Shop worker traps venomous spider in pincer movement

The spider was discovered in a box of bananas

A BRAVE female supermarket worker came to the rescue of panicked male colleagues who found a poisonous tropical spider in a box of bananas.

Fearless Petra Merriman stepped in to capture the Colombian banana spider, tipping it in to a pot and carrying it away.

Petra said her male colleagues were running around in panic after discovering the fearsome spider at an Asda store in Chesser, Edinburgh.

The bite of the creature is not fatal but does cause pain, swelling and flu-like symptoms.

Petra, 45, said: “All the boys were running round like headless chickens.

“One of the chaps who was putting box of bananas in the display took a lid off a box and saw it was curled around a banana.

“We got a phone call in the back office saying come and deal with this spider.

Quick thinking

“The guys all said ‘I’m not going.’ I said I would.

“I’m not arachnophobic at all.”

She added: “I brought a pot with a secure lid down with me, and I just popped it in.

“I didn’t have to touch it, I just put the pot underneath it.

The Asda worker used a pot to trap the spider

“Nothing like this has ever happened here before.”

The spider was found on Tuesday morning and, despite being rescued by the SSPCA, died shortly afterwards.

SSPCA Animal rescue expert Fiona Thorburn said: “She was quite an impressive looking creature so we can understand why the person who found her let out a loud scream.

“Thankfully in this instance no one was harmed and the quick-thinking staff did the right thing in containing her safely and calling us for help.”

Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World’s Kevin Thom identified the spider as an adult female from the ctenidae or ‘wandering spider’ family, commonly known as banana spiders.

He said: “It isn’t deadly but its venom contains high levels of serotonin.

“If bitten you would experience pain, swelling, muscle spasms and flu-like symptoms which could be very unpleasant, depending on the amount of venom that was injected.

“These spiders can survive transport from abroad by shutting down and becoming very cold. They awaken when they warm up, which is often under bright shop lights.

“This female has possibly suffered shock in transit or it may simply have been her time to die.”