Brazilian wandering spider alert shuts down German supermarket | News | DW | 16.03.2017

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Brazilian wandering spider alert shuts down German supermarket

The most venomous spider in the world often catches a ride on shipments of bananas, causing panic when it is found. A German tabloid was once offering a cash reward for anyone who could spot one.

A spider alert shut down a German supermarket on Wednesday night.

Police and firefighters sealed off the building after a customer discovered several spider cocoons on bananas in the fruit department of a Globus supermarket in the town of Simmern.

Authorities were worried the cocoons could be filled with the dangerous Brazilian wandering spider, the police chief of operations said on Thursday.

The aggressive species of spider is widely believed to be the most venomous in the world.

They can grow to 15 centimeters (5.9 inches) and often hide inside banana plants. Their neurotoxic venom can lead to paralysis and asphyxiation.

Their apparent presence in banana shipments, whether actual or suspected, often causes panic in European supermarkets.

Cash reward

In 2016 a supermarket was shut down in the German state of Lower Saxony after a wandering spider was discovered in a shipment of bananas, causing panic. In February supermarket workers in the Bavarian town of Bayreuth found a 10-centimeter wandering spider in a shipment of bananas.

In 2014 German tabloid Bild was offering readers a 250-euro (US$270) reward for capturing a photo of the deadly spider.

In September last year the notorious British tabloid "The Sun" reported dozens of the spiders invaded a family home after hitching a lift on a bunch of bananas from their local supermarket. It claimed the spider's bite could cause an erection lasting four hours.

In 2005 a Brazilian wandering spider hiding in a shipment of bananas bit a man in England, who was treated and survived.

All clear

In this case, an expert from the local zoo looked at the specimen and decided it wasn't a Brazilian wandering spider, just a local variety, and the supermarket was reopened.

Local police thanked the institutions which quickly helped in its identification.

aw/rt (dpa)