BCA Zoo has become only the third place on the planet to of successfully bred the Critically Endangered Desertas Wolf Spider.

This species is considered to be the largest species of wolf spider in the world and lives on a small chain of islands near Maderias, Portugal. Its decline in numbers had led to the creation of a captive breeding programme to preserve it – and BCA Zoo has been successful in support it as one of our females produced a nest of over 200 spiderlings.

Jack Boultwood, BCA Zoo’s Exotics House Technician explains that “Being able to provide this rare opportunity for our students is brilliant, it shows us that not all conservation efforts are for all the big charismatic species and hopefully will encourage them to want to work with more underrepresented species in the future.

The Desertas Wolf Spider has been brilliant to work with alongside our students, improving our industry links and reputation not just for the college as a whole, but for our students as well”.

In September 2017. BCA Zoo became home to 50 juvenile wolf spiders and spent the next 18 months working with other zoological institutions in creating husbandry guidelines for the species. This has allowed for a population of ‘thriving’ adult Desertas Wolf Spiders in British zoos.

Our students observed a successful pairing of the adult spiders back in March which has only been observed by a handful of people and on Saturday 29th May, 200 baby wolf spiders were found on the back of the female. The juvenile spiders will be cared for by the zoo staff and then distributed to other collections as they get older.