Wednesday, September 10, 2008

World's deadliest spider discovered in Britain inside a box of bananas

The world's deadliest spider forced a supermarket to close after a terrified worker spotted it under a box of bananas.

The highly-venomous Brazilian Wandering Spider - a species responsible for killing more people than any other arachnid - was eventually captured by RSPCA officers.

Victims usually die within an hour of being bitten by the spider, which has a 4in leg-span and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the planet's most venomous animal.

It's scientific name is Phoneutria nigriventer - the first element is Greek for 'murderess' - but it is also known as the banana spider because of its habit of stowing away in shipments of the fruit.

Co-op worker Kate Whitmore today told how she spotted 'black, hairy legs' protruding from under a box of bananas as she stacked them.

When she realised it was a giant spider she shrieked and told her bosses at the store in Chatham, Kent.

The 25-year-old mother-of-two said: 'I looked down and noticed this thing. I screamed for my supervisor.

'I'm not usually scared of spiders, but it was huge and creepy and had long hairy legs.'

Miss Whitmore added: 'I felt terrible when I was told how dangerous it was. I just thought of my kids and how a spider bite could have changed things completely. I'm just so relieved it didn't bite me.'

Supervisor Dawn Robinson, 43, said: 'I called the police and they told me to call the RSPCA. They were here in 15 minutes.'

Animal collection officer Anthony Pulfer donned leather gloves and used a pencil to flick the creature into a box.

He said: 'It was very aggressive and trying to go for me when I was putting it in the box. It was really jumping around and trying to attack me.'

Ms Robinson said: 'He was a bit scared of it because he's never seen one that size before. He got it in a box and took it to a vet.

'He called us later and told us it was a Brazilian Wandering Spider, the most deadly in the world.'

The store was closed for several hours as the team checked the spider had no companions.

The spider was humanely put down by the RSPCA after being deemed 'too dangerous' for photographers to go near.

Michelle Carr, manager of the Medway RSPCA, said: 'It is highly toxic. The main body is more than an inch long and with its legs it is three to four inches long.

'It's very aggressive and is not scared to bite if cornered. It's just lucky nobody was bitten, or this could have been such a different story.'


Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home