mc_squared Posted July 28, 2010 Share Posted July 28, 2010 It's a jungle out there: Tarantulas breeding in Bolton, a snake found in a washing machine and flying ants across Britain... not to mention the runaway vulture By Jaya Narain Last updated at 11:53 PM on 27th July 2010 Comments (90) Add to My Stories They are one of the largest poisonous spiders in the world and are capable of blinding you with their venom. So you can imagine the alarm after experts warned there may be a whole batch of escaped tarantulas on the loose. Experts have issued a warning after two young Chilean Rose tarantulas were found at properties just two miles apart. But the Chilean Rose tarantula is not the only exotic species making the usually sedate British countryside feel more like a jungle. A mother has discovered a 5ft-long corn snake curled up in her washing machine while a massive vulture has been discovered in Devon. Enlarge Flying hairs: A Chilean Rose tarantula found in Devon, which is now being kept at Smithills Open Farm near Bolton If that wasn't bad enough, the recent spell of warm muggy weather has given rise to mass swarms of flying ants. The pair of Chilean Rose tarantulas were discovered by homeowners wandering free in their gardens and now the RSPCA have urged people to be on their guard. The slow-moving large spiders from South America are a popular breed among collectors. They have a unique defence mechanism - when threatened the spiders use their hind legs to flick small, barbed hairs into the air which can cause intense pain and even blindness if they penetrate a person's eye. Last year a 29-year-old man had to be treated at St James's Hospital in Leeds after the hairs embedded themselves in his cornea. The man's right eye came under a hail of flying hairs as he rubbed a stain off the open glass tank of his Chilean Rose tarantula. The two loose tarantulas were just 10cms wide and were discovered in gardens in Bolton, Greater Manchester. Lisa Broad, 20, found the first spider in her garden and immediately called the RSPCA who picked it up the creature, named Fang, and rehomed it. Then another woman came face to face with a tarantula sitting on her garden wall and managed to trap it under a plant pot on her path. Derek Hampson, of the RSPCA said: 'We advised her to keep it under the plant pot until we arrived. They can quite happily go a week without food, so it was quite content. 'It got a bit aggressive when I picked it up. I wore safety goggles as these creatures can spit hairs which can blind you. 'It is possible there could be more out there, but unfortunately we haven't got the resources to search for them.' Mr Hampson took the young female, which is known to kill the male after mating, to Bugworld in Liverpool. The animal welfare charity has urged residents to be on their guard after experts warned there could be more on the loose. Experts at Bugworld said the discovery of two spiders, which are both the same age, breed and gender, is more than a coincidence. They believe the two arachnids could have escaped from the same place and might be part of a larger batch. Jenny Dobson, curator at Bugworld, said: 'It is rare for one of these to come in but we looked online and saw there had been another with the same characteristics found outdoors. 'It is likely they came from the same place. It would be too much of a coincidence otherwise for two breakouts and they can't survive in the wild for long with the UK climate.' The RSPCA has urged residents to be on their guard after experts warned there could be more on the loose. It's on slither cycle: Shocked housewife discovers a 5ft-long SNAKE in her washing machine Wendy Foley, 51, couldn't believe her eyes when she opened the door to her washer and found the orange reptile curled up on her clean clothes. It is believed the animal crawled in when the door was open and survived a washing cyle at her home just outside Exeter. Ms Foley made frantic called the police and the RSPCA, but was told the snake could not be collected until first thing in the morning. She said: 'I opened the glass door at the front and I saw something. I took it be part of a pair of jeans and then I wondered if it was a toy snake that children use. Slippery customer: The snake was curled up on top of Wendy Foley's washing when she opened the machine She said: 'The washing had been through a full cycle and was ended, so I was going to put more washing in.' 'I opened the glass door at the front and I saw something. I took it be part of a pair of jeans and then I wondered if it was a toy snake that children use.' 'But then it poked its tongue out at me. It was horrible and quite big. It was just lying there on the washing.' 'I don't know if it had been through the complete cycle or not. I screamed and screamed - I was terrified.' Mrs Foley, who has been using crutches after recent knee surgery, used one of her crutches to slam the door shut. Wendy, who has two sons aged 18 and 21, said she rushed out of the house and stopped a man in the street who came into look. 'He thought that thought the snake could be a boa constrictor,' she said. 'I called the police but as soon as I said what had happened they hung up, they thought it was a hoax. I called back and begged them to listen, that it wasn't a hoax, and they said they would get the RSPCA round.' 'I called the RSPCA and they said they would someone around but it wouldn't be until the next day. 'The boys and I waited outside the house for a while because we were so scared. Then they went to bed and I just sat on my bed all night absolutely petrified.' 'I kept thinking that it would get out and also that there could be more than one in the house. I hate snakes. They scare me and I have absolutely no idea where this one came from.' RSPCA spokeswoman Jo Barr said the snake was thought to be a corn snake which is not poisonous. She said Wendy called them at around midnight and that the snake had been there for some time. She said: 'The caller said the snake was in good health, not injured and was confined, so it was not sick or in danger and an officer was sent out first thing in the morning.' The RSPCA has now collected the snake. Cherry Keehner, of the 'Tiny Boas' reptile shop in Exeter, said: 'Corn snakes can grow to a 5ft in length, they are not poisonous but they can give you a nip if they are scared.' Corn snakes typically retail for around £30. Turkey vulture puts Devon in a flap Meanwhile a mother-of-two spotted this mystery bird on her rooftop - a huge turkey vulture. Marilyn Jordan, 39, saw the red-headed creature - native to America - perched on top of her home in Paignton, Devon. A huge turkey vulture sits upon Marilyn Jordan roof in Paignton, Devon It emerged today that the vulture had escaped from its home near Northampton and had flown more than 400 miles to the south of England. The nine-year-old bird - named Jackson - had been on the move for three weeks after going missing from Icarus Falconry. Huge swarms of flying ants mass over Britain The recent spell of warm muggy weather has also given rise to a bumper crop of flying ants. Huge swarms of common black garden ants, Latin name Lasius niger, have emerged from nests nationwide over the last few days. The recent humid weather triggered the ants' annual summer mating ritual where both queen and male ants grow wings before embarking on a 'nuptial flight'. The insects then reproduce in their billions before the queens lose their wings and find somewhere to lay eggs for a new colony - the males die. Richard Wall, Professor of Zoology at the University of Bristol, said that people have nothing to fear from the ants. The swarms are naturally synchronised across a wide area, giving rise to localised 'plagues' of flying ants He said: 'These ant swarms are primarily triggered by a combination of temperature and humidity and when the weather is right they emerge simultaneously.' 'Insects are very sensitive to humidity and the muggy weather we have experienced recently is perfect for flying ants.' 'The swarms usually last 1-3 days and occur between late July and early August - but this can differ depending on regional weather systems.' 'The entire species synchronises mating so that males and females from different nests can meet and prevent interbreeding.' 'When mating is over the queen ants crawl off and lay their eggs while the males just die - that's their only job.' Common black garden ants nest underground or in rotten wood and up to 15,000 workers can live in each colony. Queen ants grow up to 9mm long and can live for 12 years while male worker ants, which only grow grow to around 5mm long, die immediately after mating. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1298042/Chilean-Rose-tarantulas-Britain.html#ixzz0uw6kHSZl Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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