Supermarket Encounter

Just when you thought it was safe to stroll through the produce aisle:

TULSA, OK -- The world's deadliest spider (was) found in a Tulsa grocery store. An employee at Whole Foods Market at 1401 East 41st Street found a Brazilian Wandering Spider wandering around in their produce section.

The store handed the spider over to biologists at the University of Tulsa who say that employee is lucky to be alive.

Terry Childs is the director of TU's Animal Facilities and a self-proclaimed spider lover…

"The venom starts to break the prey down on the inside and then she slurps it out kind of like a smoothie," said Terry Childs.

Childs' department is now home to a Brazilian Wandering Spider. It's being kept in a terrarium with a do not disturb sign. More people die from the spider's bite than any other spider in the world.

"Within minutes you will have breathing problems, you'll start to lose control of your muscles, you'll start to drool and within 20 to 25 minutes you'll probably collapse on the floor and die of asphyxiation," said Terry Childs.

And, that's why he says people at Tulsa's Whole Foods market are lucky to be alive.

On Sunday an employee found the spider wandering across the bananas in the produce section.

"She managed to capture it in one of these containers until I got there," said Terry Childs.

Apparently the spider, also known as a banana spider, hitched a ride on some bunches of bananas all the way from Honduras. It turns out it is the kind of thing that happens all the time, but this particular spider is more threatening than most.

"This particular one happens to be one of the most aggressive ones I've actually come across. This thing will actually jump at you," said Terry Childs...
One bite causes a painful death in 25 minutes? The employee was able to capture the spider alive eh? Ok, that story would have a different ending had it been me discovering the hairy arachnid in the fruit section--something like: “Petrified customer stomps tourist spider into 1,000 tiny unrecognizable pieces.”

When I was little, my brother and I would play baseball in the backyard of our parent’s home in Oklahoma. Since our yard was surrounded by neighbors’ privacy fences on all sides, the object of the game was to hit the ball hard but as a line drive or a grounder; otherwise you would have to make a trip to go search for it in someone else’s yard.

Well sure enough, I smacked one over our neighbor’s fence. Disgusted, I hopped over a tall wooden fence and into their yard--which was covered with plants and brush (I think the guy hated to mow or something). As I reached for my plastic baseball, I saw a hand size dark brown spider crawl into an adjacent plant.

It took me many months and the onset of cold weather before I showed interest in backyard baseball again—-mom could never figure out why.

Below is the type of harmless (I should have kept repeating harmless) tarantula that I believe I saw--yuck...


J. J. in Phila said...

It is not uncommon for tropical spiders to hitch rides with fruit. My father remembered, as a child in the 1930's seeing a tarantula kept on display in a local grocery store, that was found with a fruit shipment. I've even seen wooden "tarantula cages" that were sold during the period.

Within the last five years, a friend from the Latrobe, PA area was bitten by a non native brown recluse spider.

Slamdunk said...

Yikes, brown recluse bites are nasty. At one of my previous employers, they had to temporarily shut down a building after those brown recluse spiders set up residence.

Oz Girl said...

{shudder} I have ALWAYS hated spiders, little or big, it does not matter. One fell from the upper kitchen cabinets into the sink this morning, just inches from my head... I reminded hubby it's time to spray around the house!!! And I've always been afraid of disturbing a brown recluse spider whenever I am doing yard cleanup, esp brush piles!

Re: the Hawaii to Philadelphia move.... EHW!!!!!

mrs. fuzz said...

those pictures gave me the shivers. The big ones are the worst. I was more intrigued as a kid and not scared, but now I will get in the car and drive away if a spider is in my house.

My husband has arachnophobia actually. He can't see a picture of a spider without having a really hard time. I hope he doesn't have to respond to any 911 spider calls. We had a biggish hairy spider crawling around our first apartment and we both were just frozen, unwilling to do anything about it as it made its way slowly to a vent which we didn't want it to go in. My husband had me call people in order on his cell phone until someone was willing to come and get it for us. But he didn't want them to know that he couldn't do it. He had a manly image to upkeep, you know.

When my daughter was in preschool, they had a class pet which was a GIANT black tarantula. His name was Hairy. On weekends kids got to volunteer to take him home and "Babysit" him. We never did it, but my daughter did hold him and pet him. EEEK!

mrs. fuzz said...

Oh, and based on previous spider encounters in my life, I can't put on shoes without shaking them and checking them for spiders and once, I reached into the sink in the laundry room to push in the drainer and I touched something fuzzy!!! It was a hobo spider. I think I frightened it mostly and it ran off, but that gave me the willies and I feel as though I'm always watching out for spiders. . .

I know it's silly, but I would probably not shop at that store any more because of the spider. But that's just me.

Slamdunk said...

Wow, I may need to join a support group after reading JJ, Oz, and the Mrs. posts.

Mrs. F.: I check shoes as well before sticking my feet in them. One time I found a large frog in my shoe--the shoe had been on the garage floor. Not scary, but almost a really gross squish.

mappchik said...

Eeew. I hope no spiders cross my path today. I'm normally a scoop & toss outside person with generic spiders, but I'm likely to be a bit of a hardliner after reading the post & comments.

*tapping my shoes, upside down, just in case*