A tenant abandoned his apartment before being evicted, but he left behind a little surprise for management – boxes of tarantulas and scorpions.
A maintenance worker at a Houston apartment complex thought he was cleaning out an empty unit this week after the renter was evicted.
To his surprise, the apartment was still occupied — by dozens of scorpions and tarantulas.
Neighbor Jason White never realized he was living next door to what you might call a house full of pets – “Real quiet, no problems, no loud noises.”
The pets, tarantulas and scorpions, were all found in their containers, some of which still had the prices he paid for the critters.
The Houston Zoo experts said there were 72 in all, including three dead tarantulas, as well as more than 50 baby scorpions. They’re all considered evidence in an animal abandonment case.
Their owner left before an eviction notice for failing to pay rent was served. He never returned for what he left behind, 20 plastic boxes with the occupants inside.
The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the constable’s office were notified of the find Tuesday morning when a maintenance worker went to clean out the apartment and quickly ran for help.
Investigators arrived, and not for the traditional animal seizure.
“Tarantulas and scorpions (are) not too cute and cuddly,” said JC Mosier of the Harris Co Precinct 1 Constable’s Office.
There’s no evidence the owner was selling the tarantulas and scorpions, but he bought a lot of them, including a scorpion that wasn’t responding well to all the attention.
“He appears to be ready to strike,” said Sgt. Christine Kendrick of the Harris County Precinct 1 Constable’s Office.
While they’ve been without food for several weeks, they can survive for a month or more.
The material in which they’re kept is called substrata, and while some of the containers appear empty, it’s possible tarantulas burrowed beneath the surface, so the count may rise.
Already it’s setting a record for this cruelty investigator.
“This is my first one of this nature. Sometimes you may see one or two along with other animals like that, but apparently this was his thing,” Kendrick said.