AN UNSUSPECTING Donegal resident got the fright of their lives after returning from the supermarket to discover a Central American tarantula had stowed away in their shopping.
The rogue Mexican red rump tarantula was found hiding among a bunch of bananas purchased during a weekly shop.
A relatively harmless, docile species, red-rumped tarantula will nevertheless defend themselves if they feel they are under attack, using special urticating hairs located on the abdomen, which they can flick at an attacker using their hind legs.
Though tarantulas are famous for their bites, in this instance it would not pose any obvious harm to a member of the public.
The recipient opted to contact the ISPCA for help in relocating their new eight-legged friend.
By the time someone from the ISPCA arrived on the scene, the spider and his new landlord were firm friends, with the latter even christening the arachnid Parker.
The #ISPCA came to the rescue following an urgent call for help, when a small #Tarantula was found hiding in some recently purchased fruit, by a member of the public.
The Tarantula, later named Parker, is a 4 month old Mexican red rump! Read more here:https://t.co/KoWVDnCZat pic.twitter.com/sCludcmLiN
— ISPCA (@ISPCA1) October 30, 2020
Identified as being somewhere in the region of four months old, according to the ISPCA they are not yet able to determine whether the spider is male or female until it matures into adulthood.
Commenting on the surprising discover, ISPCA Centre Manager Denise McCausland said: “Parker was carefully captured and transferred in a secure box before being admitted to the ISPCA ARC for a closer inspection.
“A veterinary examination confirmed that Parker was very dehydrated and lethargic after his travels but after some water and mini crickets to eat, he began to perk up very quickly."
McCausland added that after monitoring Parker for several weeks, the tarantula is “thriving well” and had "already grown in size and is continuously spinning elaborate webs."
The ISPCA recommends anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet should consider whether they can commit to providing care throughout the animal’s entire life. Some can live for 30 or even 50 years for some exotic species and many other factors need to be considered such as correct lighting, heating, humidity, diet and other needs in order to keep them healthy.
As with all animals, exotic pets have five basic animal welfare needs and owners have a legal duty to ensure they are a responsible pet owner.
- A suitable living environment
- An acceptable diet
- Ability to act according to natural behaviour
- Companionship if necessary
- To be healthy and protected from pain, injury or disease