Stowaway tarantulas terrorize airline passengers en route to Canada

By Marilyn Malara
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WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- Not one, but two large tarantulas stowed away in a recent passenger flight to Canada, terrorizing all on board.

The spiders scurried across the floor of an Air Transat flight from the Dominican Republic to Montreal in April, and passengers are reportedly still filing complaints.


Recounting her harrowing tale of coming eye-to-eye with one of the hairy arachnids, passenger Catherine Moreau said she was wearing a skirt when one crawled up her leg.

"I brushed [it] away and it started tickling me again," she told CBC News. "That's when I noticed the tarantula."

"It was during the meal," she said to French-language outlet, Radio-Canada. "My husband managed to catch the spider in a plastic container, but it wriggled its legs out. My daughter was crying, she was in shock."

She said flight attendants were at a loss of what to do and others were too afraid to come near the large creeper. Air Transat flight attendant union Vice President Julie Roberts said they "did what they could to calm people down."

"They gave first aid to the person who said that a spider climbed [her] legs," Roberts said, according to CBC. Passengers were then asked to cover their ankles and feet.


A second spider remained at large, causing fright among many of the Air Transat customers. It was caught by a federal agent once the flight landed in Montreal.

An entomologist at the University of Montreal said the tarantulas were likely a common species found in the Dominican Republic, and may have been hidden by a passenger who intended to sell them.

"The market for live tarantulas is very lucrative," Etienne Normandin said, adding that although aggressive, the spiders' venom is not very strong.

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