Hong Kong’s Spider Men and Their Tarantula Club
Most clubs you find in the US tend to be based on either sports, such as soccer or basketball, a hobby, such as painting or scrap-booking, or some other general interest that a group of people share. These clubs usually focus on pretty normal hobbies and interests, but across the sea in Hong Kong, one club of note has come together to study and collect something a little more of the creepy crawly variety. You don’t find too many people here with one pet tarantula let alone hundreds of them, but 3 tarantula enthusiasts in Hong Kong have banded together with a shared love of these furry spiders and created a club you would never seen in this country, the Hong Kong Tarantula Club.
The number eight already has significance in Chinese culture, with it being an important number in Chinese numerology, and is considered lucky. That, however, is not the reason the members of the Hong Kong Tarantula Club are obsessed with these eight-legged creatures. Bunny Poon King-chung started it all when he created the club in 1999. His love for tarantulas began much earlier in his life when he was just a small child. Poon grew up in the country, an area with plenty of spiders to run across if you’re a kid running around outside. He regularly came across them, and grew up without the same fear to handle them that most people have. Poon acquired his first pet tarantula when he was 20 years old, and now has over 500 of them.
Since creating the club’s Facebook page in 2010, they have gotten over 1,500 likes, proving that there are more people out there with a love of these spiders than just the three club members. The members will often meet up to tell stories about their pet tarantulas, exchange tarantulas, and sometimes purchase them. It’s kind of like a tarantula-lover’s support group. The other two members are Bowie Chan and Ricky Chan. Bowie had a massive 700 tarantulas at one point, but has downsized to only having 100 spiders today. Bowie even opened his own pet shop, called Hong Kong Reptile Channel, selling spiders, reptiles, and other exotic pets. Ricky Chan comes in last, having only a dozen tarantulas. However, it is not about quantity but quality for Ricky, and he focuses more on collecting different exotic tarantulas with different colors, with pink tarantula being one of the stars of his collection. The group encourages this love of tarantulas, but caution potential buyers to make sure they have done all of their research before buying one of these critters.