Brazilian Wandering spider found under a bunch of bananas in Waitrose home delivery

The Brazilian Wandering spider ripped off its own leg to escape and had a sac containing thousands of baby spiders

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The Independent Online

A family has spoken of the “traumatising” experience of finding the world’s most lethal spider in their south London home, which was delivered straight to their kitchen in a Waitrose home delivery.

Tim, a father-of-two who chose not to give his surname, told the Mail on Sunday that he discovered the deadly arachnid while unpacking the bananas from the delivery. Shocked, he dropped the fruit suddenly into a fruit bowl, managing to trap the spider by the leg in the process.

After identifying the Brazilian Wandering spider, whose venom is toxic to a person’s nervous system and can kill if an anti-venom is not administered in time, Tim and his wife called Waitrose for help.

Waitrose sent one of its staff members to the house, whereupon the family discovered the spider had torn off its own leg to escape and had disappeared, leaving behind a sac full of thousands of baby spiders. Tim, his wife, and his two sons aged seven and eight, fled the house while the supermarket called a pest expert to find and trap the spider.

The expert killed the spider’s eggs by putting them in a freezer, and eventually found and trapped the spider in a plastic box, after a standoff in which the arachnid stood on its back legs and held its front legs straight in the air, exposing its fangs in an aggressive attack stance.

The spider was then put inside two more plastic boxes. Tim and his family told the paper they were “too traumatised to remain in the house” and spent the night with friends last week.

A Waitrose spokesman said: "The safety of our customers is our absolute priority.

"We did everything we could to look after our customer during what was a distressing incident and we've apologised to her personally.

"Although this is highly unusual, we're taking it very seriously and will be working with our supplier to minimise the risk of this happening in the future."

The Brazilian Wanderer is also known as a banana spider as it tends to hide in bunches of the fruit.

The Guinness Book of World Records has named it the most venomous spider in the world for possessing the most active neurotoxic venom of any living spider. An effective anti-venom is available in Brazil where the spider is found, and the record keeper claims that when deaths do occur, it is usually in children under the age of seven.  

A bite from the spider results in hours of pain, swelling, an increased heartbeat, increased salivation, paralysis and causes painful erections in men reportedly of up to four hours. Scientists have reportedly considered investigating the use of the deadly venom as a possible ingredient for drugs treating erectile dysfunction.