What does one usually find in a typical backpack? Books, extra clothes if travelling, supplies, spiders! The last one might sound a tad bit odd, but apparently this is what a British woman, on her trip back from the Cameroon jungle, discovered. A giant Huntsman spider had hitched a ride in the woman’s backpack and landed all the way in north London, UK.
It was 32-year-old environmentalist Nora Serrat who found the spider in her backpack. Serrat had been working in the jungles of Cameroon as part of her charity work the Rainforest Foundation. The Rainforest Foundation is responsible for helping the indigenous population of the Amazon and Central African forests and ensuring that their habitats are preserved and protected.
Serrat told reporters that the spider jumped out of a sleeping bag that was inside her backpack. All her equipment was in the car and that must have been when the spider crawled up inside. Serrat added that it is not impossible for such a thing to happen considering the places she visited on her two week trip, but she was surprised nonetheless. Serrat explained how she was not expecting such an event to occur and jumped in fright when it did.
Serrat was not the only one taken by surprise at such a sight. All her coworkers were stunned and taken aback as they watched the spider scurry out of Serrat’s backpack. Not all of them, however, were completely stunned. The office manager for Serrat’s department, Mateusz Wilkosz, quickly took control of the situation and captured the spider in a cardboard box. Serrat’s colleague, Rachel Agnew, told ITV News that Wilkosz, who is in charge of health and safety, safely contained the spider in the box to ensure it came to no harm.
What was so frightening about a little spider? Huntsman spiders are not as little as one might think. The spider found by Serrat had a body that measured around one and a half inches with long legs. Other huntsman spiders have also been known for having a leg span of as long as 12 inches. Their very name comes from their hunting capabilities. They are known to prey on scorpions, other insects and even bats. For this very reason, they are also seen as house spiders in many hotter countries as they serve as natural pest controllers.
What was more surprising was the fact that the huntsman spider was a female and apparently pregnant with almost 400 babies. Although after the initial fear, the spider grew on everyone and they became fond of it. They even went as far as naming the spider Hermoine. The spider was given water and looked after until being handed over to the London Zoo, who took responsibility for the spider.
Agnew said that she was delighted that the zoo responded as quickly as they did and that they would take care of the spider. Huntsman spiders are not indigenous to UK’s ecosystem but there has been one more known case of the spider being spotted. The spider might look big but it is stated that it is harmless to humans. They prefer staying away from humans and only attack when provoked or threatened. They are known for injecting venom into their prey, but the venom is not considered life threatening to humans. It would seem that all that scare at finding the giant spider in the backpack was just for nothing.
By Hammad Ali