The Spanish (or Gibraltar) funnel-web spider is about 8-10 cm long and is now resident with a couple in lockdown in the town of Grillon in Provence, the south of France.

They noticed the spider crawling across their hallway on Thursday and tried to kill it, but only managed to slow him down a bit, as reported by FR News 24.

The issue is that no one is allowed or qualified to move it; the spider is protected in Europe (it is illegal to kill it) and firefighters, city hall, the police, animal welfare group SPA and even a local crocodile zoo have said that they cannot get involved.

The only people who have offered to remove it is a private pest control company, but they are charging €1,000 ($1,181) and the couple cannot afford it. To that end, they’ve asked the public to help them out and donate to get it out of their house.

The couple have managed to isolate the spider in a plastic box but are anxious that it might have laid eggs around the house.

Michèle and Pierre, both in their thirties, gave a picture to a local vet who was able to say that it didn’t come from France. The France Bleu Vaucluse contacted specialists who believe it to be a funnel-web commonly found in Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal, and Northwest Africa. It has been sighted in Lombardy and Venice, Italy; in Switzerland, Belgium and now the south of France.

It is shiny and black with long spinnerets (the part of the spider that spins a web). Its latin name is macrothele calpeiana. Its venom is not known to be toxic to humans.

It is not the same as the Mediterranean Black Widow spider, which is one of the most venomous spiders in Europe.

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