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Creeping is real! Giant hunting spider terrifies London primary school children after walking from Africa

  • A giant species of spider from Africa has been found at a primary school in London
  • The staff screamed as the hunting spider jumped out of the banana box

A giant species of spider from Africa has been found at a London primary school after traveling across the UK on children’s bananas.

Dani Zenith, a teaching assistant at the Croydon school, said staff screamed when the huntsman spider jumped out of the banana box.

She said: “We’re just a regular primary school and we get free stuff sent to us from our local children’s council.

“We were unwrapping the bananas to distribute in the classrooms and the spider jumped out.

“He was a hunter and he literally jumped out of the box – he probably jumped three feet.

A giant species of African spider has been found at a London primary school after taking a stroll across the UK with children's bananas.

A giant species of African spider has been found at a London primary school after taking a stroll across the UK with children’s bananas.

Dani Zenith, a teaching assistant at the Croydon school, said staff screamed when the huntsman spider jumped out of the banana box.

Dani Zenith, a teaching assistant at the Croydon school, said staff screamed when the huntsman spider jumped out of the banana box.

What is a hunting spider?

Huntsman spiders are large, long-legged spiders that can measure up to 6 inches.

They are often confused with tarantulas because they are also hairy.

Arachnids are found in Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the Mediterranean Sea, Florida and Hawaii.

As adults, they do not build webs, but instead hunt and forage.

Female hunters produce a flat, oval, white silk egg sac that can hold up to 200 eggs. They can be quite aggressive when protecting their babies.

“Officers and ladies in their twenties were screaming and a few of us staff in our forties wondered what was going on.

“I happily caught that spider while they were screaming and freaking out. We weren’t afraid – we’re kind of enthusiastic anyway.

The creature was Heteropoda venatoria, a member of the hunting spider family, or Sparassidae, which are famous for their size.

And if the box was anything to go by, she traveled some 3,000 miles to the school from her home in the Ivory Coast.

Ms Zenith, who uses a pseudonym because of the nature of her work, said: “I knew straight away it wasn’t your giant house spider found inside.

“Myself and another member of staff who really likes spiders – she has her own book of spiders – wanted to find out what a spider is and is native to the UK.

“But every time I put it in a Google search, which I know you can’t always rely on, it kept coming back as a hunter.”

Looking for answers, Dani turned to a Natural History Museum Facebook page.

It soon turned out that Google got it right.

The creature was a Heteropoda venatoria, a member of the hunting spider family, or Sparassidae, which are famous for their size.

The creature was a Heteropoda venatoria, a member of the hunting spider family, or Sparassidae, which are famous for their size.

If the box was anything to go by, she traveled some 3,000 miles to the school from her home in the Ivory Coast

If the box was anything to go by, she traveled some 3,000 miles to the school from her home in the Ivory Coast

Heteropoda venatoria, sometimes called the pantropical hunting spider, can have legs up to five inches long when fully grown.

But this specimen was a juvenile male, estimated by Dani to be six centimeters in diameter.

And although venomous species can deliver a painful bite, they are not considered dangerous to humans and survive on a diet of insects.

To the schoolboys, he was a visitor like any other.

Dani, 45, said: “This for me was a positive, fascinating, educational discovery and the children and I loved learning about this stowaway.

“In no way was it scary or negative or anything to worry about.”

She added: “I just opened a box of bananas and pulled out this magical creature.”

The spider has now been relocated.