Halloween fright | 

Donegal shopper finds tarantula in bunch of bananas

Parker the tarantula

Parker the tarantula

Stephen Maguire

A member of the public got the Halloween shock of a lifetime when they discovered a Tarantula spider in a bunch of bananas.

The spider was found in the bananas just minutes after they had been bought in a supermarket in Co Donegal.

The Tarantula, later named Parker, was identified as a Mexican red rump, is about four months old and relatively harmless.

The ISPCA has now welcomed the unusual guest to their Donegal Animal Rehabilitation Centre (ARC) recently following an urgent call for help from a member of the public.

ISPCA Care Assistant Leela Voss, experienced in handling exotic animals, assisted a surprised member of the public, who discovered the small Tarantula hiding in some recently purchased fruit.

Once this little guy matures to adulthood, it can be determined whether it is actually a male or female.

The stowaway was found hiding in a bunch of wrapped bananas that originated from Central America, and recently purchased at a local supermarket in Donegal.

ISPCA Centre Manager Denise McCausland said: “Parker was carefully captured and transferred in a secure box before being admitted to the ISPCA ARC for a closer inspection.

"A veterinary examination confirmed that Parker was very dehydrated and lethargic after his travels but after some water and mini crickets to eat, he began to perk up very quickly.

“Parker was placed in an appropriate humid habitat in temperature and moisture levels suitable for his species and was closely monitored over a number of weeks.

"He has already grown in size and is continuously spinning elaborate webs all around his enclosure. Parker is thriving well; his previous fuzz of hair is thickening well as he grows, also molting in recent days."

And the good news is that Parker is going to stay in Co Donegal, at Alcorns’ Tropical World in Letterkenny.

Denise added: “This is a vulnerable time for Tarantulas as his new exoskeleton has to harden in the coming days and weeks so we are being extra careful.

"Parker will be transferred to Alcorn’s Tropical World nearby where his permanent home awaits.

"There Parker can live the solitary life he requires in a purpose built vivarium fit for a spider Prince or Princess”.

The ISPCA recommends anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet should consider whether they can commit to providing care throughout the animal’s entire life.

Some can live for 30 or even 50 years for some exotic species and many other factors need to be considered such as correct lighting, heating, humidity, diet and other needs in order to keep them healthy.

As with all animals, exotic pets have five basic animal welfare needs and owners have a legal duty to ensure they are a responsible pet owner.

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