Dutch customs confiscated hundreds of poisonous tarantulas on a flight from Peru after discovering them hidden in a suitcase, officials said Wednesday.
"Customs at Schiphol airport found 200 live tarantulas and an assortment of other insects including bugs, crickets, grasshoppers and millipedes," customs officials said in a statement, issued by their umbrella Finance Ministry.
"The animals were collected by a German couple on a recent trip to Peru and were put in plastic containers and tubes hidden in their clothing and shoes," the statement said, adding that some of the tarantulas were of a type little known to science.
The creepy crawlies have been handed over to Dutch animal welfare authorities for further investigation, finance ministry spokeswoman Lindy van Galen told AFP, saying a criminal case had been opened against the German couple.
"Animals are regularly smuggled from other countries to the Netherlands, but never in this quantity," she said.
Animals most popular among smugglers were seahorses, Van Galen added.
Between 120,000 and 140,000 passengers pass daily through Schiphol, Europe's fourth-largest airport.