Tuesday 18th July 2017 started out just like any other normal working day in the warehouse of our central office in Merstham until Andre spotted an 18cm (size of a guinea pig) huntsman spider in a shipping container of family belongings from Australia. Paul was seen running out of the container at a speed even Usain Bolt would have been impressed with, none of the warehouse guys would go near the spider so it was up to Steve Irwin’s very own mentor – Dave Aldridge to come to the rescue and wrestle the “handsome critter” into a lunch container.
The Australian giant huntsman spider managed to survive 10,000 miles of travel over three months and RSPCA officer Annie Janes said it was “lucky to be alive”.
The BBC have very kindly let slip that Dave is 55, though Dave is adamant this fact is wrong and stated, “He’s a handsome, furry guy. I caught him in a lunch box and took him home for my seven-year-old son to see while waiting for the RSPCA to pick him up.” Understandably Dave’s long-suffering wife Janine made him keep the spider in his car boot.
The non-venomous spider was found at the back of the container, stowed away in garden swing parts.
“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.”
It was taken to the Heathrow Animal Reception in Hounslow, which will arrange for it to be rehomed to a specialist.
Dave added: “We’ve had a few creatures in our containers over the years, including a lizard, but he’s definitely the biggest spider.”
The giant huntsman variety can grow to up to 30cm in leg span and Dave said: “I don’t think I’d be so brave if he was that big”.
The news of Dave’s giant huntsman spider has gone global with stories appearing in Australia, New Zealand and our national newspapers such as The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express to name just a few plus the National Geographic magazine! Dave has taken calls from overseas radios stations, and an editor of a children’s publication. So look out Kardashians there could be a new reality star coming your way!