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Large tarantula crawls on airline passenger

Posted on Saturday, 21 May, 2016 | Comment icon 20 comments

Finding a large spider crawling on you is the stuff of nightmares. Image Credit: Samantha Villagran /
Catherine Moreau had been watching a movie during a routine flight when she felt something on her leg.
Flying can be a nerve-wracking experience at the best of times, but for one passenger aboard a Montreal-bound Air Transat flight last month, an otherwise uneventful trip soon turned to chaos thanks to an encounter with a critter of the large, eight-legged variety.

Moreau had been watching a film on her iPad when she felt something brush up against her leg. After trying to sweep it away with her hand, she soon realized to her horror that the object was in fact a large tarantula that was slowly making its way up her body.

Things went from bad to worse when the spider, having been shaken on to the floor, hid underneath her daughter's suitcase who was left so terrified by the ordeal that she ended up having nightmares.

It later turned out that there had actually been two of the spiders on-board the plane and that they had most likely escaped from the luggage of another passenger who had intended to sell them.

According to entomologist Etienne Normandin, the species was identified as Phormictopus cancerides which is thought to be quite aggressive but has only a weak venomous bite.

"The market for live tarantulas is very lucrative," he said.

Source: | Comments (20)

Tags: Airline, Tarantula

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by little_dreamer on 22 May, 2016, 0:29
Once I saw a large spider on the floor and I screamed so loud the spider jumped. They say pet tarantulas are not very venomous but sorry - I don't want any spider touching me.
Comment icon #12 Posted by jarjarbinks on 22 May, 2016, 0:56
My son has seven tarantulas as pets. It's actually helped me deal with my arachnophobia. I don't freak out as much when I see a spider in my basement anymore. Same here. My brother had arachnophobia so i use to put them on him when i was watching him when we were kid. Now, he's in some kind vegetable state and he dont show sign of arachnophobia anymore.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Poppi on 22 May, 2016, 1:03
Tarantula tickler. Sounds like a new sex toy.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Buzz_Light_Year on 22 May, 2016, 10:03
Comment icon #15 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats on 22 May, 2016, 10:23
Comment icon #16 Posted by pallidin on 22 May, 2016, 23:42
There best not be another person around me if I find a spider crawling on me. I go fantastically insane, and might well unintentionally hit someone whilst frantically brushing off the spider.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Likely Guy on 23 May, 2016, 3:48
My son has seven tarantulas as pets. It's actually helped me deal with my arachnophobia. I don't freak out as much when I see a spider in my basement anymore. Tarantulas are extremely gentle by nature. The first time I had one in my hand it was like it was asking every step, eight times... "Is that okay?", "Is that okay?", "Is that okay?", etc... And yeah, if you have big spiders in the basement, you probably have no silverfish nor the other nasty creepy crawlers. I'd rather have the wolves of the insect world in my house, than the rest of the insect world. Edit: Or, I suppose, some people cou... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by paperdyer on 23 May, 2016, 19:49
@Infernal Gnu - Why stop at two?  SyFy would produce it.  They're up to Sharknado 4 aren't they?
Comment icon #19 Posted by BeastieRunner on 23 May, 2016, 22:44
There was a Tarantula movie on a plane in the 70s. I think they stowed away on a cargo plane with coffee beans. We're long overdue for a new one if you ask me!
Comment icon #20 Posted by Paranomali on 28 May, 2016, 0:31
I used to say my worst fear was being trapped in an elevator with a spider, but basically this is the same. How traumatic !!

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