HR Strange But True!
June 29, 2006

Mahlon Hector delivered two things on his last day of work at a retail chain in Leicester, England: his resignation and a package containing a tarantula to a co-worker.

Hector, 22, has pleaded guilty to one count of sending a letter or other article conveying a threat after admitting he delivered a Mexican red-kneed tarantula in a box addressed to a co-worker at a branch of the Marks & Spencer retail chain, the Associated Press reports.

The Mexican red-kneed tarantula is a large, hairy spider with a leg span that can reach 10 inches, according to the news service. While they may look menacing, which is why movies often use them, Mexican red-kneed tarantulas are docile unless provoked. You can see a picture of a Mexican red-kneed tarantula at Encyclopedia Britannica.

The co-worker who received the package was shocked but unharmed by the incident, police say.

"The victim and other employees at the store were extremely shocked by the incident," a police spokesperson tells the British Broadcasting Corp. "The motive seems to have been some form of practical joke with an intention to shock after a professional disagreement between the two."

The spokesperson tells the BBC why police decided against pursuing animal-cruelty charges against Hector.

"The spider may also have suffered and we would have pursued the matter under animal cruelty legislation but it does not cover invertebrates," the spokesperson says.

Good luck to Hector if he plans on using Marks & Spencer as a reference in the future. He faces a sentencing date in July.

Sources: Associated Press and BBC

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