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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 December 2005, 15:59 GMT
Tarantula fear forces family out
Tarantula (generic)
Over 800 species
Largest has leg span of 28 cm (11in)
Most are not dangerous to humans
Bite can be painful
They use large fangs to inject venom into their victims
Some flick hairs into the face of predators
Members of a west Wales family have been driven from their beds by what they think is an escaped tarantula.

Jan Price is refusing to enter her home in Gorslas after dark and her son Wayne has taken to sleeping on a couch downstairs since the spider was seen.

An exotic pet keeper has laid traps in the semi-detached house, but so far it has not been caught.

One theory is the spider - described as the size of a CD - has wandered into the house from a nearby property.

No-one has come forward to claim the tarantula and it has led to calls for stricter rules on people keeping exotic animals.

Mrs Price said Wayne first spotted the spider when he was watching television in his bedroom about three weeks ago.

An initial search did not reveal anything, but when she was tidying the house last week she came face to face with the creature.

Spiders can go a long time without any food and you could take the whole place apart and never find it
Geraint Hopkins, pet keeper
"Wayne had gone away for the weekend with the boys and I was tidying his room when it came from under the radiator and then went under the bed.

"I shake just talking about it now. It was a massive grey fluffy thing.

Baited traps

"I work at Gorslas school and come back here during the day but when it starts getting dark I go to stay with friends.

"Wayne is sleeping on the couch downstairs. It's very upsetting."

Wayne Price
Wayne Price has taken to sleeping on the couch downstairs

Geraint Hopkins, who was called in by police to try and catch the spider, said from the description he had been given it sounded like a tarantula.

"I've put traps down and baited them with locusts but nothing has been found so far," he said.

"Spiders can go a long time without any food and you could take the whole place apart and never find it."

He has appealed for the owner to contact him in confidence.

"It would help if I knew what I was dealing with," he added.

"I think with exotic pets becoming more popular pet shops need to be careful who they are selling to. They need to make sure that the person knows how to look after them."

Mrs Price went further, and said: "I think there should be a register so we might then know where it has come from."

Help in sight for spider phobia
03 Nov 03 |  Health
Missing tarantula back home
02 Sep 03 |  South East Wales
Tarantula found on street
08 Jul 03 |  Tyne


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