Australian authorities intercept parcel with 11 dangerous animals

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SYDNEY, April 5 (PNA/Xinhua) — Australian customs officials have discovered live dangerous animals being shipped to Melbourne.

An international mail room in Melbourne discovered the parcel full of venomous snakes, tarantulas and Asian forest scorpions sent from northern Europe.

A total of 11 snakes, nine tarantulas and four scorpions were found in the box marked “two pair shoes”.

Lyn O’Connell, deputy secretary of the Agriculture Department, said that “no spider was a match for our biosecurity web”.

“We get our tails up when there are scorpions in the mail and if you try (to) send exotic snakes… we bite back with the full force of the law,” O’Connell said in a statement published by the Guardian on Wednesday.

“Anyone who… conceals reptiles or arachnids in small packages and sends them through the mail does not have the best interests of the animals or Australia at heart.”

Among the animals, which have been seized and destroyed, were six Wagler’s temple vipers, a venomous snake native to Southeast Asia, and two Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantulas, the third largest tarantula species in the world.

The four scorpions, five Mexican redknee tarantulas, two Colombian giant tarantulas, two hognose snakes and three ball pythons were also seized and destroyed.

The Department of Agriculture, who will investigate the case further, said the animals posed a “high biosecurity risk” due to their ability to carry diseases and pests.

“We are always finding new and unusual things that people are trying to smuggle into the country,” Australian Border Force’s James Watson told the Guardian.

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