Shopper Spots Loose Tarantula On Cleaning Cart At Petco, Freaks Out

David and his daughter took a trip to Petco this week to buy a fish for her aquarium. After choosing a nice one, they took a lap around the store to look at the other animals. That’s when they ran into the cleanup cart… and the tarantula chillaxing on the corner. At least, that’s what it looked like. (Please note: this post contains pictures of a spider. Proceed with caution if you do not like spiders.)

The cleanup cart was blocking an aisle but with no employees nearby, so he just moved it out of the way. “I went to push it aside when I noticed the guy in the picture – just hanging out on the cart doing his thing,” he told Consumerist. “I jumped about a foot and almost dropped my kid.”


For the arachnid fans in the audience, here’s the full-resolution photo from David’s phone.


Now, it is possible that this is not a spider. No, not that it’s a plastic Halloween decoration, but it could be a molted skin from one of the store’s tarantulas. A molted skin looks just like, well, the outside of a tarantula. (You can watch a sped-up molting video here.) David was actually the one who suggested that possibility––I don’t know a lot about spiders––but he was still very startled. (Update: Petco tells us that the spider on the cart was, indeed, a molted skin.)

This arrangement couldn’t be very safe for the alleged tarantula or the store’s customers, so David sought out an employee and explained the problem. The following exchange is according to David’s memory:

“We’re cleaning the terrariums,” the employee told him. “So yeah, it’s fine.”

“Aren’t you worried that it will get away?” David asked, concerned for the pet as well as for fellow shoppers.

“No, the lid will keep it from getting away,” the employee replied, apparently not understanding where the critter actually was.

David gave up. Maybe the spider-like object was a molted skin after all. He, his daughter, and their new fish left the store, vowing not to come back on cleaning days at Petco anymore.

He wrote to us about his misadventure, and we contacted Petco. If this was a live spider, a company representative explained, that was not an approved location for it to hang out while its habitat was being cleaned.

“Having the spider not contained like that during maintenance of the habitat is definitely outside of our policy,” a Petco spokesperson explained to Consumerist. “Our policy is that the animal should be contained in a specific carrier during cleaning, so we are following up with the store.”

If it was just a molt, it evidently still has the potential to seriously freak out customers, and probably shouldn’t be stored on the edge of a cart. Even as Halloween approaches.

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