The Exploding/Vibrating Cactus

This is one of those Urban Legend that just seems to run and run. It first appeared in 1998 and is still going strong.

Tarantulas infest student's potted cactus
Jessica Steeno - Staff Reporter

Status: False (Spoof).

When a University student purchased a cactus from Acme Florist in Dinkytown, she had no idea thousands of fuzzy arachnids would leap from the soil and infiltrate her apartment.

If she didn't have arachnophobia then, she does now.

"I was finding dead tarantulas in my underwear drawer for weeks after it happened," said Iona Bugg, a senior botany major.

Bugg said she purchased the Christmas cactus last week, and shortly afterward noticed strange noises coming from the pot.

"I could hear something scratching on the inside of the pot, like it was trying to get out," she said.

She immediately called Acme and explained the noises to them.

"I knew right away what it meant," said Moe Skeedo, the store's manager. "There had been problems with spiders nesting in house cactuses in the South, but I was completely shocked to hear that a plant from our store in Minneapolis was full of hatching spiders."

Skeedo told Bugg to evacuate her Dinkytown apartment immediately. He then sent a team of specialists to dispose of the cactus.

Bugg was waiting in the driveway when the specialists arrived.

"They were wearing these big rubber suits when they came out of the van," she said. "It was like something out of E.T."

At this point, Bugg was still not aware that lurking inside the pot was a nest full of tarantulas.

"We didn't want to alarm her," Skeedo said.

The specialists entered Bugg's apartment, where Dale Droppit, Acme Florist's entomologist, located the offending cactus. He picked it up and was intending to bring it back to the van when the inevitable happened.

With his head hanging and eyes fixed on the floor, Droppit said the decontamination suit's gloves are made of slick nylon. He said that when the cactus slipped from his hands, the nest of tarantulas burst open.

"I've never seen so many baby tarantulas in one place," Droppit said. "We were lucky we had our suits on, otherwise the little buggers would've crawled right up our pants. We radioed the exterminator right away."

Moments later, the exterminator's truck pulled into the driveway, Bugg said.

"That's when I knew something fishy was going on," she said. Bugg said she tried to push her way into her apartment to see what was going on, but the men in suits wouldn't let her in.

"They were obviously bugged out by something," she said.

The exterminator bombed her apartment with insecticide, and paid for Bugg's hotel room for the next few days.

Acme Florist attempted to clean up the dead tarantulas, but Bugg said they infiltrated every inch of her apartment.

"When I first came home I couldn't tell anything happened," Bugg said. "But as soon as I started opening drawers and checking crevices I started finding their furry little corpses. One of them creeped into the refrigerator, and it was still alive! It was staggering from being so cold, though, and I killed it without much trouble. It left a big mark on the floor though."

Bugg said that although she was traumatized by the experience and has since switched majors to computer science, she is thankful Acme stepped in when they did.

"Thank God they responded so quickly," she said. "They saved my life, not to mention my sanity. But I still get the creeps whenever I open my fridge."

Another version of the story above....

Status: False (Urban Legend).

This bloke and his family were on holiday in the States and went to Mexico for a week. As he is an avid cactus fan he bought a rare and expensive cactus there, it was about a metre high and cost about $500 Aus. He got it home and the customs people were none too impressed so they said it must stay in quarantine for 3 months, cost - $800 or so.

He finally got his cactus home and planted it in his backyard where over time it grew to about 2 metres or so in height. One evening after a beautiful warm spring day he was out watering his garden and thought he might give the cactus a light spray. This he did and was amazed to see the plant shiver all over, he gave it another light spray and it shivered and shook again. All its arms moved. He was puzzled so he rang the council who put him on to the state gardens. After a few transfers he got the states foremost cactus expert who asked him many pointed questions, how tall is it, how tall was it when you got it, has it grown well, has it flowered, what type of spines etc etc. Finally he asked a most disturbing question, " is your family in the house?".

The guy answered yes, the cactus expert said get them out of the house NOW, get on to the front nature strip and wait for me, I will be there in 15 minutes. Ten minutes later, 2 fire trucks, two cop cars and an ambulance came screaming around the corner at the end of the street and stopped out the front of the house.

A fireman got out and came up to him, " are you the guy with the cactus?". I am he said. The fireman turns to the truck and says 'come on Dave'. A guy jumps out of the fire truck wearing what looks like a space suit, a breathing cylinder and mask attached and what looks like a scuba backpack on with a large hose attached.

Stay here, says the first fireman, and they both headed for the backyard. This was too much for the bloke so he ran around after them and found the guy in the space suit was torching his prize cactus with a flamethrower, he sprayed it up and down with this huge flame which fried everything within a ten metre radius of the cactus, caught fire to the back fence and set off the neighbours trees as well. The guy of course was having kittens, what the $%^& is going on etc etc, after about ten minutes the flame thrower man stopped, his cactus stood there smoking and spitting, half the fence was gone, his garden was entirely rooted.

Just then the cactus expert appears and laid a calming hand on the guys shoulder. "What the hell is going on?" says the bloke, 'let me show you' says the cactus man.

He went over to the cactus and picked away at a crusty bit of it, it was almost entirely hollow and filled with these tiger striped bird eating tarantula spiders, about the size of two hands spans.

The story was that this type of spider lays eggs in this type of cactus and they hatch and live in it as it and they grow to full size. When they are all grown to full size they release themselves, the cactus just explodes and about 150 of these plate size tiger striped hairy spiders are flung from it, dispersing everywhere of course. They had been just ready to pop, can you imagine???????????

The aftermath was that his house and the two houses adjoining on each side had to be vacated and fumigated and sealed up for two weeks, yellow police tape was put up outside the whole area and no one was allowed in for two weeks, then they gave the all clear and they could move back in.

Creepy eh?

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