ICA busts man who tried to smuggle in 6 tarantulas; AVA finds 92 more in his residence

Photo: Pixabay
Photo: Pixabay

The role of Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers is to be the first line of defense in safeguarding Singapore’s safety and security against hostile threats.

Apparently, that includes tarantulas.

In one of the more stranger (and creepier) cases of illegal wildlife smuggling, ICA officers had been inspecting a Singapore-registered car at Tuas Checkpoint on the afternoon of Jan 4 when they found not one, but six live tarantulas in a sling bag. The driver — a lone 33-year-old Singaporean man — had the hairy little critters kept individually in containers in a bag that was placed on the rear passenger seat.


Photo: ICA newsroom

But that was nothing compared to what came next. Follow-up investigations by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) uncovered an additional 92 tarantulas at the man’s residence. We’re guessing that the dude lives alone, surrounded only by his eight-legged friends for company.

Photo: ICA newsroom

“Tarantulas are not approved to be kept as pets in Singapore,” stated ICA. “Some species of tarantulas are also protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna or Flora (CITES) Appendix II, and require CITES permits.”

The tarantulas have since been seized and are currently cared for by Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The press release didn’t state if the spiders were meant to be sold off to other individuals, but ICA reminded travelers not to import or keep wild animals as pets — demand for such animals would only fuel illegal wildlife trade. Plus the fact that these non-native animals, birds, and insects pose a threat to Singapore’s biodiversity, should they be released, and some may even transmit zoonotic diseases to humans.

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