Giant Asian moth spotted in South Tyneside garden

The Atlas Moth was found at a home in Hebburn.
The Atlas Moth was found at a home in Hebburn.

A Hebburn mum was stunned to discover that a giant exotic moth had made itself at home in her garden.

Sue Young, 53, could not believe it when she saw the giant Atlas Moth - normally found in Asia - fluttering under a parasol in the back garden of her Hebburn home.

The Atlas Moth only has a short lifespan and does not feed.

The Atlas Moth only has a short lifespan and does not feed.

The impressive creature, which measures in at around nine inches in width, was found on Monday morning and has remained there ever since.

Sue's partner initially thought it was a dream catcher, but it was only on closer inspection that the pair realised that it was something special.

Sue said: "My partner went out in the early hours of the morning and cane back and asked if I had put a dream catcher or something up under the parasol.

"I said I hadn't, so I got out of bed and went down to have a look and that is when we saw the moth.

The Atlas Moth measures in at around nine inches wide.

The Atlas Moth measures in at around nine inches wide.

"I looked it up on the internet and found out that it was the Atlas Moth, as it has the same markings."

Sue, who has named the moth Monty, appealed for advice on how to care for it, but experts say the moth's short lifespan and inability to feed means that all they can do is let nature run its course.

But local insect expert Guy Tansley has offered to care for the moth in the meantime.

He said: "These moths don’t live long, females not having any mouthparts to feed and especially outside in the UK climate, so there not much to do except maybe bring it inside as they’re harmless."

Stephen Kelly is assistant keeper of biology at the Great North Museum: Hancock, added: "It’s likely that this has come from a private collector, as opposed to being a migrant.

"The moth has a very short lifespan of five to seven days and is not capable of feeding.

"It doesn’t move much in order to conserve energy.

"I’d be tempted to say there’s not much that needs to be done."