Page last updated at 05:02 GMT, Tuesday, 9 June 2009 06:02 UK

Welcome to the Spiderlab

By Rebecca Morelle
Science reporter, BBC News

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Meet the tarantulas... Dr Sara Goodacre shows BBC science reporter Rebecca Morelle around the Spiderlab

An unmistakeable hiss fills the air.

I peer down, and spot a plastic container.

The source of the noise scuttles into view - a cockroach. In fact, the box is filled to the brim with them, with a few other writhing and wriggling creepy-crawlies thrown in for good measure.

"Dinner," explains my host, pointing to the dozens of very large, rather hairy and extremely leggy tarantulas eyeing this bug banquet.

Welcome to the Spiderlab.

Tangled web

Sara Goodacre, who is showing me around her unusual laboratory based at the University of Nottingham, is fascinated by arachnids.

"They are just so neat," she says.