Passengers Surprised to Find Abandoned Tarantula on Train

Passengers on-board a train that was pulling into London Bridge train station were stunned when they noticed another passenger—this one with eight legs.

According to officials from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), station staff contacted the agency for help. Mat Hawkins, a London animal rescue officer collected the spider, later identified as a pink-toed tarantula, the afternoon of January 7.

"Passengers got more than they bargained for when they spotted this little guy on the train," Hawkins said in a release issued by the RSPCA. "He was shut inside a plastic tub so we believe he had been abandoned in the carriage."

Staff at the train station kept the stowaway arachnid safe in an office until Hawkins picked it up. He then took it to South Essex Wildlife Hospital where it currently remains.

A spokesperson with South Essex Wildlife Hospital confirmed experts are looking after the tarantula during a hold period. It will then be rehomed to someone with experience, knowledge and understanding of the environment that it requires.

Pink-Toed Tarantula
A pink-toed tarantula was found to have been seemingly abandoned on a train. Animal officials said it appears the eight-legged stowaway was someone's pet. Photo Courtesy Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

"Pink-toed tarantulas are native to Central and South America and islands in the Southern Caribbean," officials with the RSPCA reported. "Their name is derived from the tips of their legs which are peach in color, helping them blend into their forest habitat."

Though generally known as low-maintenance due to their quiet demeanor and minimal space requirements, pink-toed tarantulas require their fair share of attention.

According to The Spruce Pets, their enclosures should have some height, and the temperature should range between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. That temperature can be achieved with heaters and reptile heat lights.

Humidity levels should be maintained between 65 percent and 75 percent in the enclosure, which the outlet reported as being one of the most difficult parts of owning this spider species.

If the spider feels threatened, it may bite. The spider's toxic venom may cause a reaction similar to that of a bee sting, but some people may experience a more serious reaction.

"Unfortunately many people are unaware of how much a commitment exotic pets—such as tarantulas—are when they take them on," officials with the RSPCA said in its release. "Impulse buying and lack of research into individual species' needs means there is a serious risk of people not understanding fully what they need to provide for the animal, which can result in poor animal welfare and animal suffering."

This is not the first tarantula that hitched a ride with fellow passengers.

Newsweek previously reported that a live tarantula was crawling around on an in-flight plane.

It was unclear whether it crawled onto the plane itself or was a passenger's pet, but one individual managed to trap it.

Updated 01/20/2022, 12:00 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with a statement from a spokesperson for the South Essex Wildlife Hospital.