Thursday 8 December 2016

Centipede legs it to a new home

Published 11/06/2015 | 14:36

A venomous Peruvian giant centipede has been given a home at a Bristol zoo after it arrived in the UK in a woman's suitcase (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)
A venomous Peruvian giant centipede has been given a home at a Bristol zoo after it arrived in the UK in a woman's suitcase (Bristol Zoo Gardens/PA)

A giant venomous centipede has a new home in the UK after flying from Antigua in a Briton's dirty washing.

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Jennie Esler was unaware the Peruvian giant centipede - one of the largest of its kind in the world and toxic to humans - had crawled into her suitcase as she packed to return to home to Bristol.

Ms Esler has been staying at a house in English Harbour, a town on the Caribbean island, during a trip in April.

She caught the eight hour flight back to the UK and passing through customs with the 11cm-long centipede, which has been named Curtley, in her luggage.

"I have no idea when he actually got in there, but I packed it up to leave on the Saturday morning, popped to the beach for a bit and then made our way up to the airport," she said.

"We arrived home after an eight hour flight at 9am on Sunday and went straight to sleep.

"By this point Curtley must have been in the bag for at least 20 hours but I didn't unpack that bag for another 24 hours."

It was not until Ms Esler began unpacking the last few items in her bag that she noticed the creepy crawly.

"At first I thought I was seeing things and then I peered inside and saw nothing but legs against the black fabric of the bag," she said.

"He didn't actually run out, he was quite shy. I had to tip him out of the bag into the bathroom sink, as I didn't really know what he was at this point.

"I couldn't believe it when I saw him. How did he get there? I didn't know what to do so I called the RSPCA who advised me to ring the zoo and the rest is history."

Curtley now has a new home at Bristol Zoo's Bug World exhibit.

Mark Bushell, the Zoo's assistant curator of invertebrates, said: "Curtley has settled in well. It is hard to tell whether Curtley is male or female but we do know that they like digging tunnels and particularly like eating crickets."

Press Association

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