An Austrian supermarket has been evacuated following the apparent sighting of a banana-loving spider capable of giving men permanent erections.
The Penny store in Krems an der Donau, a town 45 miles west of Vienna, has been closed since Tuesday after the store manager saw a huge four-inch red and black spider and called the fire brigade.
Emergency services fear that the spider, still at large, may have been a highly venomous Brazilian wandering spider, known to find its way to Europe in bunches of bananas.
The arachnid is one of the most venomous on the planet, capable of killing a person within hours after causing hypothermia, blurred vision, convulsions, and… erections.
An exterminator was called and deputies sealed all the boxes of bananas in the store, but reports say the store will likely remain closed until next week.
Boxes of bananas had to be sealed amid fears a four-inch boner-causing spider was on the loose
The illustrative image shows a Brazilian wandering spider, the most venomous arachnid on the planet.
A spokesperson for the Rewe retail group saying that ‘comprehensive cleaning and disinfection measures’ are already underway to prepare the store for reopening.
But the authorities aggregate that: ‘Despite an exhaustive search, no spiders have been found to date.’
The size and color of the ‘unidentifiable’ spider led authorities to believe it was a Brazilian wandering spider, capable of emitting a deadly neurotoxin.
Some 4,000 people are bitten by the arachnid each year, with 0.5 percent of bites leading to death.
In recent years, much has been done to develop an effective antidote that will reduce the likelihood of death.
Spider venom is even being studied for use in erectile dysfunction treatments after it was discovered that a bite from one of the spiders can give male victims a painful four-hour erection.
But just one bite from the spider can also cause severe cramping and rapid heartbeat, leaving victims stiff with racing hearts.
The Brazilian wandering spider is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most venomous arachnid in the world.
Its scientific name, Phoneutria, is Greek for ‘killer’.
They are known as the wandering spider because they do not build webs, but rather walk the jungle floor at night in search of prey.
In urban areas, they often take refuge in homes and cars, where they are easily disturbed by humans.
In 2021, taxi driver Joe Stein found one of the spiders amongst a bunch of bananas bought from Sainsbury’s in West Wickham, Bromley.
He opened the bag to find a two-inch “dark mass” dangling from the fruit and was terrified to see it shrink.
Joe, from Beckenham, Kent, said: “I had to refocus my eyes to be able to see her big bony hairy legs.” It was a bit of a shock!
“Obviously I was shocked, my girlfriend was a bit shocked to find out that it was a poisonous spider if it was alive.”
Luckily, I think it was dead, but it was enough to make us jump and feel nervous.
Penny’s supermarket in Krems, 45 miles west of Wiener, was closed Tuesday over the scare.
A Brazilian wandering spider found on a bunch of bananas in Bromley, UK, in 2021
In 2015, a British family was left fearing one of the spiders had gone missing from their home after noticing a suspicious white spider cocoon on a bunch of bananas.
Michaela Egan from Rainham, Essex, posted an image on her Facebook page and friends suggested it could be a Brazilian wandering spider.
The mother-of-two immediately put it in a sealed bag and returned it to Rainham Tesco, where staff offered her a full refund before sending the banana off for testing.
The full-time mom said she could have easily given the banana to her daughter for her packed lunch.