Area of zoo
Enclosure status
IUCN status
Scientific name
Dolomedes plantarius

Fen raft spiders, also known as great raft spiders, are one of the largest and rarest spiders in Britain. Visit them in our Tiny Giants area at London Zoo.

What do fen raft spiders look like?

Fen raft spiders are fairly large, typically the size of your palm. The majority of their body is brown in colour with a beige coloured stripe down either side and speckled legs.

What do fen raft spiders eat?

These spiders eat insects trapped at the water surface, tadpoles and occasionally fish.

Where do fen raft spiders live?

Fen raft spiders are only found in three small sites in the UK (East Anglia, Sussex and south Wales), and small populations in Central Europe. They live in wetland habitats. 

What threats do fen raft spiders face in the wild and how is ZSL helping to protect them?

Fen raft spiders are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list of threatened species. As part of London Zoo’s worldwide conservation work, our zookeepers worked with Natural England to rear tiny fen raft spiderlings into adults, which were then reintroduced back to the wild.

Spiders at the Zoo

  • Tiny Giants logo, with a clownfish, locust, coral and praying mantis illustration.
    From minibeasts to coral reefs

    Tiny Giants

    Journey through the habitats of the planet’s smallest but mightiest animals. From our coral reef aquarium, to our spider walk-through.

  • FSP logo
    Ease or eliminate the condition of arachnophobia

    Friendly Spider Programme

    Join us for a session with a hynotherapist and zookeeper, and let us help you overcome your fear of spiders.

  • Golden orb spider at London Zoo Spider walk-through
    Nephila edulis

    Golden orb weaver

    Male golden orb weavers can be tiny, with the females being up to 50 times his size.  

  • Madagascar Orb Weaver in a web
    Nephila inaurata madagascariensis

    Madagascar orb weaver

    One of the largest orb weaving spiders, which can spin webs up to 1 metre wide. The female spiders are six times bigger than the males.

  • A Mexican red-kneed tarantula crawls over a Day of the Dead skull at London Zoo
    Brachypelma hamorii

    Mexican red-kneed tarantula

    Learn more about the Mexican red-kneed tarantula before visiting them at London Zoo

  • Visit London Zoo
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