Rare giant atlas moth from Asia - one of the largest in the world - spotted in UK garden

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An incredibly rare moth - one of the largest in the world - has been spotted in a UK garden.

The atlas or emperor moth is native to southeast Asia and UK sightings of the majestic creature are incredibly rare. It was spotted in a garden in Swindon, Wiltshire, by grandmother Sharron Long, 58, on Tuesday (20 June).

The atlas moth has one of the largest wingspans of all butterflies at 25 centimetres.

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Sharron said: “My granddaughter came running out saying that there was something she wanted to show me. This had me a bit suspicious at first as they’re always pranking me and jumping out at me as I’m quite a jumpy person.

“Anyways, she took me round the back and there it was on the garden fence, about the same size as my hand! I thought they were having me on but knew it was real when I went to touch it and its wing moved.”

She turned to Facebook for advice and added: "Everyone else was just as surprised and shocked as we were. Some were helpful, telling us how we could put it into a large box to move it somewhere safer.

Moth in Sharron Long’s garden.Moth in Sharron Long’s garden.
Moth in Sharron Long’s garden. | Sharron Long / SWNS

"Others however were a bit more scared, telling us to burn the fence down. We had to keep an eye on the pigeons as they looked like they wanted a bit of it, but thankfully whilst we were around it was safe”.

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