A woman in Hampshire felt highly embarrassed when she called an inspector from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) to catch a massive spider lurking in her home, but the spider was later found to be nothing more than a plastic toy.
An RSPCA inspector, Nikki Denham, had quickly arrived at the home of this woman at Alresford, Hampshire after receiving a call from her. She was equipped with gloves and nets.
According to the Metro, the terrified woman told the inspector that a tarantula was moving under her stairs.
The woman had found that the eight-legged tarantula was the ‘size of her hand’ and was lurking in the understairs cupboard.
When inspector shined a light at the spider, she found that it was just a plastic toy.
The toy was then presented to woman’s young son who revealed that the toy actually belonged to him.
Though all tarantulas are venomous and some bites cause serious discomfort that might persist for several days, so far there is no record of a bite causing a human fatality. In general, the effects of the bites of all kinds of tarantula are not well known. While the bites of many species are known to be no worse than a wasp sting, accounts of bites by some species are reported to be very painful and to produce intense spasms that may recur over a period of several days; the venom of the African tarantula Pelinobius muticus also causes strong hallucinations.
Tarantulas give people the creeps because they have large, hairy bodies and legs. While these large spiders can take a painful bite out of a human, a tarantula’s venom is weaker than from a typical bee sting.
Tarantulas move slowly on their eight hairy legs, but they are accomplished nocturnal predators. Insects are their main prey, but they also target bigger game, including frogs, toads, and mice. Tarantulas are burrowers and typically live in the ground.
“The caller had stated there was a tarantula the size of her hand in the understairs cupboard,” said RSPCA inspector Nikki Denham.
“She had left it in there not touching it and called us for assistance.”
“I turned up with gloves and nets to confine the creature and the woman left me to it, shutting doors around me to prevent its escape.”
“It was dark under the stairs but I could see legs behind a vacuum cleaner that certainly were tarantula size, however as I shone light in I could see that it was in fact a toy plastic tarantula.”
“The poor caller was obviously embarrassed, but it won’t be the first or last call we’ll have like that I’m sure.”
The incident happened last Thursday.
According to RSPCA, the organisation was called on to rescue 275 genuine tarantulas last year.