A tarantula was found 'cold and wet' and clinging to a bin bag by the RSPA after it was abandoned in a Giltbrook bin.
The white knee tarantula, which was the size of a hand, was rescued by RSPCA inspector Teresa Potter, after being found by a shocked dog-walker in Acorn Avenue, Giltbrook.
Inspector Potter said: “It’s rare that we get reports of tarantulas in public so as I was making my way there, I was sure it would be a plastic toy or maybe just a piece of litter.
“There was also a broken tank in the bin, so whoever dumped this spider just carelessly tossed the spider and their home in this bin without any thought for their welfare.”
Inspector Potter took the spider to a specialist vet, who identified it as a white knee tarantula, a species from Brazil which is commonly kept as a pet.
The white knee tarantula can grow up to around eight inches long. Whilst they are capable of biting, their main defence method is by flicking hairs (called ‘urticating setae’) upwards from their abdomen, which can cause irritation to eyes and skin, or to the respiratory tract if inhaled.
The woman who found the tarantula, who does not want to be named, said: “I had taken my dogs onto the field when I saw that there was a tank in the bin. I was curious so I had a closer look, expecting it to be a mouse, and I was very surprised to see a tarantula in there. The spider was clinging onto the side of the bin bag.
“I went home to my husband and asked him to come and look - he couldn’t believe it either. It’s not something you expect to find in a public bin.”
The tank hadn’t been in the bin when the woman walked her dogs at the same spot that morning, so it was dumped at some point during that day.
“Luckily we have found someone who has taken the spider on, so the spider will now live the rest of their life being looked after properly,” added Inspector Potter who rescued the spider on Tuesday, April 24.
“We are concerned that someone abandoned a spider in a public bin like this. These tarantulas live in a warm and humid environment in the wild and need the same provided in captivity, to meet their needs and keep them healthy.
“It is likely that the spider was an unwanted pet which someone decided to dispose of for whatever reason. We would recommend that anyone interested in keeping a tarantula as a pet thoroughly research the particular species’ needs carefully first before deciding to get one, so they know what is involved and how long it is likely to be for.”
Exotic pets often end up in the RSPCA’s care after people realise they're not easy to care for, or once the novelty wears off, as for many people an exotic animal represents too much of a commitment.
Caring for exotics can be challenging and expensive; the animal may grow very large, live for a long time, become aggressive or require a licence or other paperwork to be legally kept or sold. They have the same needs as in the wild, which include the need for a suitable environment, diet and to express normal behaviour.
For more information about exotic animals as pets, visit the RSPCA’s website.
To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.