Sunday 20 August 2017

A deadly collection of reptiles and arachnids was nearly smuggled into Australia in a box labelled '2 pair shoes'

By Zaina Alibhai

It’s almost as though the country doesn’t have enough creepy creatures to deal with as it is.

A box full off live snakes, spiders and scorpions was intercepted by the Australian Border Force after someone attempted to smuggle the deadly collection into the country.

The box – marked as being “2 pair shoes” – was sent from Northern Europe and x-rayed at Melbourne where officers spotted the snakes before contacting the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Its biosecurity team uncovered the plethora of reptiles and arachnids, which included three ball pythons, two hognose snakes, six Wagler’s temple vipers, two Colombian giant tarantulas, five Mexican redknee tarantulas, two Brazilian salmon pink tarantulas and four Asian forest scorpions.

The collection posed a high biosecurity risk to Australia because they could be carrying pests and diseases not present in the country, potentially harming human, animal and plant health.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ Deputy Secretary, Lyn O’Connell, said: “This detection appears to be a clear attempt to get around the rules that are in place to protect us all.

“No spider is a match for our biosecurity web, we get our tails up when there are scorpions in the mail and if you try send exotic snakes — beware if we find intentional non-compliance, we bite back with the full force of the law.

“Anyone who claims to be an animal lover and conceals reptiles or arachnids in small packages and sends them through the mail does not have the best interests of the animals — or Australia — at heart.”

Press Association

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