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Fears deadly spider is on the loose in Cotswold town

A man with a fear of spiders has been left terrified after a giant ‘tropical’ spider escaped into his back garden. 

Arachnophobe Jim Dodds said he is left living in fear and has to check under his pillows before going to bed at night.

The 53-year-old found the massive, mysterious, eight-inch creepy crawly in his garden.

But worried about what the species the arachnid was, he trapped it in a plastic box to prevent it from wandering into his house.

A man with a fear of spiders has been left terrified after a giant ‘tropical’ spider escaped into his back garden

Jim said he then spent a day-and-a-half trying to get an expert to come and examine it.

But the spider has now vanished from his backyard in Tetbury, Gloustershire.

The kitchen fitter and his wife Helen managed to take a photograph of the spider before it escaped from the box.

Sitting in a huge, dusty web, it has long pincers, bony legs and a giant, fat abdomen.

Jim said: ‘My first reaction was b****r. Then my second reaction was “Oh s***, where has it gone?”‘

He said Helen, 51, had discovered the spider lurking inside a plastic box the couple keep in the garden of their home on Sunday.

Arachnophobe Jim Dodds (pictured with wife Helen) said he is left living in fear and has to check under his pillows before going to bed at night

Arachnophobe Jim Dodds (pictured with wife Helen) said he is left living in fear and has to check under his pillows before going to bed at night

Jim said he then spent a day-and-a-half trying to get an expert to come and examine it. But the spider has now vanished from his backyard in Tetbury, Gloustershire

Jim said he then spent a day-and-a-half trying to get an expert to come and examine it. But the spider has now vanished from his backyard in Tetbury, Gloustershire

Jim added: ‘I contacted Great Western Exotics, Cotswold Council, the RSPCA, Rentokil and others but no one would touch it.

‘I think it is venomous but I’m not 100 per cent, I just wanted it gone but no one would help, it was massive and horrendous.

‘I am living nightmares. I don’t want to wake up one morning and find it in my bathroom.’

Experts had struggled to discern what breed the creature was due to its positioning.

Spiders are usually identified by the distinctive markings on their bums and abdomens, but with the spider wedged inside the lid of the box only its underside was visible.

Experts had struggled to discern what breed the creature was due to its positioning in the photos

Experts had struggled to discern what breed the creature was due to its positioning in the photos

However, an expert from the Malmesbury vets had agreed to come and collect the creature – and also hopefully identify the potentially dangerous beast.

Jim said: ‘I told them “Look, you can have the b****** spider, you’re more than welcome to go round to my house, go to the back garden and get it”.

‘They were going to get it, put it in a plastic tub and identify it and Bob’s your uncle. They get there, and it’s not there.

‘To be honest with you, if I spot it I’m running. I don’t do spiders.’

Receptionist Helen – who is much less scared of spiders than Jim – said she had poked around in the couple’s shed to see if she could spot it, but had no luck.

Professor of biology Chris Terrell Nield of Nottingham Trent University had a go at identifying the creepy creature from Jim’s photo.

He said: ‘I didn’t get very far with this, partly because the view is from underneath and the best distinguishing features are number and arrangement of eyes and abdominal pattern.

‘The reported size does tell me it is not from around here – I suspect tropical or Australasian – so is likely to be an escapee from someone’s collection.

‘I assume it’s real!

‘I can tell you it is an ambush spider or funnel web spider, as it has very long spinners and downward pointing jaws, but I would need a better picture to be more certain.

‘It looks like a male as it has thickened palps.’

These are the small leg-like structures on each side of its head.

‘Note that I would recommend a spider like this is only dealt with by an expert,’ he added.

‘All spiders are venomous and some of the species in this group (e.g. Australian ones) have a nasty bite.’ 


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