A 10-centimetre long lizard-eating spider has been found hiding in a traveller’s suitcase in Edinburgh following a trip to Africa.

The huntsman spider, which is native to southern Africa, was found at a property on Boswell Drive in Edinburgh after the resident came home from a work placement on the continent.

The species is also known as a rain spider or lizard-eating spider because of its habit of entering homes just before it rain to consume geckos.  

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After managing to contain the spider in a plastic box the surprised traveller phoned the SSPCA who came to collect the arachnid.

Catherine Atterton, an animal rescue officer for the SSPCA, said: “The spider was very fast, and about 10cm in size.

“Huntsman spiders are known for their speed and their ability to jump, so I was glad the member of the public had managed to contain the spider.

“Thankfully the spider was none the worse for wear after their long journey and was taken to one of our animal rescue and rehoming centres to quarantine.”

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Atterton added that the spider would be rehomed at a facility in Kent.

“We’ve been liaising with our contacts and have a home down in Kent lined up with a specialist where this huntsman can happily live out the rest of their life,” she said.

“We know a lot of people find spiders frightening but, to the Scottish SPCA, they’re just another animal who needs our help.

“If anyone finds an animal in distress they should call our animal helpline on 03000 999 999 for help and advice.”