The RSPCA is appealing for information after a tarantula the size of a hand was abandoned on a Leicester street.

The spider was found, on Friday (May 5), in a plastic box by a member of the public on Narborough Road, near to the junction of Ivy Road.

The spider has been identified as a Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula, the third largest species of tarantula in the world which can grow up to a leg-span of 10 inches. The arachnid has now been taken on by a specialist exotics keeper.

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RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Steve Smith said: “The member of the public who contacted us was understandably shaken by the size of the spider. Despite the size, the spider was not aggressive at all.

“Luckily we have found someone who has taken the spider on, so the spider will now live the rest of their life being looked after properly.

“We are concerned that someone abandoned a spider in the street like this. These tarantulas live in a warm and humid environment in the wild and need the same provided in captivity, to meet their needs and keep them healthy.

“It is likely that the spider was an unwanted pet which someone decided to dispose of for whatever reason. We would recommend that anyone interested in keeping a tarantula as a pet thoroughly research the particular species’ needs carefully first before deciding to get one, so they know what is involved and how long it is likely to be for.”

Anyone with information about the spider should contact the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018.

Exotic pets often end up in the RSPCA’s care after people realise they’re not easy to care for, or once the novelty wears off, as for many people an exotic animal represents too much of a commitment.

Caring for exotics can be challenging and expensive; the animal may grow very large, live for a long time, become aggressive or require a licence or other paperwork to be legally kept or sold. They have the same needs as in the wild, which include the need for a suitable environment, diet and to express normal behaviour.

For more information about exotic animals as pets, visit http://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)