Hundreds of Live Tarantulas Seized From 'Cookie' Boxes

They were shipped to airport in the Philippines
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 3, 2019 3:42 AM CDT
A staff member of the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources shows one of the 757 tarantulas kept inside plastic containers at their office in metropolitan Manila, Philippines on Wednesday,...   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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(Newser) – Philippine customs officials were astonished when they opened nicely gift-wrapped boxes of cookies and oatmeal flown in all the way from Poland and found a hair-raising contraband: hundreds of live tarantulas. Bureau of Customs personnel seized the 757 tarantulas at a mail exchange center near Manila's international airport Monday and later arrested a Filipino man who tried to claim the long-legged and venomous spiders, which were declared as "collection items," the AP reports. Many of the baby tarantulas were concealed in small plastic vials punctured with holes for air while bigger spiders were shipped in see-through plastic containers. Officials estimated the value of the unusual shipment at $5,900.

Philippine wildlife laws prohibit the trading, collection, and possession of such spiders, which are popular pets among arachnid enthusiasts, without permits. Despite threats of hefty fines and imprisonment, a startling array of wildlife have been seized by customs inspectors by the hundreds in Manila since last year, including geckos, iguanas, chameleons, and a popular reptile called bearded dragons.

(Read more tarantula stories.)

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