'Giant' huntsman spider terrifies removalists after hitching a ride to Britain

The 'handsome' huntsman spider had travelled to Surrey all the way from Brisbane.  Photo: RSPCA

The 'handsome' huntsman spider had travelled to Surrey all the way from Brisbane. Photo: RSPCA

Burly British removalists were left terrified when a huntsman spider emerged from a shipping container they were unloading in Surrey.

The BBC reports the arachnid was the "size of a guinea pig", causing one of the men to flee in fright.

However, British RSPCA officer Annie Janes said the huntsman was the one lucky to be alive after surviving the 16,000-kilometre journey from Australia.

The spider was found among outdoor furniture parts stowed with the belongings of a family relocating from Brisbane to the town of Merstham, south of London.

Dave Aldridge, a manager at Britannia Movers International, caught the huntsman after one of his colleagues ran out of the container.

Huntsman spiders can have a leg span of up to 15 centimetres. Photo: Supplied

Huntsman spiders can have a leg span of up to 15 centimetres. Photo: Supplied

"I had three guys unloading, one ran about two miles up the road when he first saw it," he told the BBC.

"He's a handsome, furry guy. I caught him in a lunch box and took him home for my six-year-old son to see while waiting for the RSPCA to pick him up.

"We've had a few creatures in our containers over the years, including a lizard, but he's definitely the biggest spider."

The Australian huntsman can have a leg span of up to 15 centimetres and, although a bite can be painful, it is non-venomous.

Ms Janes said the spider found insects to eat while trapped in the shipping container for three months.

Huntsman spiders often go inside homes. Photo: Supplied

Huntsman spiders often go inside homes. Photo: Supplied

"He was about the size of my two hands put together, so quite something to look at," Ms Janes said.

"From the empty locust shells found in the container it seems he has thankfully been able to find food during that length of time, but it's a long time to go without water, and he's lucky he didn't get squished by any boxes or furniture."

The huntsman was taken to the Heathrow Animal Reception in Hounslow, which will arrange for it to be rehomed with a spider specialist.

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