The Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion has lost up to 7000 insects and lizards, amounting to almost 90% of its collections, it was revealed last week, in what was most likely an inside job. The heist was worth an estimated $40,000 on the black market. Yes, there is a black market in bugs. Among the missing critters is the six-eyed sand spider from Southern Africa, whose venom can rot up to 25% of its victim’s body.
Security cameras caught employees moving boxes out of the building on August 27th. In some strange act of defiance, the thieves left a few of their staff uniforms hanging from steak knives stuck in the walls. Local police have already checked the homes of some of the suspects and recovered a few of the insects, such as a Mexican fire-legged tarantula.
Museum CEO John Cambridge was surprisingly lenient in his comments, saying that they only wanted the collection back from the perpetrators, and that the museum didn’t want to see felony charges “follow them around for the rest of their lives," since he believed that the suspects were younger members of the staff.
Other critters still missing include giant african mantises, desert hairy scorpions, red spot assassin bugs, as well as the Gooty sapphire tarantula.