Supermarket evacuated after spider whose bite can cause painful erections or death spotted

Store is expected to reopen next week

Maanya Sachdeva
Friday 11 August 2023 15:52 BST
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<p>The banana spider’s venom has some nasty side effects </p>

The banana spider’s venom has some nasty side effects

A supermarket in Austria was evacuated after a spider, whose bite is capable of causing painful erections and even death, was spotted.

A PENNY shop in Krems an der Donau, a town located around 45 miles from Vienna, has remained closed since Tuesday, after the four-inch spider was said to have been seen when staffed opened a box of bananas.

Descriptions of the spider’s colouring and size led people to believe they were dealing with a Brazilian wandering spider, also known as a “banana spider”.

These highly venomous arachnids tend to hide in banana plants, and are sometimes found in shipments of the fruit, earning them the nickname.

Their bites can cause extraordinary pain, hypothermia, increased pulse, penile erection that can last for hours, and death in some cases.

By the time the fire brigade arrived at the store, the spider was nowhere to be seen, local media reported.

In a statement, the Rewe retail group, which operates the PENNY stores, said “comprehensive cleaning and disinfection measures” were underway, before the outlet reopens next week.

“All measures are for safety and are carried out meticulously so that the branch can be reopened,” the retailer added.

In a 2007 interview, a researcher, Romulo Leite told Live Scienc that “the erection is a side effect that everybody who gets stung by this spider will experience along with the pain and discomfort”, adding: “We’re hoping eventually this will end up in the development of real drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.”

In 2019, scientists at the Federal University of Minas Gerais said the chemicals in its bite could lead to a treatment more effective than Viagra, after they included them in a gel which led to prolonged erections in a study of mice and rats.

They found the gel led to a swelling of the penis “lasting about 60 minutes” when applied topically to the genitals.

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