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Gas leak - will this harm my tarantulas?

Gizalba

Well-Known Member
Hi,

Yesterday someone in the house behind me set a car on fire - massive bang, lots of smoke, then the police evacuated the whole two streets due to a gas leak. Omg. Anyway when the police knocked on my door and explained I asked do I need to evacuate pets too and she said 'what are they?'. I said tarantulas and she said 'Ew, leave them.' :'( I can understand some people are scared of spiders and have no empathy for them, but her not having any empathy for my concern over them was rather horrible. I figured now wasn't the time for me to argue tarantula rights though so I said I'd be out in a minute then tried to decide what to do about the Ts.

I was hoping that the evacuation was just a precaution, but didn't know for sure, or know exactly where the gas was coming from. I still don't know if it came from just the car or whether somehow the fire caused a leak in gas elsewhere. However if the gas was dangerous for me, I was guessing it was dangerous for the Ts too. I have 48 and a few other spiders, so there was no way I could take them all anyway and I didn't know how quick I needed to get out of the house. I did seriously consider taking my biggest enclosure with Nymphadora in, but it was hard trying to balance the risk of death from gas I didn't have enough info on, against the risk of taking the tarantulas to the park with me, the more I took the more likely it is I'd fall/have an accident/ scare people if they realised what I had, then the tarantulas getting harmed that way; even trying to move them without too much jiggle in an emergency was hard. So I packed 5 tarantula slings and my jumping spider into an IKEA cardboard cup carry case I luckily happened to have, to keep them upright and secure inside a bag. I couldn't bear the thought of coming back to find all of my Ts dead, so if that happened at least this way the few slings I took with me would hopefully survive. I also tried not to do any favouritism :( argh, in an emergency my head was still analysing all of this. So I chose who would come with me based on which enclosures would most easily fit into the case with the maximum amount of enclosures, roughly, at a glance. My jumping spider was a priority though as he is so small I worried the gas would be most likely to affect him.

Sorry this is turning into an epic story! It has also made me start thinking about other potential emergencies, like a fire in my house, and how I would get the Ts out then. Yes the police would think I'm mad trying to save them over myself, and maybe I am but they mean the world to me.

So I took the slings to the park, went to pick up my medication I'd been meaning to go out for anyway, went to the shop, then was worried it was starting to get a bit cold for the slings and I had nowhere inside to go. Obviously with the covid closures I couldn't hang out in a cafe or library. Luckily it was a sunny day and so much warmer than last week, but I still needed layers on myself. Eventually I found the community centre was open and asked to sit in there, again not wanting to alarm people and put the Ts in danger that way, I didn't want to explain what the real issue was unless absolutely necessary, so said that I was cold.

In the end it was only 2 1/2 hours we were not allowed in the houses, but when I didn't know how long it would be and even the community centre felt too cold for slings, I was getting very worried :/ So I think I am going to invest in some emergency heat packs for if something wild like this happens again!

The rest of the tarantulas currently seem fine. The sling enclosures I took with me had steamed up with condensation from the moisture in there getting cold, but after a while in my heated room that disappeared and I have seen them all move. However I am still worried about whether the Ts who stayed where exposed to the gas and whether it could have caused damage to them that will only become apparent long-term? :( I guess noone can answer this, not knowing the details of the gas, but I wondered if anyone has any similar experiences and if their Ts were okay?
 

Oursapoil

Well-Known Member
Tarantula Club Member
Good morning,
Glad everything went well.
I trust the evacuation was as a precaution rather than anything else. It would take a tremendous amount of natural gas to kill all your Ts if they are in an open room in the house. As you probably already done, open a few windows to get some fresh air and it'll be fine.
Just consider this was a lucky chance to take your slings for a walk in the park ;)
Cheers my friend.
P.S: my whole garage blew up with me inside, 40% of my body was 3rd degree burnt and I was able to pull a T out of there and she survived it (I could only grabbed one as I was trying to get rid of the burning clothes I was wearing).
 

timc

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
First of all, glad everyone is ok after a scare like that. So probably like 10 years ago my power was out for 3 days and we had to run a gasoline generator. Well, generator was situated under my bedroom window and the smell of exhaust was not only unbearable but probably downright dangerous. My spiders were in there probably an hour before I brought them down to the basement where we spent the remaining nights the power was out. They both lived years after that incident, thankfully. Hopefully this makes you feel a little better about your situation. It’s very scary when real life intrudes on what’s supposed to be a relaxing hobby.
 

Enn49

Moderator
Staff member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Tarantula Club Member
I would imagine the evacuation would be in case of an explosion caused by the gas leak and not the risk of gas entering other houses so I don't think you have anything to worry about.
To be honest I've often wondered what I'd do in case of an emergency as I have 80 Ts, 5 snakes, a dog and 3 cats.
 

Gizalba

Well-Known Member
Good morning,
Glad everything went well.
I trust the evacuation was as a precaution rather than anything else. It would take a tremendous amount of natural gas to kill all your Ts if they are in an open room in the house. As you probably already done, open a few windows to get some fresh air and it'll be fine.
Just consider this was a lucky chance to take your slings for a walk in the park ;)
Cheers my friend.
P.S: my whole garage blew up with me inside, 40% of my body was 3rd degree burnt and I was able to pull a T out of there and she survived it (I could only grabbed one as I was trying to get rid of the burning clothes I was wearing).

Thanks very much for the reply. Yes I opened the windows once I got back in.

Lol at taking them for a walk.

Oh god that's horrific and rather heroic of you to save that T even though you were on fire :( Can I ask what caused it to blow up?
 

Gizalba

Well-Known Member
First of all, glad everyone is ok after a scare like that. So probably like 10 years ago my power was out for 3 days and we had to run a gasoline generator. Well, generator was situated under my bedroom window and the smell of exhaust was not only unbearable but probably downright dangerous. My spiders were in there probably an hour before I brought them down to the basement where we spent the remaining nights the power was out. They both lived years after that incident, thankfully. Hopefully this makes you feel a little better about your situation. It’s very scary when real life intrudes on what’s supposed to be a relaxing hobby.

Thanks for that reassurance!
 

Gizalba

Well-Known Member
I would imagine the evacuation would be in case of an explosion caused by the gas leak and not the risk of gas entering other houses so I don't think you have anything to worry about.
To be honest I've often wondered what I'd do in case of an emergency as I have 80 Ts, 5 snakes, a dog and 3 cats.

That makes sense, thanks very much for the insight!
 

smallbike

Active Member
3 Year Member
So glad you and the Ts were ok! My building caught on fire a couple years ago and I was able to get my cat and tarantula out, and my tarantula ended up on the news (story is on this forum somewhere, lol). The building was deemed unlivable and if I hadn't gotten the pets out they'd have died of smoke inhalation.

It did make me think about how many Ts I want to keep in the future - they aren't just a hobby to me, they're my pets. I don't want to be faced with a situation where I couldn't save them all, so I've only added one since then, and have decided on a very short list of species I'm willing to keep should the opportunity arise (unless it's a rescue).

I'd be really interested to hear what you come up with for a tarantula bug-out bag! As a Californian, earthquakes are always in the back of my mind. Good luck with all your 8-legged friends and glad you're all ok!
 

WolfSpider

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
I don't know, but I would guess that book lungs, even on a tiny critter like a tarantula are much more resistant to poisons in air than human lungs which must undergo constant exchange and dynamic respiration with significant air consumption. A book lung is passive--i.e. when the T stands still, it doesn't exchange any outside air and it's needs are minimal.
 
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