‘More than they bargained for’ Giant tarantula found on board London train

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The spider was discovered inside a plastic tub at the central London transport hub which led the RSPCA to believe it had been abandoned. It was carefully taken to station staff who contacted the animal charity for help.

London animal rescue officer Mat Hawkins collected the critter last Friday afternoon.

He said: “Passengers got more than they bargained for when they spotted this little guy on the train. He was shut inside a plastic tub so we believe he had been abandoned in the carriage.

“Thankfully, passengers alerted staff who kept him safe in their office until I could arrive to collect him.”

Mat took the arachnid, which has been identified as a pink-toed tarantula, to specialists at South Essex Wildlife Hospital.

The tarantula, measuring 3.5cm in size, is to be rehomed by the hospital.

Pink-toed tarantulas are native to Central and South America as well as islands in the southern Caribbean.

They are named after the tips of their legs which are peach in colour, helping them blend into their forest habitat.

When threatened their first reaction is usually to scarper or leap off, but if provoked they may react aggressively. However, their venom is considered to be mild.

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Females have been known to eat males before, during or after mating.

According to the RSPCA, they are popular pets among tarantula enthusiasts, but they require specialist care.

They come from warm, humid environments and therefore need the same in captivity so keeping them requires specialist equipment and knowledge.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how much of a commitment exotic pets such as tarantulas are when they take them on, the RSPCA says.

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Impulse buying and a lack of research into the needs of individual species means there is a serious risk of people not understanding fully what they need to provide for the animal.

This can result in poor animal welfare and animal suffering, the RSPCA said in a statement.

With not all owners understanding the commitment involved, animals can become aggressive, grow very large, live for a long time or require a licence or paperwork to be legally kept or sold.

The animal charity advises that anyone thinking of getting any kind of pet should carry out plenty of research first using expert sources to ensure that the species is right for them and that they can properly meet their needs.

Anyone with information about who was responsible for leaving the tarantula on the train should contact the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

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