SOUTH SLOPE — Fliers claiming to look for a giant pregnant spider roaming South Slope turned out to be a hoax, the New York Times reported.
Penelope, a Mexican Red Rump tarantula, was reported as being lost by an unidentified owner who taped a missing pet poster to a utility pole at the corner of Fourth Avenue and 19th Street.
"She's pregnant, so I'm hoping to find her before she has her babies," according to the filer. "She shouldn't bite, but sometimes jumps when frightened."
The owner — who posted a phone number on the flier but did not respond to calls for comment from DNAinfo — asked anyone who finds Penelope to catch her and put her in a Tupperware bowl with airholes cut in it.
"I know she looks crazy scary, but she's mostly harmless," the owner warned on the flier.
But the fliers turned out to be a bad joke by a graphic designer who wanted to poke fun of the host of missing pet fliers he'd seen around the neighborhood, the Times reported.
"“I always see those signs for missing dogs and cats taped up on posts; I thought, ‘What’s the most absurd poster I could come up with?’ ” the man, whos declined to give his name, told the Times. “I thought it was so beyond ridiculous that no one would take it seriously. I was wrong.”
“I never expected it to blow up,” he added, saying he has never owned a pet spider.
The oversized female spiders' bodies can grow to about 3 inches in length, with a leg span of 5 inches, according to the University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Department. The tarantula's name comes from the red on its abdomen. They hunt at night and prey on insects and small mammals.
Having a tarantula in the city is illegal, according to city health code.
Under Article 161, "All venomous spiders, including but not limited to, tarantula, black widow and solifugid; scorpion; all venomous arthropods including, but not limited to, centipede."