A true story and its source was the Australian Quarantine Inspection
Service in Adelaide .
A bloke and his family were on holidays in the United States and went
to Mexico for a week. An avid cactus fan, the man bought one-metre
high, rare and expensive cactus there. On arrival back home Australian
Customs said it must be quarantined for 3 months.
He finally got his cactus home. Planted it in his backyard, and over
time it grew to about 2 metres. One evening while watering his garden
after a warm spring day, he gave the cactus a light spray. He was
amazed to see the plant shiver all over, he gave it another spray and
it shivered again.
He was puzzled so he rang the council who put him on to the state
gardens people. After a few transfers he got the state's foremost
cactus expert who asked him many questions. How tall is it? Has it
Finally he asked the most disturbing question. 'Is your family in the
house?' The bloke answered yes. The cactus expert said get out of the
house NOW, get on to the front nature strip and wait for me; I will be
there in 20 minutes.
Fifteen minutes later, 2 fire trucks, 2 police cars and an ambulance
came screaming around the corner. A fireman got out and asked 'Are you
the bloke with the cactus?' I am, he said. A guy jumped out of the
fire truck wearing what looked like a space suit, a breathing cylinder
and mask attached to what looked like a scuba backpack with a large
hose attached. He headed for the backyard and turned a flame-thrower on
the cactus spraying it up and down.
After a few minutes the flame-thrower man stopped, the cactus stood
smoking and spitting, half the fence was burnt and parts of the gardens
were well and truly scorched. Just then the cactus expert appeared and
laid a calming hand on the bloke's shoulder. 'What the hell's going
on?' he says. 'Let me show you' says the cactus man. He went over to
the cactus and picked away a crusty bit, the cactus was almost entirely
hollow and filled with tiger striped bird-eating tarantula spiders,
each about the size of two hand spans.
The story was that this type of spider lays eggs in this type of
cactus and they hatch and live in it as they grow to full size. When
full size they release themselves. The cactus just explodes and about
150 dinner plate sized hairy spiders are flung from it, dispersing
everywhere. They had been ready to pop. The aftermath was that the
house and the adjoining houses had to be vacated and fumigated: police
tape was put up outside the whole area and no one was allowed in for
And here's what one looks like sitting on a FULL SIZE