Wandering spider nest in bunch of bananas forces family to flee home
The world's deadliest spider is feared to be on the loose in Britain after a family spotted a nest in a bunch of bananas.
Keith Hobbs and wife Laura fled with their four children when told that it was probably the Brazilian wandering spider, which can have legs up to 6in (15cm) long and kill with its venomous bite.
They found the cocoon at their home in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, on Thursday.
Deputy head teacher Mr Hobbs, 32, told The Sun newspaper: "As soon as we knew what they were we just grabbed the kids, who were in their pyjamas, and ran out the house.
"We've spent the night in a hotel room. It's terrifying - it's like a bad dream."
The family's nightmare began when Mrs Hobbs' parents bought them the bananas from an Aldi store in Hinckley, Leicestershire.
After she opened the bag and found the nest her husband called police and also contacted wildlife experts.
The Aldi shop was temporarily shut yesterday but reopened in the afternoon after no spiders were found.
Aldi has reportedly agreed to pay for the Hobbs' hotel bill and for a pest control firm to fumigate their home.
A spokesman told the Mail Online: "Recent reports alleging that the eggs of the Brazilian wandering spider have been found in a bunch of bananas at the Aldi store in Hinckley are unsubstantiated.
"The bananas in question have been removed from the store and sent for expert analysis.
"The Hinckley store in question has now been reopened and customers should be reassured their safety remains our number one priority."
Venom from the Brazilian wandering spider can kill a human being in just two hours, with victims suffering nausea, hypothermia and convulsions.
It is fast-moving and aggressive, with a body up to 2in long, six small eyes and two large ones, and large red fangs it displays by raising its front two legs.
Declared the most venomous spider in the world by the Guinness Book of Records, it is f ound in South and Central America and its Greek name, Phoneutria, translates as "murderess".
Rather than building a web to catch its prey, the spider hunts insects, small mammals and reptiles on the jungle floor.
Although an effective anti-venom exists, at least 10 people have been killed by the spider in Brazil and the true total is believed to be higher.
A spokeswoman for Warwickshire Police said: 'We were called at 10.10pm on June 4 to St Nicholas Park Drive in Nuneaton where a family were thought to have found Brazilian wandering spider eggs in a bag of bananas believed to have been bought from the Aldi store in Watling Street, Hinckley.
"As a precaution, the family address is being fumigated. An officer attended the store at 7.15am yesterday and the store was closed at 8.15am in case a spider had got loose. No spiders were found at the store by officers."