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Toddler Recovering After Birthday Party Tarantula Eye Attack

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(Via Ben Sutherland/Flickr)

Who would have thought inviting a giant spider to a 3-year-old’s birthday party could go so wrong?

The Litzinger family of Toronto, Ontario decided a tarantula would be the perfect guest for their toddler’s party, and hired Hands On Exotics, a company that provides animal therapy, party and outreach services to bring over the hairy beast, along with a baby kangaroo and an owl to entertain their son.

While the toddler was holding the Rose Hair tarantula, it reacted defensively, shooting tiny barbed hairs into their son’s eye — a little-known defence mechanism in addition to its poisonous bite.

The child immediately began blinking and rubbing his eyes, and the crying that started wouldn’t end for days.

According to Dr. Kamiar Mireskandari, an ophthalmologist at Toronto’s Sick Kids Hospital where the boy was taken, tarantulas have microscopic fibres, called urticating hairs, that cause stinging and itching when they come into contact with the skin.

When they are shot into a person’s eye, however, the tiny barbs of the hair hook in, slowly sinking deeper into the eyeball and making them very difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

With little apparent reflection on his own responsibility, the boy’s father told the National Post:

There’s no real warning… No one should ever have to go through something like this. No child should ever have to, and no parents of those children.

Since the September party, Hands On Exotics has changed its policy, and no longer allows customers to hold the tarantulas.

As for the little boy, he still visits the Toronto Sick Kids Hospital monthly, and doctors think he will recover fully.


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