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Myth: Someone bought a cactus at a local plant nursery. Later, it exploded and scattered baby tarantulas everywhere!
Fact: That is a full-fledged
Urban Legend and one of the best-known ones, which has passed from person
to person by word-of-mouth for so long, it has been around the world several
times. Oddly enough, persons repeating this story commonly (and falsely)
state that it happened to someone they know personally.
No one knows how the story started, but the event described never happened. Tarantulas do not inject their eggs into cactus plants, hatching tarantula egg sacs do not explode, and baby tarantulas are quite harmless in any case.
Fact: This urban legend began in August, 1999
as a deliberate Internet hoax, disguised as a news story. The original version
refers to a spider allegedly called Arachnius gluteus, or South American
Blush Spider. Nothing mentioned in the story is genuine; there is no such spider,
no such airport, no such medical association, no such doctor, no such restaurant,
and no such aeronautics board. For more detail, see Rick
Vetter's hoax page.
In October, 2002 a new version of the same hoax surfaced. This one mentions a real species, the south Asian jumping spider Telamonia dimidiata, but it is still a hoax. A jumping spider is one of the least likely to be found in such a situation; they are sun-lovers, and none are more than mildly toxic to humans.
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| Text ©
2003, Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture,
University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Photos © as credited
to Spider Myths author, Rod Crawford
This page last updated 1 September, 2010
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