Did you spot a picture of a big, hairy spider on our Facebook page recently? It belongs to Val Portus, and is the unconventional product of her tombola winnings!
We spoke to Val about her win and her love of all things eight-legged. Here’s what she had to say…
tombola: Hi Val. First of all – why a tarantula?
Val Portus: I keep them as pets. I actually decided to start keeping them about five years ago… I have 46 tarantulas now; all different breeds.
I’d recently lost my big Mexican red knee tarantula and I thought, “Ah! I’ll buy another one and call it Rollers” (inspired by ‘Rollercoaster’, the tombola game Val won the jackpot on).
tombola: A lot of people consider exotic pets like tarantulas and snakes to be quite boring. Why do you find yourself coming back to tarantulas rather than a fluffy cat or cuddly dog?
Val Portus: Believe it or not they are amazing creatures to watch, especially when they’re spinning their web or shedding their skin. It’s amazing to see, and people don’t understand that. They don’t understand that we need these little creatures, even house spiders!
tombola: You’re the perfect person to answer our next question then! The press is going wild with stories about mega spiders coming into our homes. What are your thoughts on this so-called invasion?
Val Portus: I’d advise just trying to leave them alone really. They’re not going to hurt you or eat you up in the middle of the night! One of the tombola chat moderators was petrified of spiders, but from her seeing my pictures over the past couple of years, the transformation has been amazing. She actually put a spider in a glass the other week, when before she would just run out of the room!
tombola: As well as showing off your handsome new tarantula, you mentioned that you always urge jackpot winners to treat themselves. Do you think that’s important?
Val Portus: Yes, because it’s money that members don’t normally have. I always say, “Make sure you get something for yourself”, because they usually all spend it on their family or their kids, or going on holiday. I think people are quite reluctant to treat themselves nowadays when they have so many other priorities. Just enjoy it!
What would you treat yourself to if you won a tombola jackpot?