Meet Pandora, the furry tarantula taking social media by storm!
Cassandra Tainsh poses her Chilean Rose tarantula in an array of hats and scenes and her eight-legged pet is simultaneously delighting and frightening followers.
The 23-year-old personal assistant from Leeds then posts pictures of the spider shopping at a supermarket, trying on hats and skateboarding to social media.
Unbelievably, just a few years ago Cassie was terrified of spiders and shivered at the sight of the hairy creatures.
But now she has 19 tarantulas that live in tanks around her room – side by side with 23 snakes.
Together with one scorpion, five giant African land snails and seven lizards, Cassie has 55 exotic animals living just inches from her bed.
‘I started collecting my animals when I was 16,’ says Cassie. ‘I got my first snake at that age and I went onto tarantulas about four years ago just to get over my phobia of spiders.
‘We went to a rescue centre and they had a few tarantulas and I held one. It was so cute and fluffy, I thought if I can hold one I can definitely own one.
‘Ever since I got my first tarantula, Pandora, I’ve branched out and got 19 spiders, all different shapes and colours.
‘I’ve gone from having arachnophobia to having an arachnid obsession.’
While Cassie loves all of the inhabitants of her house of horror – including a boa constrictor and Burmese python – Pandora has a special place in her heart.
‘I first posed her wearing little dolls’ hats and put them on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr where I have 2,600 followers.
‘Now I get her in dolls’ houses pretending to go to the supermarket or playing a guitar,’ says Cassie.
‘When I put the pictures on Facebook, people who were afraid of spiders before realise there’s nothing to be scared of because she’s so cute.
‘She’s a very chilled out tarantula, I hold her as much as a kid would get a hamster out and hold and play with it.’
Cassie’s love of animals started at a young age with cats and dogs.
At 16 her parents gave her permission to buy a snake and now her bedroom walls are stacked to the ceiling with tanks and cages.
She feeds her snakes dead mice, rabbits and chicks, whilst her spiders feast on crickets, mealworms and locusts – all for £26 a month.
But Cassie hasn’t managed to convince everyone to appreciate her bedroom menagerie, and a number of her friends keep a wide berth from her home.
Cassie’s grandmother has visited the family home just once in seven years because of her fear of snakes.
And Cassie’s mum, Penelope, got a fright when a Burmese python – known for growing up to 20ft – slithered into her bed in the dead of night.
Cassie recalls: ‘It got out of my room and into my mum’s bed. I got an incredible telling off and I’m never going to live it down.’
Cassie is fast running out of space in her childhood bedroom but cannot wait to move to a home of her own where she can dedicate a room to her animals.
And Pandora and her other pets have pride of place in her heart.
‘I love my exotic animals, it’s time consuming and can be quite expensive,’ she says. ‘But I love them more than I love my boyfriend – they came first.’