In With The Spiders

In With The Spiders

Get In with the Spiders at ZSL London Zoo - the UK’s first ever walk-through spider exhibit 

ZSL London Zoo has taken on the challenge of a lifetime in a bid to clear the name of one of the world’s most feared, misunderstood and maligned creatures, in a unique and immersive exhibit.

 

 

In with the Spiders brings visitors face-to-face with amazing arachnids from around the world in a completely unique and immersive experience within the Zoo’s new Tiny Giants exhibit. 

First, get gently acquainted with UK native species and regular house guest, the ‘spider in a bathtub’, before meeting fascinating exotic species such as the black widow, huntsman and giant bird-eating spiders.

Then discover the true meaning of ‘up close’ as you enter the forest home of ZSL London Zoo’s uniquely sociable communal spiders, and stunning, golden orb spiders that spend their days posing proudly on huge one-metre wide webs.

You’ll also have an opportunity to take home a special souvenir from the walk-through expedition as you pose for a pic with the golden orb spiders in front of the “Spider Selfie” mirror.  

A sneak peek into the Spider Nursery offers an insight into the breeding work carried out by keepers at ZSL London Zoo, and hopefully a glimpse of tiny spiderlings. 
 

Orb Spider

In with the Spiders is home to one of the UK’s most endangered animals, the fen raft spider.  One of the biggest spiders in Britain, they have the remarkable ability to walk on water. As part of the Zoo’s worldwide conservation work, zookeepers at ZSL London Zoo worked with Natural England to rear tiny fen raft spiderlings into adults, which were then reintroduced back to the wild. 

Celebrating creatures whose very name has been slandered over the years, In with the Spiders’ ‘talking tarantula’ dispels some of the myths surrounding spiders to reveal why they are in fact friend, not foe. 

And for those visitors not yet convinced by how amazing they are, there’s the hugely successful arachnophobia-curing Friendly Spider Programme – running now for more than two decades converting spider-haters into spider-lovers. Visitors are sure to leave the exhibit with a new-found appreciation for arachnids. 

The incredible In with the Spiders experience is included in the entry ticket price for ZSL London Zoo. 

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In With The Spiders: Europe's first spider walk through

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See the spiders up close

Friendly Spider Programme

Friendly Spider Programme logo

The Friendly Spider Programme (FSP) is an afternoon course, carefully designed to ease or eliminate the condition of arachnophobia – fear of spiders.

The programme is a combination of cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy led by ZSL’s Head of Invertebrates Dave Clarke, in conjunction with John Clifford of the Centre of Clinical Hypnosis.

Success is measured by participants catching house spiders under a glass, to take it outside, and if they so wish, cured participants are given the chance to meet one of ZSL London Zoo’s red kneed spiders. 

Find out more

Inhabitants

Find out more about some of the residents of In with the Spiders.

Golden orb-weaver

This week's Curious Creature is the fascinating Golden Orb-Weaving Spider.

A Redback Spider, Latrodectus hasselti, in the Bugs! exhibit at ZSL London Zoo.

Find out how spiders are actually more likely to save your life than do you harm!

In With The Spiders

Get closer to one of nature's most fascinating creatures!

Not enamoured with invertebrates? These are the reasons you absolutely should be...

Firstly, let's set something straight. Tiny Giants are all around us, from the squishiest sponges under the sea to the mosquitoes flying high on the horizon as the sun goes down. As one of these amazing creatures, you will have no spine or bony skeleton, but have evolved over millions of years to cope marvellously well without. From giant squids trawling the ocean floors to bumblebees pollinating crops needed to feed the world, we really couldn't do without them.

At London Zoo's Tiny Giants, meet many of these amazing minibeasts - and take a look at what the world would look like, without these impressive species. Here's some of the thousands of reasons that these animals are some of the most amazing on earth:

Fabulous minibeast messages you need to hear:

  • A particular Asian moth has evolved to feed on the tears of buffalo, and another to feed on the algae grown on a certain sloth's fur.
  • Fireflies are atually beetles that use light to attract a mate.
  • A colony of army ants may reach over 700,000 individuals.
  • When a flea jumps it accelerates at a rate 20x faster than a rocket being launched into space!
  • Without bees we would have little in the way of fruit, vegetables or sugar. As pollinators they are vital to the life cycle of many plants.

Bee and pollen_microbes

  • The combined weight of all the insects in the world is 12 times greater than the weight of the entire human population.
  • For every human alive, there are 200 million insects.
  • To avoid being eaten, stick insects hold their twig-lie bodies and legs at the correct angle on a branch, they even sway like twigs when a breeze blows.
  • Malaysian giant stick insect eggs are just 4mm wide, but when the baby stick insects hatch they are already 70cm long!

 

And arachnids have some amazing anectdotes to share with you too...

Found a money spider on your clothing lately? You could be in for a windfall...

In With The Spiders infographic - Spiders are lucky

  • There are more than 47,000 species of spider worldwide, 670 of which are found in Britain.
  • The largest house spiders in the UK are the Cardinal Spider or the Fen raft spider. They hunt on the surface of water, only using silk as a retreat or to construct a nursery web.

Fen Raft Spider photo by Dr. Helen Smith
The Fen Raft Spider

  • Male huntsman spiders (also known as giant crab spiders) have been found to make a buzzing sound using vibration, to attract females.
  • False widow spiders, are not dangerous. Although the noble false widow originally came to the UK from Madeira and the Canary Island they have been here for more than a century and are considered native.
  • Orb spider webs are up to a metre across.

Orb Spider

  • Silk from Madagascar orb spiders was used to make a golden cloak that was displayed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2012.
     
  • The Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating spider is one of the largest spiders in the world, growing to have a leg span of up to 28cm. Meet ours in London Zoo's Rainforest Life.
     
  • The spiderlings of the Martinique red tree spider are bright blue.

In With The Spiders infographic - social networking

  • The Peacock parachute spider, also known as the Gooty sapphire, is one of the most beautiful spiders in the world due to its blue colouration. It is also one of the rarest in the wild, living in a single patch of forest in West Bengal, India.
     
  • Regal jumping spiders have an elaborate courtship dance to attract a mate.
  • An ant 3mm long has been observed dragging prey 6mm long back to its nest. This is equivalent to a human dragging a small car by their teeth over a distance of 8km.

Meet the minibeasts today at London Zoo's Tiny Giants!

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In With The Spiders: Europe's first spider walk through

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Visit our spider walkthrough in Tiny Giants