Topic Tip

Stuff that matters

Tony Upton-Huang, 57, got a shock when he saw the curlyhair tarantula, which is native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica, in his back garden at home in Swindon, Wiltshire

A man opened his backdoor to cool down his house only to find a “humongous” tarantula clinging to his wall.

Tony Upton-Huang, 57, from Swindon got a shock when he saw the curlyhair tarantula, which is native to Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

He returned home from dropping his partner off at work at around 5am on July 21, and caught the spider himself before ringing the police, who directed him to the RSPCA.

He told Wiltshire Live : “I called Wiltshire Police – I didn’t know who to call, I didn’t know if the spider was really dangerous or not.

“They told me to try Defra in case it was a species from abroad or the RSPCA. The RSPCA was open first, so I called them and they sent someone from North Somerset Reptile Rescue to collect it.”

He claims rooks and seagulls were circling above and looking “very interested”, possibly hoping to catch the tarantula which turned out to be an escaped pet.

In a post on Facebook, North Somerset Reptile Rescue confirmed that the tarantula has since been reunited with his owner thanks to Tony.

When asked if he was fearful for his own safety whilst undertaking the rescue mission, he said: “I’m 57-years-old, if it bites me and kill me, I’ve had a full life.”

Adding: “If it’s radioactive, I might turn into Spider-Man – that could be fun.”

Even though all tarantulas are venomous to some degree, the curlyhair variety’s venom isn’t very strong.

According to tarantulaheaven.com, most humans don’t have systemic effects from this spider’s bite. Most symptoms include localized pain, itching, and burning.

However, the species can grow to about 5.5 inches, nearly 14cm, so tony couldn’t catch it like he does with normal spiders.

“When I get a spider inside the house, I normally just use a glass to catch it and slide a piece of cardboard underneath, but a glass wasn’t going to work this time,” he said.

He added: “I found a small tub and got the mop to prod it a little bit to ease it down of the wall. Once it was in the tub, I left the lid off a bit so it has some air and left it in the greenhouse.”