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This  little  missive was doing the rounds at work,  through the  email 
system.  I  thought it was too good not to share with the rest of  you. 
CiH - Jan '01

This is why there's a AQIS (Australian Quarantine Inspection Service)

Apparently it's completely true. The source is AQIS in Adelaide.

A bloke and his family were on holiday in the States and went to Mexico
for a week.  As he is an avid cactus fan he bought a rare and expensive
cactus there, it was about a metre high and cost about $500 Aus.

He  got it home and the customs people were none too impressed so  they
said  it must stay in quarantine for 3 months,  costing $800 or so.  He
finally  got his cactus home and planted it in his backyard where  over
time it grew to about 2 metres or so in height.

One evening after a beautiful warm spring day,  he was out watering his
garden and thought he might give the cactus a light spray.  This he did
and  was  amazed to see the plant shiver all over,  he gave it  another
light spray and it shivered and shook again. All its arms moved.

He  was  puzzled,  so he rang the council who put him on to  the  state

After  a  few transfers he got the state's foremost cactus  expert  who
asked him many pointed questions,  how tall is it, how tall was it when
you  got  it,  has it grown well,  has it flowered, what type of spines
etc, etc.

Finally  he  asked a most disturbing question,  "Is your family in the 

The  guy  answered  yes,  the cactus expert said "Get them out  of  the
house. NOW, get on to the front nature strip and wait for me, I will be
there in 15 minutes."

Ten minutes later,  2 fire trucks, two cop cars, and an ambulance, came
screaming  around the corner at the end of the street and  stopped  out
the front of the house.  A fireman got out and came up to him, "Are you
the guy with the cactus?".

"I  am",  he  said.  The  fireman turns to the truck and says "Come  on

A  guy  jumped out of the fire truck wearing what looks  like  a  space
suit,  a  breathing  cylinder and mask attached and what looked like  a
scuba  backpack  on,  with a large hose attached.  Stay here,  says the
first fireman, and they both headed for the backyard.

This was too much for the bloke, so he ran around after them, and found
the  guy  in  the  space suit was firing at his  prize  cactus  with  a
flamethrower;  he  sprayed  it up and down with this huge flame,  which
fried  everything within a ten metre radius of the cactus,  caught fire
to the back fence and set off the neighbours trees as well.  The guy of
course was having kittens, what the *_%^& is going on etc.

After about ten minutes the flamethrower man stopped;  the cactus stood
smoking  and  spitting,  half  the fence was gone,  and the garden  was
entirely rooted. Just then the cactus expert appears and laid a calming
hand on the guy's shoulder.

"What the hell is going on?" says the bloke, "Let me show you" says the
cactus man.  He went over to the cactus and picked away at a crusty bit
of it, it was almost entirely hollow and filled with tiger striped bird 
eating tarantula spiders, about the size of two hand spans!

The story was that this type of spider lays eggs in this type of cactus
and they hatch and live in it,  as it and they grow to full size.  When
they  are all grown to full size,  they release themselves,  the cactus
just explodes and about 150 plate size tiger striped hairy spiders  are
flung  from  it,  dispersing everywhere of course.  They had been  just
ready to pop, can you imagine??

The aftermath was that his house and the two adjoining houses had to be
vacated  and fumigated and sealed up for two weeks;  yellow police tape
was  put  up outside the whole area and no one was allowed in  for  two
weeks. Then the all clear was given, and they moved back in.

Via Email! - Grabbed by CiH.

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