UPDATE, 7/12: As we had wondered, the signs about the missing tarantula were a joke that got a bit out of hand, according to a New York Times report.
People with arachnophobia, turn away now. Especially New Yorkers with arachnophobia.
A large, venomous tarantula may be on the loose in Brooklyn, and there's a race against time to find it, because apparently it's pregnant. That's according to the New York Post, which picked up on the "MISSING" signs posted by the tarantula's owner all over Park Slope today.
Of course, no one has actually verified that the tarantula is real, and touching off a borough-wide spider hunt would be a pretty good practical joke to play on jumpy New Yorkers who are notoriously panicky about bugs of all kinds.
But if this tarantula really is on the loose, we might not have too much reason to worry. The hairy Mexican red rump tarantula can get up to five inches long and has fangs filled with venom to kill its dinner. However, the species doesn't have a bite that has been reported to be serious to humans, and according to owner's signs, "she shouldn't bite but sometimes she jumps." This species of tarantula, native to Mexico and Central America, has spread as far north as Florida but isn't likely to find its new New York City habitat very hospitable in the long term. So, with a little luck, we won't be calling the exterminator to fight off a tarantula invasion anytime soon.