An Enormous And Terrifying Spider Species That Can Crawl On Water Was Saved From Extinction By Environmentalists

When Americans hear the name “Great Britain” many of them probably think of fish and chips while imagining a picture of Big Ben. While Britain may also conjure images of stoic guardsmen who are not allowed to laugh despite wearing tall caps made of black fur, the country is also notable for its long history of cultural and political achievements. However, one thing that Americans, or even the British themselves, don’t associate with Great Britain are gigantic spiders. Exceptionally large and exotic-looking spiders often pop into people’s minds when thinking of Australia, but how could giant spiders exist in Great Britain? Isn’t it too cold for spiders to survive in the northern European country? While it is true that Britain is home to a relatively small amount of both insect and spider species, there are, of course, exceptions. As it turns out, the fen raft spider is definitely one of these exceptions.

It is not surprising that people generally regard Britain as being free of huge spider species, as the giant fen raft spider was considered to be near extinction only five years ago, but unfortunately, these spiders did not go extinct. In fact, the population of fen raft spiders in the country has skyrocketed in recent years. The person to blame for the spider species rebound in population numbers is environmentalist and ecologist Helen Smith. Several years ago, Smith encountered 6,000 baby fen raft spiderlings that had been struggling to survive. If it had not been for Smith rescuing and raising these spiderlings, they surely would have perished. Once the spiderlings matured into adulthood, and started to take on a monstrous appearance, Smith, understandably, released them back into the wild.

For decades, the fen raft spider species only existed in three different locations within Great Britain, but thanks to Smith’s humane actions, these spiders are now inhabiting an additional four locations in the country. These spiders, despite their otherworldly appearance, are quite fascinating, as their 8 cm leg span allows them to crawl over the surface of water. Luckily, fen raft spiders are harmless to humans, and they are not destructive to their native British ecosystem.

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