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Spiders The Size Of Your Palm On The Rise In England

Dominic Smithers

| Last updated 

Spiders The Size Of Your Palm On The Rise In England

Spiders the size of a the palm of your hand are on the rise in England.

The fen raft spider was once on the verge of extinction but thanks to the work of being carried out by conservationists, they are back on the up.

A scheme led by the RSPB, the British Arachnological Society, Suffolk and Sussex Wildlife Trusts, Natural England and the Broads Authority has allowed them to return to these shores in large numbers.

The impressive - and not at all terrifying creatures - grow up to 20mm in length and boast a span of 70mm - including their legs.

According to experts, the fen raft, which has a dark body and cream stripes down the side, is the largest of all 660 species of spiders in the UK.

Due to the fact that it was close to being lost forever, it is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act.

The fen raft spider is the largest species in the UK. Credit: Alamy
The fen raft spider is the largest species in the UK. Credit: Alamy

According to reports, until 2010 there were only three known populations of the fen raft spider in the UK.

And in 2012, they were released onto the RSPB reserve at Strumpshaw Fen in the Norfolk Broads in the hope that they would enjoy a revival.

But it's taken a good while for them to take hold, with just 184 nursery webs counted between July and October a couple of years later.

However, all good things come to those who wait, and a report released by the RSPB last week revealed that they were now thriving and in their thousands across the country.

The RSPB's Tim Strudwick said: "This is one of the UK's rarest invertebrates, as beautiful as any, and we are really proud of the part our reserve and team has played in its recovery.

"The females are impressive in size, but elegant and quite beautiful, even to an arachnophobe (like me!).

"The spiders are only seen in the grazing marsh ditches, and are fairly shy, but they are easy to find from June to September when the mature females have their young."

Now, while the fen raft might sound pretty scary, it's got nothing on this guy.

Last year, a man found one of the world's most venomous - and absolutely massive - spiders under his bed.

Photographer Gil Wizen noticed tiny spiders appearing in his bedroom and decided to take a look under his bed to see where they were coming from when he got a very nasty surprise.

He was staying at a reserve in Napo, Ecuador at the time and, incredibly, he was greeted by a huge Brazilian wandering spider and its offspring.

Perhaps even more incredibly, the image named 'The spider room' won Mr Wilzen a Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for Urban Wildlife.

Topics: Spider, UK News

Dominic Smithers
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