-- Animal rescue workers in Houston seized dozens of tarantulas and scorpions from a Houston apartment on Tuesday after their owner abandoned them, according to police.
The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals seized 69 animals, including more than 50 baby scorpions and three dead tarantulas, from the vacant apartment after a maintenance worker discovered them stuffed in shoeboxes and plastic containers, according to ABC-owned station KTRK.
Managers at the apartment complex told police that they were planning to evict the tenant for failing to pay rent, but he abandoned the dwelling before they could serve him with eviction papers, KTRK reported.
Investigators said the apartment will be treated by an exterminator before it's rented out again, just in case any of the animals escaped.
All but one of the animals are venomous, according to Houston SPCA officials, who estimated that the animals had gone without food for at least several weeks.
One investigator said the animal count could rise because tarantulas tend to hide below the surface of their container’s filler material.
“This is my first one of this nature,” Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Sgt. Christine Kendrick told KTRK. “Sometimes you may see one or two along with other animals … but apparently, this was his thing.”
She said most of the animals were unlikely to harm humans unless they’re provoked.
“Unless you hurt them, they don’t bite. They’ve got to be in fear,” Kendrick said.