Firefighters have rescued a tarantula from the jaws of death in a house fire.
Crews were called to a blaze in a terraced house when a neighbour smelt smoke and raised the alarm.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service broke down the door and tackled the flames using breathing apparatus, jets and ventilation.
The occupiers were not at home but firefighters did find the giant spider in its tank which is believed to have been where the fire broke out.
A heat pad in the large arachnid’s lair is thought to have malfunctioned and started the fire in the first floor bedroom.
The pale grey creature was passed into the care of the RSPCA.
Three crews attended the fire which broke out shortly after 10.30pm on Wednesday in Cedar Road, Southampton.
Crew Manager Ally Hicks said:
“We removed the spider and could see the heat pad had melted part of the tank.
“We then handed it over to the RSPCA, it had its legs very close to its body so it was difficult to see how big it really was."
He went on to praise the neighbour for calling in and urged others to contact the service if they smell fire.
This is not the first time Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have been called upon to rescue spiders
In December last year crews were confronted by 60 pet spiders – some of which were venomous - in a house fire in Basingstoke.
They saved as many of the arachnids as possible including a Mexican Red Knee tarantula and a Brazilian Giant Knee Spider.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Animal Rescue team, which is widely acknowledged as among the best in the world, have in the past been called upon to rescue a whale, a snake and even an entire petting zoo after the lorry carrying the animals was involved in a crash.