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A Giant Spider Traveled 10,000 Miles in a Swing Set

He saw the world, with all eight eyes.

A moving man took the spider home in a lunchbox to meet his six-year-old son before it was picked up by authorities.
A moving man took the spider home in a lunchbox to meet his six-year-old son before it was picked up by authorities. RSPCA

Like a guinea pig, it was seven inches long and furry. Unlike a guinea pig, it had eight legs.

Last week, British moving men found themselves scuttling away in fear after they discovered a stowaway—a huge huntsman spider—hidden among the parts of a swing set, according to a release from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). The arachnid had just completed the 10,000-mile journey from its native Brisbane, Australia, to Surrey, England.

Fortunately, he found some snacks for the three-month trip. Annie Janes, an RSPCA officer, said they’d found the spider nestled among empty locust shells. However, she said, “It’s a long time to go without water.” While such a long journey is unusual, it’s not unheard of. In the past, huntsman spiders have stowed away from Costa Rica to Scotland and Taiwan to East Sussex, England.

Huntsman spiders are nomadic by nature. They don’t make webs, but instead forage and hunt locusts, beetles, and small lizards. Some varieties are also open to unconventional kinds of transport. One gets around by cartwheeling or hand-springing at speeds of up to a yard a second.

The vagrant spider’s fate is yet to be determined. After a big drink of water on arrival, he was relocated to the Heathrow Animal Reception center in Hounslow, London. No word yet on where he goes next.