Smuggled Spiders Find New Home

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    NEWSLETTERS

    San Diego Zoo
    79 spiders were given to the San Diego Zoo after being transported into the country illegally.

    After being illegally shipped into the country, 79 exotic spiders can now call the San Diego Zoo home.

    The zoo announced Friday that they would be able to keep the spiders which were given to them last November by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said Christina Simmons, an official at the zoo.

    The USFWS found the critters being transported illegally into the country in unconventional containers such as drinking straws, according to a media release.

    "The San Diego Zoo is a refuge for threatened wildlife of all kinds," said Paige Howorth, animal care manager in our Entomology Department.

    "When approached by USFWS to care for these smuggled spiders, we jumped at the opportunity to apply our best practices in tarantula husbandry to their long-term care," said Howorth.

    The spiders, mostly tarantulas, are species originating from locations as far as South America, Asia and Africa, including 14 different species within 8 genera.

    With names like Mexican flame knee, Colombian bluebottle and the Egyptian red trapdoor spider, the creatures seem to be best suited for an up close and personal view - and if zoo officials have their way that might just happen.

    Legally, Simmons couldn’t comment on where the spiders came from, but said there are plans in the works to put them on display inside of the children’s insect area.

    The San Diego Zoo has an ongoing relationship with the USFWS and takes in exotic animals of all kinds during the year.

    Depending on court decisions in the cases involving the animals zoo officials either hold onto the animals or find a place for them to live.