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The Exploding Cactus

Updated on September 1, 2012

You Don't Want A Cactus THIS BIG To Explode At Any Time.

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Beware of Cactus, Says Man From Tucson Arizona

Brought Back From A Family Vacation

A family went on vacation and visited Mexico for a week. While there, the mother spotted a rare and expensive cactus that was ever-so-difficult to find at home. She made a point to purchase the large healthy-looking plant on the last day of vacation.

When the family got home, the mother was greatly pleased with her find and put the impressive 1-metre high cactus on display right in the living room, for all to see.

One day when she was watering the rest of her plants, the lady thought she'd just give the cactus a gentle spritz from her spray bottle - just a light dose of moisture, and when she did, she noticed that the cactus vibrated, or appeared to shiver for a few seconds.

The lady thought this strange, so she lightly sprayed the plant again. The plant shivered again, so the woman decided to make a phone call to an exotic plant shop and find out why her cactus might be shivering so.

After being placed on hold for a minute, the lady reached a store employee who asked about how the plant was acquired, when it was purchased, where it was purchased, and a number of other details. The last question asked seemed very strange to the lady with the cactus and at first she didn't respond right away. Prompted a second time by the question, "Ma'am, is your family in the house?" she finally answered, "No, my husband is at work and my children are at school."

The store employee said, "Good! What's your address?" The lady gave her address, to which the store employee replied, "Now...listen very carefully, Ma'am...after you hang up the phone with me, I want you to go directly out your front door - close the door securely - and wait outside on the sidewalk. I will meet you outside in no more than 15 minutes."

Although the directions from the store employee were very odd, the urgency in his voice got the lady's attention and she obediently followed instructions...

Video Version and Comments on "The Exploding Cactus" Urban Legend

15 Minutes Later


After 15 minutes, a van with advertising slogans on the side for the exotic plant shop the lady had called pulled up at her house. A young man hopped out of the van as soon as it was parked and he began to speak, "Ma'am, which room of the house is the cactus in?" She recognized his voice as that of the person she spoke with on the phone 15 minutes earlier, so she told the man the cactus was in the main area of the house - in the living room.

The man walked toward the house, gesturing with a hand behind him for the lady to stay put - and he peered into a window...his eyes went wide and he backed away from the house quickly, pulling a cell phone from his pocket, dialing, then speaking rapidly...he gave out the lady's address and added, "get here quick, okay?"

He hung up and joined the lady who was standing far away from the house, on the sidewalk by the road. He explained that he had called for help and the lady must wait outside with him until that help arrived.

Help was not long in coming:

a Firetruck with Firemen in full gear and extermination team, all wearing funny-looking space-suits showed up within 10 minutes and entered the lady's home.

The cactus the lady had bought in Mexico contained other live organisms, undetectable at the time of purchase, but housed inside the plant nonetheless. The 'shivering' motion the lady had noticed was from thousands of eggs hatching...

The lady's cactus exploded as thousands of baby tarantulas came forth into the world...

Unfortunately, the exterminators, along with the support of firefighters, had to douse the lady's living room all over with serious and toxic chemicals to mass-kill the thousands of tarantulas. An entire floor of the home had to be gutted and re-worked - and the family wasn't allowed back into their home for weeks.

Jumping Cactus Pets

Other Versions on Snopes .com

Snopes .com has a great bunch of versions and additional information on this exploding succulent or, Exploding Cactus urban myth.

The Snopes website calls the main version featured on-site, "Spiders in Cactus" or, on the cactus story page, "Cactus Attacked Us!"

If you'd like to view the Snopes versions, the link is below:

Cactus Attacked Us version of Exploding Cactus on Snopes .com 

The Snopes articles are interesting because they (at the site) show a 1998 "internet version" that was going around in emails several years ago - along with commentary, of course. The 98 net version details that the cactus was actually planted outside in a person's yard...with the same creepy sort of results - a dangerous explosion of spiders coming out of the succulent-species plant. Actually, I should say the person in the story attempts a much more severe solution than in the versions I've used on the hub. Before help arrives, in the 98net version, the owner of the plant has a flamethrower out and everything...crazy, crazy version - but enjoyable nonetheless if you're into urban myths or legends!



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    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hi PaperNotes. I'm glad you were able to use your imagination while reading this hub. When I get a really graphic image in my mind of the exploding cactus, I also think, "OMG!" and I'm glad this is just a story! Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • PaperNotes profile image


      8 years ago

      I suppose this is really just a legend or a tale. I mean, the cactus itself exploding is already frightening. I could just imagine those thorns flying all over but with the tarantulas, OMG!

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Thanks, shyamchat! Glad you liked the cactus tales.

    • shyamchat profile image


      9 years ago from Calcutta

      Good reading !

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Hi James/Twenty One Days - a lot of people have believed these stories. They've been reported a time or two in newspapers!

      Shadesbreath - thanks for your 'womb of the spider' addition. I'll keep checking into the possibility that spiders really can explode out of these plants, but so far I'm thinking these stories are urban myth and little else. I'll check around with some of the terms you've posted in your comment and maybe something will turn up. Thx again.

    • profile image

      Twenty One Days 

      9 years ago

      Wow, Myth, this could be both truly unreal!

      Good reading.


    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      So rather than "Hair of the Dog" you have "Hair of the Spider"!! Yuk, but great information Shades (as always.)

    • Shadesbreath profile image


      10 years ago from California

      It's not a joke.  The latin name is Aracharagama, you can look it up, and the natives call it La Matriz de L'Araña (womb of the spider).   When we were in Halisco, I got to drink a rare tequila made from that type of cactus. We got so freaking hammered it was awesome, I can't describe how amazing the buzz was... until the next day.  That is the worst hangover of all time.  Whatever the chemical in it is that lures the female tarantula to it to "roost" is also behind an amazing headache.  I thought I was going to die.  We asked the Mexican fellow who'd been sort of our "guide" WTF we were supposed to do (we damn sure weren't going to a Mexican doctor, thank you very much), and he sort of shrugged and told us to, "darse a la bebida del pelo a la araña esa pedacita tu." 


    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, I wait with baited breath :)

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Heck - slow down, mistyhorizon2003...I'm trying to wait it out a bit to receive some more versions of this Urban Legend before I disclose how BUSTED it is...

      according to what a tarantula's breeding habits are


    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      LOL, I have doubts about this being part of Tarantula's breeding habits, but can't be sure :)

    • mythbuster profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide


      Of course it is true *tongue in cheek* *wink-wink*

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      10 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Wow, is this true????


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