Deadly Spider With Venom That Can Also Cause Painful Erection Found in Store's Banana

A U.K. woman says she found a Brazilian wandering spider in her groceries.

ByABC News
March 13, 2015, 1:20 PM
Brazilian Wandering Spider.
Brazilian Wandering Spider.
imagebroker/Guenter Fischer/Newscom

— -- A British woman got a little more than she paid for when she found the world's most venomous spider hitching a ride on bananas that she bought at the grocery store, according to local reports.

After shopping at a Tesco grocery story, Maria Layton said she found a web with eggs from a Brazilian wandering spider hiding out in the bananas, according to The Telegraph.

The critter is listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's most venomous spider, with a neurotoxin so deadly it takes just 0.00000021 ounces to kill a mouse. The spider's venom made headlines in 2007, when scientists started to research if the venom could treat impotence, according to the BBC.

Layton told the Telegraph her daughter had asked for a banana and when she pulled it out, she found the large web.

"I was so scared -- I don't like spiders at the best of times, but have read about the Brazilian wandering spiders and was very frightened about the potential threat," she told The Telegraph.

Layton said she put the arachnid-infested banana in a sealed container in the freezer to kill the eggs.

A spokeswoman for the grocery store, Tesco, where Layton bought the bananas, said they've apologized to the shocked mother of two.

"We’ve apologised to Mrs. Layton and offered a gesture of goodwill. We’ve asked her to return the product to our store so we can conduct a full investigation," the company said in a statement.

Richard Pollack, a former public health entomologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and president of IdentifyUs, a Boston company that helps identifies insects and offers guidance on infestations for customers, said that he has started to see reports of similar instances as the use of pesticides has lessened across the globe and as technologies have allowed produce to go from farm to table faster than ever before.

"Imagine the surprise of the spider of being in the field on Tuesday and being in someone’s kitchen on Friday," Pollack said.

While he said she realized the shock of seeing a venomous spider can be scary for a consumer, he said it's extremely rare for a spider found in the grocery aisle to be a deadly hazard.

"The risk is incredibly tiny," said Pollack. "It’s not likely [you're] going to get bitten. ... The best thing to do is probably dispatch the spider."