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15/09/2015 07:28 BST | Updated 15/09/2015 10:59 BST

Britain's Biggest Spider Found Lurking In Kent Garden

As the nights grow colder and darker, Britain’s arachnids are making their way into our homes for warmth.

So it’s a small mercy that one of the biggest spiders in the country was found outside those four walls.

Amateur photographer Matthew Field came across this weighty specimen in his garden in Whitstable, Kent.

tube web spider

Segestria Florentina's body alone can grow up to 2.2cm in length

The Segestria Florentina - also known as the tube web spider whose body can grow up to 2.2cm long - is rumoured to be so bloodthirsty it even preys on false widow spiders.

While they are not venomous to humans [their bite is comparable to a bee sting], they have been known to eat their own mothers on occasion.

Field, 42, was opening a canvas sunshade when the six-eyed beast, which he estimates to span around 7cms (3ins), dropped out – along with the corpses of several other spiders.

tube web spider

The spiders are known to eat their own mothers

He said: "It startled me - it wasn't happy that I had disturbed it and it definitely eats spiders.

"My first instinct was to back away and start taking photos of it.

"It's got two distinctive lines of tiny little eyes and two fangs that look like two big sugar puffs in its mouth."

After snapping close-up photos of the arachnid, which appear to show grey fang-like mandibles, he let the spider run into the shadows.

tube web spider

Matthew Field, whose garden the beast dwells in

Field, also a local DJ, added: "I used to be terrified of spiders, I was a right arachnophobe.

"But now I've grown up I've realised it was stupid and have got over it - there are lots in my garden and they don't bother me at all.

"They come in during the winter but this one I didn't want to pick up. It's the biggest one I have ever seen in England.

"I have seen bigger in Greece but this is definitely the biggest one I have seen here."

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Tube spiders are found in southern England between June and October under stones or in holes in walls.

The biggest known spider in the UK is the fen raft spider, which can walk on water and is big enough to catch small fish and newts.

When fully grown its leg span can measure up to 8cm and it has a body length of 2.3cm.

Despite Field’s insistence the arachnid in his garden was surrounded by the bodies of other spiders, a spokesman for wildlife charity Bug Life says they do not have an appetite for their fellow eight-legged friends.

She said: "They don't eat spiders, they eat flies, beetles and other small insects - and make a tube shaped web in old homes with trip wires radiating out to catch their prey.

"The one in the photo has recently shed it's exoskeleton (skin) and so it still has pale fangs, but after a while the fangs will darken up and will shine with a green iridescence which is very pretty.

"It is a beautiful species and whilst it can give you a nip, it's not particularly nasty.

"It's mostly found in Southern Britain but it is slowly moving northwards as the climate gets warmer."

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