Sunday 18 March 2018

Workers' terror after massive venomous tropical spider emerges from shipping container in Scotland

Huntsman spider
Huntsman spider

Laura Paterson

Workers at a UK manufacturing firm have found a venomous tropical spider stowed inside a shipping container.

The huge arachnid was found at the company in Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, and concerned staff called animal welfare officers, fearing it could be poisonous.

Scottish SPCA officers removed the interloper, identified as a huntsman spider, which is common in most warm-to-tropical areas and can give a painful venomous bite.

Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue Officer Emma Bonner was called to the scene on Friday.

She said: "When I arrived one of the employees had managed to get the spider inside a clear bag within a container. We didn't know if it was venomous."

Scottish SPCA Chief Inspector Fiona Henderson said: "An arachnid expert identified it as a huntsman spider. We believe that due to a yellow stripe on its abdomen that the spider is female.

"It would be hard to say where it is from exactly due to the fact it arrived here in a shipping container.

"It must be a tough little spider as it has done well to survive living in a cold container for so long before arriving in Scotland.

"If a huntsman spider bites you it will not kill you, but it does contain venom. If you do get bitten by one it can be extremely painful.

"Because it's a huntsman it's not native to this country, so we can't release the spider anywhere in Scotland.

"Collectors would also be concerned due to the fact that it's a wild species. If there are any bacteria or bugs that the spider is carrying that we are not aware of then it could introduce those to other species.

"The spider appears in good condition and is already an adult so we are going to try to find a specialist home for it."

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