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Attack of the giant tarantula

Chilean Rose TarantulaWhat may sound like a cheap B movie is actually happening in Cardiff. Well, almost. No one’s attacking us. If you suffer from arachnophobia and live in The Parade, Roath, you may be quite concerned about last Friday’s news on a giant spider on the loose. It’s actually not very far from our own Cathays office!

Meeting our new “friend”

The 7 inches (!) arachnid has yet to be found. Indeed what was found in the 19th century building where it lived is its skin. Since the house was contaminated with asbestos there weren’t any tenants to play housemates with the tarantula. The creature shed in the attic, which means that it grew bigger - hence the 7 inches (17cm) it is believed to have reached. It abandoned for some reason the safety of the attic to go and scare the Cardiff population, particularly students since Roath is very popular for student accommodation. Or maybe it still lives someplace else in the attic, we won’t know until it is found. It seems so good at hiding that we probably wouldn’t know of its existence, if it hadn’t been for the team of asbestos removers who visited the attic last week and found the skin.

The real problem

Yes, there is a real problem apart from the fact that there is a gigantic tarantula on the loose! Indeed, the spider is thought to be covered with asbestos, which can cause serious illness. Prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos is dangerous so encountering the arachnid should be more scary than dangerous, but still.

Experts have yet to find out what type of tarantula the creature is, but it is thought of being a fairly harmless Chilean rose tarantula. This remains to be confirmed pretty soon, but if it is indeed a Chilean rose tarantula, being bitten by it should not be too dangerous. (Being bitten by an asbestos-coated spider won’t give you superpowers either, unfortunately). Let’s hope it doesn’t bite anyone, no matter what type it is!

Sparking reactions everywhere

It is quite interesting to see how such small news items can sometimes go from local to national  and even international news. The tarantula story started in WalesOnLine and The Independent, to end up in The Daily Mail, Metro or The Sun. It was even mentioned briefly in an Australian newspaper! The story also featured in French press Paris Match. Where next?

A new starlet is born

Huge interest was shown on social media for the spied on the loose. The Twitterverse particularly took hold of the news and many commented on the spider’s arrival in town. Someone even went as far as to set up a Twitter account for the creature, @AsbestosSpider. It gained around 500 followers in 2 days and currently has 697 followers. The witty tarantula comments the news and gives indications on where it could be.

Happy ending?

We still don’t know how the tarantula arrived in Cardiff and if it was someone’s “pet”. If it wasn’t a pet this could mean there are others out there. We can be glad that the population is mainly taking the matter lightly, as there is not much we can do and panicking wouldn’t do anyone any good. As we said earlier, it is not thought to be extremely dangerous, in which case all we risk is a really good scare.

What are your thoughts on the Tarantula adventures? Would you adopt the tarantula, as many of its Twitter followers have said they would? 

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