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Officers noticed that a pair of Asics running shoes appeared oddly-shaped as they passed through the X-ray machine at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila on Wednesday (28 October).
Upon inspecting the suspicious shoes, they unearthed 119 of the arachnids stashed inside plastic vials.
The following day, the seized tarantulas (of varying species) were turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR WTMU) for proper handling.
The shoes were sent by Michal Krolicki, whose recipient was located in Cavite province, on the southern shores of Manila Bay.
Customs Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero said staff are now working with local officials to find the man whom the parcel was supposed to be delivered to.
He said: "Our personnel will sustain their collective effort to protect the country's premiere airport against all fraudulent attempts to import and/or export endangered wildlife species."
Last year, airport staff in the country intercepted 757 live tarantulas inside oatmeal and cookie boxes, and 87 spiders of varying species inside canisters - both of which were imported from Poland.
Tarantulas are classified as an endangered species in the Philippines. Illegal trading and importation are penalised with imprisonment of up to six months and fines of up to 250,000 pesos (£4,000).
Sadly though, people will go to great lengths to smuggle animals through airports.
Last year, a man in Germany tried to sneak tortoises through customs by disguising them as pastries; a brazen effort which clearly didn't work, hence I'm able to tell you about it.
Germany's PressePortal reported that a 69-year-old German man arrived by plane at Schönefeld Airport in Berlin on 2 March, having travelled from Cairo, Egypt.
Customs officers inspected the man and found a package in his bag that looked a little bit suspect. Having asked him what the box contained, the man simply said it was chocolate.
However, when officials opened up the package, they didn't find any sweet treats. Instead, they discovered three live Moroccan tortoises.
As the creatures are protected by the Washington Convention on the Protection of Animals, they were confiscated and placed in the care of the border veterinarian.
According to PressePortal, infringements of such species' protection regulations can result in fines of up to €50,000 (£43,000/$57,000) or imprisonment of up to five years.
A press release from Hauptzollamt Potsdam added: "With its controls, customs makes a decisive contribution to preserving the biodiversity of flora and fauna.
"Since 1973, the Washington Convention on the Protection of the Species (WA) has existed to protect wildlife and plants. In Germany it is valid since 1976.
"To date, 182 states have joined the WA. About 5,600 wild animals and 30,000 plant species are currently listed."
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