Customs officers in the Philippines opened a parcel containing a pair of Asics trainers to find 119 live tarantula spiders hidden inside.
Investigators at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila found the venomous spiders in tiny plastic containers stuffed inside the running shoes.
The parcel, which was being shipped from Poland by someone named “Michal Krolicki,” was being sent via DHL to an address in the Province of Cavite, to the south-west of Manila.
A Facebook post from the Philippines Customs Bureau explain that the parcel had looked suspicious under x-ray examination and so the officers had opened it.
“Through the vigilance of Customs operatives and examiners,” they wrote, “the package yielded suspicious images, and was subjected to physical examination. Customs examiners uncovered different species of live tarantulas in individual plastic vials.”
Bizarrely, this isn’t the first time someone had tried to smuggle tarantulas from Poland into the Philippines.
Last year, customs officials intercepted 757 live tarantulas concealed inside oatmeal and cookie boxes and 87 live spiders inside white plastic containers, both exported from Poland.
The Philippines Customs Bureau said it had also intercepted a parcel containing a reticulated python.
Tarantulas are classified as endangered wildlife species, and illegal wildlife trading can carry large fines and prison sentences.
While the hairy spiders are often considered dangerous, but in most cases their bites are nasty but not fatal. Most species of tarantula have bites no more dangerous than a wasp sting.
Some others have venom that can produce painful muscle cramps and bites from the African tarantula Pelinobius muticus can also cause strong hallucinations.
They’re widespread across the world, being found in North and South America as well as Africa, Australia and parts of Asia.
Tarantulas are surprisingly popular as pets. While some enthusiasts keep the fast-moving pink toe tarantula, most opt for the more placid Curly Hair Tarantula.