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British woman returning from African jungle finds giant spider in backpack

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September 14, 2005 - FILE photo of a female Communal Huntsman spider at Sydney's Taronga Zoo . Found very commonly outdoors, these native Australian spiders become more active in spring, as temperatures rise and their favored prey becomes more available. (REUTERS)

A British woman returning from a trip to the African jungle didn’t realize she had brought back a native— a giant Huntsman spider-- in her backpack.  

Environmentalist Nora Serrat, 32, is used to dealing with wild creatures, and had just returned from working in a rain forest in Cameroon, when the spider scurried out of her bag, London’s Express newspaper reported.

The spider’s body measured about an inch and a half around, with long legs known for moving extremely quickly. Some Huntsman spiders can have a leg span of up to 12 inches. She was definitely a female because she was carrying an enormous egg sac, containing as many as 200 baby spiders.  

The insect caused a scene when it scooted out of Serrat’s bag at her office at the Rainforest Foundation in London last week. Fortunately, one of her co-workers stepped in to save the long-legged lady.

When the Foundation workers got over their initial fears, they became attached to the creature, even giving her the name "Hermoine.”

"Our office manager, Mateusz Wilkosz-- responsible for health and safety-- heroically took control and safely contained the spider in a large plastic box – making sure she came to no harm - and then hand delivered ‘Hermione’ and her eggs to the London Zoo that afternoon." Rainforest Foundation worker Rachel Agnew told ITV News.

"When we dropped her off, she was alive and apparently quite feisty. They gave her some water and her rather unexpected journey had apparently caused her no harm,” Agnew said.

This specific breed of spider is called the Huntsman because of the determined way it hunts its prey, instead of using a web to catch it, according to LiveScience.com. They do release venom when they bite, but are not considered life-threatening to humans.

Agnew added that the Rainforest Foundation aims to protect "all the wonderful species that call the rainforest home".

 

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