A web of intrigue surrounds a gruesome discovery in a 19th century attic – where a large tarantula skin, potentially contaminated with asbestos, has been found. The shock find was made during a routine survey by Cardiff asbestos specialists Kusten Vorland. And a spider expert warned the beast that shed the skin could still be at large – and possibly twice the size.
After three days in the empty house, on The Parade, in Roath, surveyor Katie Parsons-Young led her team into a pitch-black attic at 4.30pm on Tuesday. Katie – no fan of creepy crawlies – got the shock of her life when lifting up one of the floorboards and spotting a large, hairy leg. She said: “We had lighting in there so we moved the lighting to the other area of the attic where I was and could see there was something. I was the first in. I sort of saw a leg, screamed and went.”
Most of the team fled the attic after the discovery, which it was originally thought was a dead spider, leaving no time to see if there were any more. Where the spiders may have come from is a mystery. “We don’t know if the spiders have been living there by themselves or it was a pet that’s made its home there,” Katie, 31, said. Although it had been assumed Katie had stumbled on a dead tarantula, when we showed the evidence to Cardiff Reptile Centre, they said the bagged exhibit was just a shed skin - meaning the spider, thought to be a Chilean Rose Tarantula, could still be at large.
The expert said that after shedding the skin, the effect of blood pumping through the spider means it could now be as big as 7ins in diameter. Meanwhile the skin was bagged and sent to a laboratory for analysis to find out whether it is contaminated with asbestos. Katie was meant to be working on the survey for the rest of the week but has returned to the office. She said: “I will certainly not be going back in there. I was absolutely petrified and couldn’t stop shaking for two hours. It was just horrific. I hate spiders and I hate them even more now.”