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Stowaway! Giant fast-moving huntsman spider with a nasty bite lands in UK

The seven-inch arachnid reached East Sussex in delivery of BMX parts from Taiwan

A speedy seven inch spider with a nasty bite gave workers at a British warehouse a fright after it arrived from Asia.

The huntsman spider, described as an arachnophobe's worst nightmare, reached East Sussex after stowing away in a shipping container packed with BMX parts in Taiwan.

Stunned staff at Seventies BMX Distribution in St Leonards-on-Sea were unpacking the delivery boxes when they caught sight of the arachnid, which would have been locked up for around six weeks as it travelled thousands of miles.

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.

"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 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."

RSPCA inspector Zoe Ballard, who was called out to deal with the animal, said she had never come across anything like it before and admitted she was not the biggest fan of the creepy-crawly.

"I got the call through as collection of a tarantula, but as soon as I saw it I knew it wasn't a tarantula," she said.

"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 spider has now been rehomed at Drusillas Zoo Park in Alfriston, near Eastbourne, but RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley said it does not generally pose a big threat.

"Huntsman spiders can give you a nasty bite, but they aren't likely to cause too much harm unless you suffer an allergic reaction," he said.

"However, because they are so big and they run around so quickly, they are probably an arachnophobe's worst nightmare.

"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."