A plane was grounded and passengers transferred to another flight after a large type of African tarantula spider escaped from its container.
Brian Kruse, spokesman for Delta Air Lines, told the Baltimore Sun that baggage handlers noticed a baboon tarantula loose on flight 1525, a US domestic flight from Maryland’s BWI airport to Atlanta, Georgia.
The tarantula had escaped from its container in the cargo hold. Kruse said the captain grounded the plane while the aircraft was searched for any other spiders that might be wandering.
“They were able to capture it, and they contacted the handler to verify it was the only spider in the cage,” Kruse said.
Kruse said the spider was confined to the cargo hold and never entered the cabin.
The captain told passengers the reason for the delay. After hearing that a large venomous spider had escaped passengers were keen to depart the plane.
Harpactirinae (commonly called baboon spiders) are a subfamily of tarantulas which are native to Africa. Like many tarantulas, they have a strong venom and can inflict a painful bite. Most baboon spiders are not considered dangerous to humans – but that doesn’t mean you want one turning up near you on a flight.
Written by Peter Needham