November 10, 2013
World’s Deadliest Spiders Found In Groceries
A friend from the UK was bragging to me the other day about how Britain is incredibly safe compared to most other countries when it comes to natural threats (we won’t go into how dangerous the people might be). No earthquakes, generally calm (if unpredictable) weather, and very few wild animals or creatures that can kill you.
Then I read this story about how an unfortunate and unsuspecting customer of a UK supermarket found dozens of the world’s deadliest spiders crawling over the bananas she had just bought. Sadly, the spiders waited until she had got home before making themselves known.
Consi Taylor from London told The Sun newspaper: “I thought it was mould but when I had a closer look I saw some funny looking spots. I had a closer look and was horrified to see they were spiders. They were hatching out on the table, scurrying around on my carpet.”
She sent a picture of the spiders to a pest control company who told her to evacuate the family home immediately. It was then that she found out the spiders were Brazilian Wandering Spiders (obviously they had wandered a long way in this case). According to the Guinness Book of Records they are the most venomous spiders in the world.
Banana plants are one of their favorite hiding places, and in this case an egg sack had been stowed away there and hatched thousands of miles across the Atlantic. This is not the first such occurrence of the spiders being found in groceries far from Brazil.
The Huffington Post gives some good facts about the spider. It is called ‘wandering’ because it roams the jungle floor at night, its venom is 30 times more deadly than that of a rattlesnake, and before death victims will experience “severe pain, breathing problems and paralysis.” It gets worse, as well. Guinness says that the spiders often hide in shoes, as well as groceries, and are most active at night when we are most vulnerable (and naked).
And still worse. The Huffington Post says that a “toxin from the venom – PnTx2-6 – boosts the availability of nitric oxide, a chemical that dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow. This means bites can lead to priapism – a persistent, usually painful erection.” That’s almost God laughing at us. The plus side, though, is that there is hope that the toxin can be harnessed in order to help treat erectile dysfunction. A further bit of good news is that very few bites actually lead to death. Just a lot of pain. And embarrassment for men.
The supermarket that Consi Taylor (who luckily wasn’t bitten) bought the bananas from initially offered her a voucher worth just $16 by way of compensation. However, when they realized the extent of the spiders’ scariness they paid for the fumigation of the house and for the family to stay in a hotel while the spiders were all executed. Animal rights, anyone? Oh, all right then.
Image Credit: Thinkstock