A giant stowaway spider that travelled from Taiwan to St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex in a shipping container has been rescued by us and rehomed to Drusillas Park, after warehouse staff had the fright of their life.

Huntsman spider © RSPCARSPCA Inspector Zoe Ballard arrived at the Seventies BMX parts company on Moorhurst Road, on Monday morning after shocked staff discovered a huntsman spider lurking in their delivery while unpacking a shipment of boxes from Taiwan.

Warehouse manager Joe Woodburn was unloading boxes from a shipping container when his colleague spotted the five-inch arachnid.

He 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 of 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.”

I’ve never come across a spider like this before

The huntsman spider was picked up by Inspector Ballard, who admitted she isn’t the biggest fan of eight-legged creepy crawlies.

She said:

Huntsman spider © RSPCA“I got the call through as collection of a tarantula, but as soon as I saw it I knew it wasn’t a tarantula. I’ve been called out to collect a scorpion in the past, after someone accidentally brought it back from their holiday, but I’ve never come across a spider like this before.


“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.”

The huntsman spider was yesterday (Thursday) taken to his new home at Drusillas Park, near Alfriston, by RSPCA Inspector Tony Woodley.

He said:

“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.”

It would have given the guys a bit of a fright

Inspector Tony Woodley and spider © Drusillas ParkHe said he wasn’t surprised that the spider had survived, despite being locked in the shipping container for six weeks while it made its way across the oceans from Taiwan to St Leonards-on-Sea.

Tony added:

“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.”

Drusillas Park’s spider expert Angela Hale welcomed the spider’s arrival, and one of her first jobs will be to determine whether it is male or female. She is already welcoming suggestions for names for the exotic new arrival.

She said:

“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.”

Find out more about what we do and read more about our rescue work.

We can’t do it without you

The RSPCA is only able to carry out unusual rescues like this thanks to donations from the public.

Please donate online or text HERO to 88010 to give £3. Text costs £3 plus one standard network rate message.