We've just revealed the exciting adventure of one its new additions, a giant venomous centipede that travelled from Antigua, through customs, via a Bristolian’s dirty washing.
The Zoo believes the centipede, which has been named Curtley, to be a Peruvian giant centipede, which is among the largest species of centipede and toxic to humans.
Bristol resident Jennie Esler was staying in a house in English Harbour, a town in Antigua, when Curtley the centipede snuck inside her luggage. Jennie had no idea he was in her bag until he’d been in there for over 48 hours, after she’d been back in the UK for over 24 hours.
Jennie said: “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. We arrived home after an 8 hour flight at 9am on Sunday morning and went straight to sleep. By this point Curtley must've been in the bag for at least 20 hours but I didn't unpack that bag for another 24 hours.”
It wasn’t until Jennie began unpacking the last few items in her bag that she noticed him.
“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”, said Jenny, “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 lives in Bristol Zoo’s Bug World exhibit.
Mark Bushell, Assistant Curator of Invertebrates at Bristol Zoo said: “Curtley has settled in well. It is hard to tell whether Curtley is male or female but we do know that he/she likes digging tunnels and particularly likes eating crickets.”
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.