1. ITV Report

Jungle spider crawls from London worker's bag on return from Cameroon

A London eco-worker received a shock when a huge spider crawled out of her backpack and into her office when she returned from a trip to Cameroon.

The Huntsman spider, which is between 2.2 and 2.8 centimetres wide, caused a commotion in the Rainforest Foundation's offices in Kentish Town when it crawled out of Nora Serrat's sleeping mat in her backpack on Thursday.

The spider, which the charity named "Hermione", was clutching her egg sac which can contain up to 400 babies.

The spider was clutching her egg sac which can contain up to 400 babies. Credit: Rainforest Foundation

The 32-year-old had just returned south-west Cameroon where she had been investigating reports that areas of Cameroon's rainforest had been destroyed to make way for new plantations of oil palm.

Rachel Agnew told ITV News that the charity's office manager was forced to use a large box to contain the spider.

"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 London Zoo that afternoon," she said.

The giant spider crawled from Nora Serrat's backpack. Credit: Rainforest Foundation

Staff at the Rainforest Foundation said they had become quite fond of Hermione by the time the creature was transferred to the ZSL.

"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," she added.

Ms Agnew said the charity's staff plan on visiting the spider and her babies in the new habitat "when she has settled in."

Nora Serrat had just returned from a project in south-west Cameroon when the discovery was made. Credit: Google Maps

The Rainforest Foundation said they were delighted that the Zoological Society London responded so quickly:

From our perspective we were delighted that ZSL responded so quickly and said they would take care of the spider.

Our work in the rainforests of Central Africa and the Peruvian Amazon involves working with indigenous and forest peoples in these regions with the aim of protecting these beautiful, diverse ecosystems and all the wonderful species that call the rainforest home.