An Asda customer found himself with an uninvited guest at lunchtime after a deadly spider made its way into his shopping.
Admin assistant Neil Langley found the Brazilian wandering spider as he tucked into his lunch at work.
The 52-year-old thinks he picked up the intruder – thought to be the world’s most venomous spider – in a packet of bananas when he went grocery shopping in Asda the day before.
He took the bananas in a plastic bag to work at the Department of Work and Pensions the next day, when he noticed the spider sitting on one of them.
Anxious colleagues phoned the RSPCA, who identified it as the infamous Brazilian wandering spider, and it has now been taken to a new home in Bristol Zoo.
Neil, from Bilston, Wolverhampton, thinks the arachnid was inadvertently packaged up with the bananas in Costa Rica.
He said: “In all honesty, I didn’t even notice it when I went shopping. I just picked up a bunch of seven or eight bananas, put them in a plastic bag and thought absolutely nothing of it.
“The little fellow must have come with me as I transported the bananas to work the next day, completely oblivious. When it came to lunch time, I opened up the packaging, and noticed it on one of the bananas.
“I was taken aback at first, because it didn’t look like right – it looked like a spider, but it was brown and almost see-through.”
Neil thinks the spider may have been in hibernation when he first picked up the banana, but by the time he spotted it at work, it was awake and moving around in the bag, which he had to tie up.
“I didn’t really think that it was threatening, but some of my colleagues started to get a bit concerned about it.
“We weren’t sure what to do with it. We’re on the sixth floor, so it’s hard to know how to get rid of that sort of thing. At one stage we discussed flushing it down the toilet, but that seemed a bit unfair on the poor thing.”
While Neil was in a meeting, one of his colleagues phoned the RSPCA who said it must have been a Brazilian wandering spider.
An officer came and packaged up the uninvited guests in a cardboard box, taking it to Bristol Zoo.
“The RSPCA officer said that these types can be deadly, depending on your reaction to them, and so I’m incredibly relieved that I noticed it when I did,” Neil added.
“I’m not scared of spiders – I actually quite like them – but the thought of having one of the world’s deadliest creatures so close to you is a bit unnerving.
“I was lucky that it hadn’t crawled out at home or in my work bag, otherwise who knows where it could have got to.”
He said: “I don’t blame Asda in the slightest, because they weren’t to know it was there. They pick up the bananas from wholesalers, so they’d have had no idea.
“I’m going to keep on buying bananas for my lunch but I’ll be a bit more circumspect when I get six or seven together.”
A spokesperson for Asda said: “We sell around one billion bananas every year and each and every one is washed, sprayed and manually checked for quality and stowaways before being transported to the UK.
“We’d like to reassure all our customers that the chance of finding a spider is incredibly low and it’s even less likely that a tropical spider could survive outside of their warm climate.”