150 year old spider found in Highgate Cemetery

The Orb Weaver Spider
  • Share
  • Sharebar
  • Share
The Orb Weaver Spider
The Orb Weaver Spider. Property of ZayZayem.


Highgate cemetery is now the creepiest place in town, as wildlife experts have just discovered a rare species of the Orb Weaver spider.

Not only is this famous cemetery visually enrapturing with its 19th Century eerie walkways, it is also well known for being the resting place of prominent socialist theorist, Karl Marx.

This spine-chilling graveyard is now accumulating further fame with the help of the Orb Weaver spider.

The Orb Weaver or more specifically the ‘Meta Bourneti’ is the largest of its kind to be recorded in Britain, with some growing up to an astounding 30mm in width. Although it isn’t colossal, it is much larger than many other types of spiders found in Britain.

A volunteer at the cemetery said: “The spiders were in our vaults, but it was Wildlife Trust who found them directly.”

Workers from the Wildlife Trust have confirmed that these eight legged creatures have lived in the vaults for over 150 years.  At the time of the discovery, staff from Wildlife Trust were working on a separate survey on bats when they unearthed the Orb Weaver.

Their finding led them to uncover a cluster of around 100 of these shy breed of spider living inside a tomb where the remains of four people were buried.

An environmental spokesperson said: “This discovery just goes to show how exciting and surprising urban wildlife can be. Certain London cemeteries and other green spaces have levels of biodiversity to rival anywhere else in the country!”

In spite of its larger diameter, the Orb weaver is harmless, unless you’re a small insect or a woodlouse, of course!

Locals from the area are showing much enthusiasm, Hanna, 21 from North London said: “I think it is exciting to find a new type of spider in the capital, you would never imagine this happening in such a busy place like London.”

There have also been several other locations in Britain such as Essex, Somerset and New Forrest where researchers have found the Meta Bourneti living.

Egyptian gate at Highgate Cemetery. Property of David Holt London
Egyptian gate at Highgate Cemetery. Property of David Holt London

Experts have additionally uncovered that some of the Victorian tombs that the Meta spiders live in date as far back as the 1830’s.

There is now work being carried out to restore the atmosphere of the Orb Weavers original surroundings. Experts have said that these types of spider live in absolute darkness which clarifies why the pre-historic tombs act as their picture perfect setting.

Researchers from the Wildlife Trust have additionally shared pervious findings’ of over 200 unknown species of animals in the burial ground, which brings much optimism for wildlife in and around a metropolitan city Like London.

Highgate cemetery may in future be the setting of further findings, who knows what wildlife experts will uncover amid this blood-curling setting!