Fen Raft Spider

fen raft spider

Scientific Name: Dolomedes plantarius 

What it looks like: Fen Raft Spiders are fairly large, typically the size of your palm. The majority of the body is brown in colour with a beige coloured stripe down either side of their body and speckled legs.

Animal facts:

  • One of the largest and rarest spiders in Britain.
  • 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.
  • The Fen Raft Spiders in In with the Spiders at ZSL London Zoo ar the only ones on display in the UK.

What they eat: Insects trapped at the water surface, tadpoles and occasionally fish.

Web style: Hunt on the water surface, only using silk as a retreat or to construct a nursery web.

Habitat: Wetlands.

Where they live: Only found in three small sites in the UK (East Anglia, Sussex and south Wales), and small populations in Central Europe.


1-3 years
Body: 23mm Legspan: 7cm
Conservation Status