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Don’t scream: thieves steal 7,000 live bugs and spiders from US museum


In news that’s guaranteed to make your skin crawl, the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, which houses bugs, spiders, scorpions, millipedes, frogs, and snakes, has been robbed of nearly 80 per cent of its insect population – worth a massive US$40,000.

Among the 80 species of creepy-crawlies lifted in the “live-insect heist” were rhinoceros roaches (giant roaches – my nightmare), red spot assassin bugs (literally killer bugs), zebra tarantulas (just no) and desert hairy scorpions (double no).

Even worse, it looks like an inside job with security footage catching several employees pulling off the brazen theft – even sticking their staff uniforms to a wall with a pair of knives (just slightly disturbing).

Police have contacted the suspects, though they haven’t made any arrests yet, but have only managed to recover around a dozen insects at one of their homes – leaving the remaining 6,990 unaccounted for.

The museum’s owner John Cambridge says he suspects the thieves are trying to offload the bugs as “the enthusiast market is quite strong” (of course, who wouldn’t want their own zebra tarantula?)

Just as long as they don’t plan to set them free.

Museum owner John Cambridge with some of the remaining collection. Credit: CNN

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

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