AMES, Iowa – Iowa State University received a donation of 169 confiscated baby tarantulas from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Earlier this month, the Iowa State University Insect Zoo received 169 baby tarantulas, the school said.
The baby tarantulas are very tiny — smaller than a fingernail, according to The Associated Press.
Insect Zoo education program coordinator Ginny Mitchell said that it’s the first time the Insect Zoo has received confiscated animals from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Iowa State University said. Apparently, the agency only sends confiscated animals to zoos, museums, and other institutions that are established.
Mitchell responded to a request for help with the baby tarantulas, which were confiscated at the Port of Los Angeles, the school said. Mitchell is on a listserve for zoos all over the country which is how she was able to get the baby tarantulas sent over to Iowa State University.
Ten of the baby tarantulas were given to Reiman Gardens and the Insect Zoo received the other 159, the school said. The plan is to have them raised at the Insect Zoo until they are big enough to be spread out to other zoos and hopefully the Insect Zoo will get to keep about half of them.
Tarantulas are reportedly some of the animals that are trafficked in the “illegal pet trading industry,” according to the AP.
“Many animals, such as tarantulas, are collected in the wild and sent to other countries for the pet industry. When animals are taken out of the wild, it reduces the general population and gene pool which can lead to the decimation of the species,” said Mitchell, per the AP.
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