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World's Deadliest Spider Found In UK - Everything You Need To Know

World's Deadliest Spider Found In UK - Everything You Need To Know

World's Deadliest Spider Found In UK - Everything You Need To Know
01 June 2015

We don't want to make your Monday any worse, but the world's most venomous spider has been found scuttling about a warehouse in the Midlands. 

One of the largest Brazilian wandering spiders ever seen in the UK was discovered by a factory worker at the Tamworth-based factory of Bristan, a shower and tap manufacturer.

Mercifully, the arachnid hadn't taken up permanent residence having been thought to have hitched a ride on a delivery from South America, but that doesn't make the things any less deadly are terrifying. 

Here's everything you need to know about the nightmarish critter:

It holds a deadly Guinness World Record

Part of the Phoneutria genus (you know the one), the Brazilian wandering spider holds the record for owning the most active neurotoxic venom of any living spider

When delivered through its twin fangs it can kill a mouse with just 0.006 mg of the venom. Ordinarily a fairly placid creature it can have spates of "high aggression" when bothered - biting "furiously several times" if they're disturbed by unwitting humans. They won't always deliver their venom in a bite but when they do you can expect up to six hours of pain, followed by paralysis and eventual asphyxiation.

Thankfully there is an antivenom available that has culled the amount of deaths resulting from their bites. Since 1926 there have only been 14 reported deaths from Wandering Spiders that we're aware of. Still, you wouldn't want to test it.

It could improve your sex life

One side effect of the wandering spider's bite in male humans is priapism - the bizarre condition in which an erect penis doesn't return to its flaccid state.

Rather than offering up bites from the deadly spider to help fuel a night in the sheets, researchers are tinkering about with the venom in the hope of finding a medical application for its effects, helping men for whom current erectile dysfunction treatments such as Viagra aren't effective. 

It wanders all over the place

Commonly found in tropical forests of South America, the 'wandering' aspect of the spider's name comes from its habit of seeking out the darkest hiding spots in which to lurk and be all spidery. As well as popping up in cupboards, clothing and sheds of Brazilian homes around São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo, the spider's common habit of seeking shelter in banana plants has seen it get the nickname "banana spider".

There have also been numerous cases of the spider "wandering" around the globe in batches of Brazilian bananas, arriving in the homes of unwitting British shoppers, although many are more cases of mistaken identity than genuine 8-legged terrors.

They're big

With a leg span of 13 to 15 cm and a body of 1.7 to 4.8 cm, the wandering spider is a sizeable beast to stumble across. This does, however, make it easier to avoid - unlike the similarly deadly yet tiny Black Widow. 

They're great dancers

When disturbed, Brazilian wandering spiders often give an impressive-yet-terrifying warning "dance", showing off their colourful underbelly and fangs. 

Great moves.