Londoner finds tarantula in supermarket bananas



A Lidl shopper from Sydenham, south-east London, said he was shocked after discovering a tarantula in a bunch of bananas he picked up in store. He shook the spider back into the banana box, and after a ten-minute search, staff trapped it in a box.

So what are the risks of being attacked by a spider during your weekly shop?


Mark Drinkwater, 42, told the Daily Telegraph that the spider, which looked like a tarantula, was the size of his hand. A supermarket spokesperson told the newspaper that a spider had been found, but not identified, and that the RSPCA had been informed.

Drinkwater hadn't actually bought the bananas at the time, so he wasn't even entitled to a refund. He told ThisislocalLondon that he hadn't been put off shopping at the store, but that he might steer clear of bananas for a while.

Not alone

However, he's not the first to have had a spider encounter when buying bananas. In 2006 a pensioner in Newport saw a spider running out of a box of bananas in his house. He didn't think anything of it until he was bitten in his sleep.

In 2000, supermarket workers in Clitheroe found a three-inch Central American striped-knee spider in a delivery of bananas, and in 2012 a banana spider (which is venomous and looks like a tarantula) was found crawling out of a banana display in a shop in Edinburgh.

Perhaps the nastiest experience of all was the Brazilian Wandering Spider found in bananas in a supermarket in Chatham in 2008. The species is known for killing more people than any other spider - and its victims die within an hour. The supermarket was closed while the RSCPA checked it was travelling alone.

The risks

The experts highlight that this sort of find is unusual. There are plenty of venomous spiders which hide in banana leaves feasting on insects, but the bananas are washed, and the boxes are treated with pesticides before being shipped, so any wildlife found in boxes is usually dead by the time it reaches the supermarket.

In most cases, if something slips through the net, the bananas will be taken out of the boxes in order to be put on the shelves, so any spiders which are found will tend to be discovered by employees rather than shoppers.

However, given the nature of the spiders involved, it may encourage you to look carefully when buying your bananas in future.

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