Catherine Sleep | 25 August 2005
A woman from Cornwall was bitten by a deadly spider that was hidden in a bunch of bananas bought from her local supermarket.
We seem to get a couple of stories like this every year. The supermarkets vary – this time it was the Co-op – but the reaction is always the same: “It’s a very rare occurrence and we don’t know how the spider managed to get past our stringent checks.”
Somehow I don’t find this very reassuring. I’m not scared of spiders myself, but that’s mainly because spiders in the UK aren’t poisonous. I’m not too happy, however, at the thought that the bananas I bring back from the supermarket might be harbouring a stowaway spider waiting to jump out and inject me with poisonous venom.
In this case, the spider in question was believed to be the venomous Brazilian Wandering Spider, apparently known for its speed and aggression. However, it couldn’t be formally identified because it wasn’t captured.
Now, while I’m sure spiders from the tropics probably don’t adjust well to our miserable climate, I can’t help but remember the storyline of the film Arachnophobia: killer South American spider hitches lift to the US, mates with local spider and creates hundreds of deadly offspring that terrorise a small town. Oh well, I’m sure that kind of thing only happens in America…
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