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'Oh my goodness, it's a tarantula': 2 live arachnids rescued at Edmonton airport


Two live tarantulas are now being housed at the Royal Alberta Museum after being discovered hidden in a toy plane and a plastic container at the Edmonton International Airport.

The spiders were found by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) on two separate occasions, in packages from Hong Kong.

Longtime border services officer Iris Zelter found both arachnids.

"I don't mind spiders as long as they are where they belong, I thought they were something else when I was unwrapping it," she told CTV News Edmonton on Monday.

CBSA agent Iris Zelter. (CTV News Edmonton)

In May, she found the first tarantula, a male, hidden in a plastic container after noticing some irregularities with the package from Hong Kong.

"I found a box inside a box, and inside of there, I unwrapped a little ziplock bag, very carefully took a little staple out, and then all of a sudden a little brown thing stuck out its little legs, and oh my goodness, it's a tarantula."

"The poor little thing was squished up like this, and I slowly unrolled it, and BING, his little legs stuck out."

Zelter found the second tarantula, a female, in a package from the same shipper, just days later in a toy airplane.

A tarantula was found inside this toy airplane in a package that arrived at the Edmonton international airport. Credit: Canadian Border Service Agency)

"It was a kids toy…I didn’t want to destroy a children's toy, so I undid the screws at the back."

"Inside that was a ziploc bag, and inside that tiny little bag with no room to breathe or move was a tarantula."

In both cases, CBSA called Environment Canada and the spider was taken away to be examined.

The spiders are both a native species to Hong Kong and do not require a permit to be imported into Canada, provided they are transported correctly and humanely.

"CBSA officers were able to find and rescue these two tarantulas from inhumane shipping methods," Lisa Laurencelle-Peace of the CBSA said in a news release.

"The CBSA works closely with its enforcement partners, including ECCC enforcement officers, to keep Canada’s border secure and stop the illegal wildlife trade."

The agency is reminding people travelling with or shipping living creatures that there are strict Canadian regulations for humane transportation, which requires all animals to be kept safe from harm when travelling by land, sea or air.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk Top Stories

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