A missing sign in South Slope, Brooklyn, sought the return of a tarantula named Penelope.
A missing sign in South Slope, Brooklyn, sought the return of a tarantula named Penelope.Twitter/Penelope

A 'missing' poster of a tarantula sparked quite a scare in a Brooklyn neighborhood, after many claimed the giant pregnant spider could infest the whole area.

The missing flier, which went viral, claimed that a pet Mexican red rump tarantula is on the loose in South Slope and the owner would like to get hold of the pet before it delivers babies.

"Missing" the poster read. "Have you seen Penelope? She's a Mexican Red Rump Tarantula," showing the photo of a large, hairy spider. "She shouldn't bite, but sometimes jumps when frightened. She's pregnant, so I'm hoping to find her before she has her babies."

The missing poster has now been identified as a hoax as the picture of the Mexican red rump tarantula has been taken from Google images. In fact, it's the first of the images which pop up under the keywords 'Mexican red rump tarantula'.

According to New York Times, which carried out an investigation into the matter, the report gained popularity after Reddit user Laserpoint posted it online on Thursday night.

The report gained so much popularity that many locals in the area even wanted to bring in experts to handle the situation.

"The odds of finding it are small at this point - very, very small. And the only time that anyone would be in danger is if they actually tried to catch it," Tim Wong, the technical director of M&M Pest Control, a Manhattan company told the daily.

The truth, however, came out when NYT called up the number in the poster. It was found that a local in the area put it up as a prank to counter the 'missing' cat and dog posters. The prankster, however, claimed he did not expect that it would gain so much popularity.

Mexican red rump belongs to the Brachypelma vagans species of spider. It's called a red rump because of the distinctive red hairs on its abdomen. They can grow to a 5-inch leg span, with males typically smaller and thinner than the females.