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Hungerford woman's incy wincy spider goes missing in the post

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Regal jumping spider Una had a longer journey than expected before arriving at her Hungerford home after a trip in a post office van.

Lee-Sian Black is no stranger to jumping spiders, she owns 11, but the newest member to join the household apparently went missing in the post for a while before finally arriving safely at its new home.

Mrs Black said: "The spider was coming from a breeder in Norwich and was due to arrive some time during Tuesday morning."

Jumping regal spider Una
Jumping regal spider Una

However, the mother-of-two was somewhat alarmed when she received a text message from the postal service telling her that her new pet had been delivered and signed for.

"I was really worried," she said. "The spiders are sent special delivery and put in boxes with heat packs to keep them safe. They are very fragile creatures and would not survive long in the wrong conditions."

Mrs Black, who lives by The Downgate pub in Hungerford, said she started knocking on neighbours' doors, but no one had taken in the tiny eight-legged creature.

Lee-Sian Black with Una the jumping spider
Lee-Sian Black with Una the jumping spider

In a bid to spread the word about the missing arachnid, Mrs Black put out a plea on a Hungerford Facebook page, which someone at Hungerford Post Office spotted.

"Basically, because of Covid the postie had to sign for the package herself before bringing it to the door. Once she'd signed for it she realised she had the wrong address, but she needed to continue with her deliveries in Lambourn before she could bring it to me.

"In the meantime, the system sent me the message to say it had been delivered."

Una's big sister Clover
Una's big sister Clover

Mrs Black said she had no interest in spiders until her photographer husband said he wanted to practice more micro-photography during lockdown and that a spider would be a good subject.

"I told him he could go ahead and get a spider, but not to expect me to look after it," she added. "I didn't think spiders were my thing – house spiders certainly aren't."

Una's big sister Clover
Una's big sister Clover

But when the first little black jumping spider, Lucas, arrived, Mrs Black was hooked.

"They are so funny," she said. "They look like cartoons with their big eyes. I became fascinated and read up all about them and their upkeep."

Mrs Black said the spiders are all housed separately, but they do go for a wander occasionally.

"They are very curious creatures," she said. "If I put my hand out they will climb on to me and have a look around."

But if the small spiders jump, surely she might lose them?

"They leave a sort of bungee cord on your skin and jump around 10cms," she said. "You can see which direction they are going to jump and when they are about to because they lift their two front legs."

The spiders are native to Central and South America, but Mrs Black said hers are all captive bred in this country. They are not dangerous and very docile. They tend to live one to two years.

Regal jumping spider Una is about 10mm and even at full growth will only get to 20mm.

"I keep them in small, but tall perspex enclosures on a bookshelf in the sitting room," Mrs Black said. "I control the temperature for them and they feed on fruit flies, which I breed myself, and green and bluebottles."

Mrs Black said after the panic on Tuesday, Una is now settled in her new home alongside her other jumping spiders, including 'big' sister Clover.

Lee-Sian Black with Una the jumping spider
Lee-Sian Black with Una the jumping spider

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