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Philadelphia Insectarium Has Thousands of Insects and Reptiles Stolen

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#1 LFC

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 11:18 AM

In what appears to be an inside job the Philadelphia Insectarium had thousands of animals stolen and likely destined for the illegal pet trade. I have multiple friends who understand the exotic pet market, mostly in herpetology but also in other fauna. The fascination some people have with owning something rare that nobody else has runs outrageously deep. It's the likely source of the several credible Cougar sightings not far from Philadelphia over the past decade or so and my one buddy has wrangled two separate alligators within 30 minutes of my house.


What a bunch of louses.

Ex-employees of a Philadelphia museum have been questioned in the theft of thousands of living insects and lizards, and investigators appear close to wrapping up the case, a police spokesman told The Daily Beast.

A dozen of the burgled bugs were recovered from one suspect’s home and returned—including a Mexican Fireleg tarantula, a shudder-inducing orange and black specimen that can fire bristly hairs like missiles when threatened.

Still in the wind are two-spotted assassin bugs with a bite that can cause temporary blindness, a few lizards, and an army of beetles, roaches, scorpions and spiders. Oh, and a six-eyed sand spider believed to have the deadliest venom in the world.

Those are likely gone for good. That’s according to John Cambridge, the Insectarium’s CEO, who suspects the caper was inspired by both revenge—he fired one of the suspects on the day the exhibits began to vanish—and greed.

Sold individually, Cambridge estimates, the purloined pests could fetch more than $40,000 on the underground insect market.

“It’s a healthy, energetic industry and there are a lot of outlets for people to sell them,” he said. “It’s unlikely the individuals who took them could provide the care these creatures need.”

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