Rare spiders to be released in Norfolk

A Fen Raft spider Credit: Broads Authority

One of Britain’s rarest and most spectacular spiders is to be introduced to the Norfolk Broads after an intensive captive breeding programme.

A thousand hand-reared fen raft baby spiders or spiderlings will be released on the RSPB’s Mid-Yare reserve in an effort to generate new populations of this vulnerable species in Norfolk, where they are now restricted to a single site.

The fen raft spider is Britain’s biggest spider. It can literally walk on water to catch its prey but, owing to deterioration and loss of wetland habitats, its population has declined.

The fen raft spider is only found on three wetland sites in the UK - Redgrave and Lopham Fen National Nature Reserve in Norfolk where it was first discovered in Britain in1956, the Pevensey Levels in Southern England and in South Wales.