San Diego

Tarantula Scares Family in Second Sighting in Days in San Diego Suburb

After the wet winter, pest control has seen a huge rise in all kinds of unwanted critters

A San Diego County family was shaken to find a tarantula hiding inside their microwave, just days after a neighbor found a tarantula snuggling into his shoe. 

Pest control officials have seen a rise in creepy crawlers and bugs around the region this time of year. 

While tarantulas live all across San Diego County, pest control officials said it's rare to find them inside homes. Following the wet winter, they've seen a huge rise in all kinds of unwanted critters indoors, including spiders and mice.

Tarantulas are no exception.

One Scripps Ranch resident was shocked and disgusted when she opened her microwave and came within a foot of a great hairy spider.

"I walked in here and I went into the fridge to get my snack and I literally got this close to it," said Hannah Dafferner, visibly cringing. "I went to open the microwave before seeing it right there, literally a foot away from me."

The image of a huge tarantula looming over her head is now ingrained in her memory, she said. She was less than pleased with the unexpected late night discovery.

"Wait, they make spiders that big here? No," Dafferner said, with a shudder. "I thought my little sister was pulling a prank on me. I didn’t think it was real until it moved its leg."

Her home is near an open space, and the family frequently leaves their door open to let the dogs out. The eight-legged creature may have crawled through the backyard into the kitchen.

"I'm not staying here," said Dafferner. "I'm going to stay with friends this weekend."

Although pest control officials assured the family that tarantulas do not travel in packs, they have still called an exterminator to spray inside their home. Dafferner's mother was very unhappy about the unexpected visitor.

"She was crying and then she was begging my dad to stay up all night with her," said Dafferner.

Just days earlier, another homeowner a few miles north found a tarantula in his garage. The critter took shelter inside his shoe. He was confused that his foot wouldn't seem to fit inside. Then he reached into the shoe and felt something fuzzy with his hand.

Although Dafferner's family said they were slightly traumatized by the spider, one of their neighbors had quite a different reaction to the incident.

A 9-year-old girl happily adopted the tarantula, and she is keeping the spider alive and well.

Experts say the hairy spiders are generally pretty docile and will not usually bite. According to a BBC report, when they do bite, it's usually no worse than a bee sting. Their first defense is to hide, as the spiders are not naturally aggressive.

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