Zoo grants spider-boy his Halloween wish

This Halloween will be especially magical for one young spider enthusiast, after ZSL Whipsnade Zoo granted his ultimate wish to meet a tarantula.

Saul McLean and a Mexican red knee tarantula
Five-year-old Saul McLean and a Mexican red knee tarantula

Five year-old spider-fan, Saul McLean, from Luton, wrote to zookeepers about his fang-tastic love of arachnids and other creepy crawlies, and asked if the Zoo could make his dreams come true and arrange for him to meet a tarantula, face-to-face, during the Zoo’s half-term Boo at the Zoo week.

Keepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo were so impressed with Saul’s enthusiasm for the oft-feared eight-legged creatures, they arranged for Saul to meet the Zoo’s Mexican red knee tarantula (Brachypelma hamorii), ahead of the Zoo’s Halloween event.

Team Leader of Ectotherms, Alex Cliffe said: “These fascinating creatures obviously get a bad rap, and it’s not often we meet someone, especially someone as young as Saul, that’s been bitten by the insect bug, so to speak! 

“It was so great to be able to make Saul’s ultimate Halloween wish come true and hopefully inspire him to be a wildlife and spider advocate of the future. 

“We have invited the whole of Saul’s family to come back to Boo at the Zoo and try out the bug handling sessions together. Maybe another member of his family will become a fan of the stick insect or giant cockroach!”

Saul’s mum, Sam McLean said: “Saul has loved creepy crawlies for as long as I can remember. It’s been incredible to see his biggest dream come true. I’m sure I will be hearing about his new tarantula friend for a long time!”

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