A STRAY tarantula on the loose in a car park by a local service station has been rescued by the RSPCA.
The large, hairy arachnid was spotted by a driver in the car park of Starbucks at the Wisley service station on the south-bound carriageway of the A3. The motorist managed to carefully catch the creature in a plastic box before reporting the unusual find to the Starbucks counter staff, who contacted the RSPCA for help.
“This was a really big spider – the size of a hand. It was very hairy and had bright orange knees! I’m not surprised it gave the motorist a shock,” said RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Jayne Jones.
“The startled driver spotted the animal scuttling across the car park near to the Starbucks café. It has been identified as a Mexican red knee tarantula and we have nicknamed it Aragog, after the ‘Acromantula’ from the Harry Potter stories. Aragog is now being looked after by our Millbrook Animal Centre near Woking and if the animal remains unclaimed, it will spend the rest of its natural life at a specialist facility.”
The RSPCA suspects that the tarantula was abandoned after its owner was unable to look after it properly.
“We are concerned that someone would abandon a spider like this,” said Jayne. “Tarantulas live in a warm and humid environment in the wild and need the same provided in captivity, to meet their needs and keep them healthy. It is also an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, to release or allow to escape any non-native species into the wild.”