He told authorities he is "passionate about insects."

By Stacey Leasca
September 10, 2019
Top view of white knee tarantula, Acanthoscurria geniculata.
Credit: iStockphoto/Getty Images

A Polish man was arrested at the Cayenne-Félix Eboué Airport in French Guiana in late August after attempting to smuggle some creepy, crawly, and hairy tarantulas through airport security.

According to Agence France Presse, the man was in possession of nearly 100 spiders, including 38 adult spiders, some 50 adolescent spiders, and dozens of egg-filled cocoons, when he was stopped by airport security.

The man, who was attempting to board a plane to Paris, told authorities he's "passionate about insects," while he was getting arrested on Aug. 25.

While this story sounds a bit wild, TravelPulse reported it’s not technically forbidden to transport live tarantulas. However, it is heavily regulated. Furthermore, the wildlife protection agency ONCFS explains that certain species of tarantulas are protected.

Believe it or not, incidents like this aren’t as rare as you think.

In 2018, a man was arrested after attempting to smuggle 70 live finches through JFK airport in New York City. The man tried to get the birds through by delicately placing them in hair rollers.

In January of 2019, another man attempted to smuggle four tiny kittens in his pants. He was caught when border patrol agents noticed the bulge.

And, in 2017, another man attempted to smuggle 330 endangered tortoises worth $250,000 through a Malaysian airport. At the time, customs officials found the tortoises alive in their crates. The man faced up to three years in jail and hefty fines for the attempted smuggle.

Of course, this is far from all the odd animal smuggling stories out there. Other attempts include hiding gerbils in perfume bottles, snakes in stuffed in stockings, monkeys in women’s shirts, and more. What’s perhaps most difficult to believe is that last one, involving a woman attempting to smuggle a baby rhesus macaque, actually worked. The woman hid it under the daughter’s clothes as if she were pregnant. The pair made it past security, however, they were arrested after bringing their “baby” to a Spokane-area mall and bragging about it.