It’s the last thing you expect to find when tucking into a piece of fruit bought from a supermarket in the UK – a country with creepy crawlies so tame that a humble wasp can send crowds of adults scattering in summertime.
But for one woman, the sight of dozens of the world’s most venomous spiders emerging from the banana she was eating and scuttling all over her kitchen floor is an experience she’s unlikely ever to forget.
Consi Taylor says the sickening incident began when she noticed a small white patch on the skin of the banana. Assuming the fuzzy blotch was simply a small piece of mould, Ms Taylor continued eating – only to later notice that dozens of tiny baby spiders were emerging from within the fur and crawling all over her banana.
Speaking to the Sun newspaper the 29-year-old said: “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.”
Despite her understandable fright, Ms Taylor was able to take a photograph of the creepy-crawly covered banana and send it to her local pest control company.
The experts responded immediately, telling Ms Taylor and her family to evacuate their home as quickly as possible as there was a good chance the beasties were Brazilian wandering spiders – an arachnid commonly known the “banana spider” and listed as the world’s most venomous by Guinness World Records in 2010.
Known for hiding among the leaves of banana plants across South and Central America, the extremely aggressive Brazilian wandering spider harbours a venom containing neurotoxin – a deadly poison that induces total loss of muscle control, severe breathing problems, partial paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.
Although Sainsbury’s initially offered only a £10 compensation voucher, the supermarket eventually paid for Ms Taylor's house to be fully fumigated - also shelling out for the family to stay in a hotel while the work took place.
A spokesperson for the supermarket said: “We're very sorry and have apologised to Mr and Mrs Taylor… We do have rigorous controls on imported products at all stages - from harvesting to transportation - which is why this is so rare."