Cleanup in aisle one!
Mark, from Sydenham, south-east London, said : “I went into the store and picked up a few items. Then I went to the fruit and vegetable area and picked up some bananas.
“I started to pick them apart and then I realised there was a tarantula hanging from the side of the bananas.
“It was the size of the palm of my hand. It was hairy. It was scary enough. I shook the banana and the tarantula fell back into the box.
The spider has not actually been identified yet so it may not actually be a tarantula – just big and hairy.
I’ve heard of this stuff before.
But how often do spiders hitch a ride with tropical fruit?
This Scientific American piece notes that some of these toxic spider may actually be a Huntsman spider because of the behavior described. And, it includes a great interview about hitchhiker spiders.
How common is it to find a spider in grocery store fruit—and are spiders more common in grapes and bananas from certain regions?
For the bananas, you have a reasonable chance of getting them in ones imported from anywhere in Central or South America, the main sources of the fruit. I have no idea of the actual risk, but there are different types of wandering and huntsman spiders throughout Latin America. You pretty much have a chance of getting black widows—which are found all over the world—in grapes anywhere they grow.
But the bottom line is, your chances of encountering one are low and getting bitten is even lower. So don’t worry. Keeping eating bananas and grapes. Just keep an eye out.