It seems that 71 year old Les Fryer has spotted a deadly funnel-web spider outside his shed in Gloucester.

The report in the Express also includes a rather ‘nice’ video of the beastie in question feeding on a hapless moth.

The funnel-web spider is of the hexathelidae family and has a fearsome reputation of a deadly bite rearing up and attacking rather than taking flight. However, many of these are actually myths. But it is still a beastie to be avoided at all costs.

There are about forty species of funnel-web spider and they are found in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. They grow to between half an inch and two inches in size and their fangs are long enough and powerful enough to penetrate fingernails and soft shoes.

The female funnel-web spider can survive for up to twenty years and they stay within their burrow for their entire lives just jumping out to grab passing prey such as insects and even small lizards and frogs. It is generally the male spiders that are found wandering about, especially at night and when it is raining or has just stopped.

The largest male spiders are thought to be the most venomous.

The spider Les found in his garden shows the white stripes on its upper legs, a distinctive feature of the funnel-web spider. He also worryingly found a four inch web in his shed, which had the famous funnel shape to it.

If this is a funnel-web spider it will be the first one found in the wild in the UK. It is thought it may be an escaped pet. But there is also a possibility that it may be tube spider (segestria florentina), which is a common inhabitant of Europe and makes funnel shaped webs as well. A tube spider’s bite is painful but not lethal.

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