Photo: Swiss Man Smuggles 261 Mexican Tarantulas From Dominican Republic
The Zurich Customs Investigation Office has released a statement saying hundreds of tarantulas have been seized at a Swiss airport after suspicious containers were searched.
The authorities were expected to find drugs, but were shocked when they found 261 Mexican Redknee tarantulas, a protected species, individually wrapped in six cartons belonging to a Swiss spider breeder and dealer. Ten of large spiders died during the trip from the Dominican Republic.
While searching the man’s house, investigators found another 665 tarantulas and 72 meat-eating centipedes. Though he imported them illegally from Central America, he will be allowed to keep them, as they are not endangered.
The Zurich Zoo is currently caring for the remaining protected tarantulas, which are said to be only mildly poisonous to humans.
In total, the tarantulas are worth up to $16,700.
After weapons and drugs, animals are the third most commonly trafficked item in Switzerland.