all the adrenalin from seeing that spider. If it was half the size it still would have been big! That will definitely be in the top ten highlights of 2011.

4 Response to "If you don't like spiders, look away NOW!"

Crafty Green Poet Says:

that's a huge spider, magnificent fangs its got!

Sarah P Says:

Fab! Is that on the city walls somewhere? I spent a while watching Dolomedes the other day.

Tom Says:

I remember as a kid, aged about 11/12 (back in 1980/81), I spoke to a man that was looking for spiders in the walls of the car park behind M&S....completely forgot about it until your post.

Anonymous Says:

The wall of my house is full of tunnel like webs ,if you go outside at night and shine a tourch there are masses of spiders poking out of these holes ,I hate them, you are welcome to investigate,is it possible to get rid of them without killing them.....m Bristol

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