TU Destroys Possibly Deadly Spider

Wednesday, March 18th 2009, 7:10 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A spider thought to be the world's deadliest has been destroyed after being found at a local grocery store.

Terry Childs, director of TU's animal facilities, says one bite from the spider could have killed a person.

"Within minutes you will have breathing problems, you'll start to lose control of your muscles, you'll start to drool and within 20 to 25 minutes you'll probably collapse on the floor and die of asphyxiation," Childs said.

A Brazilian wandering spider from Honduras possibly hitched a ride to Tulsa's Whole Foods Market on a bunch of bananas.

Childs says the employee who found it is lucky to be alive.

"There is an antidote for the bite of this spider," he said. "Unfortunately, I don't think we have any around here."

Stephanie Lorenz, manager of St. John Medical Center's emergency room, says he's right.

There is no anti-venom for the Brazilian wandering spider readily available anywhere near Oklahoma.

"The anti-venom used is polyvalant anti-venom," Lorenz said. "Unfortunately, that anti-venom is not stocked in the United States."

St. John doesn't keep anti-venom on hand for spider bites, Lorenz said.

She says the hospital would treat you for the symptoms you presented, and unless you have a suppressed immune system, it is possible to survive the bite of a Brazilian wandering spider.

Herpetologists at the Tulsa Zoo were not convinced the spider found at Whole Foods was a Brazilian wandering spider.

They never got to see the spider before it was destroyed to confirm their suspicions.

"We take every precaution to inspect all of our produce as it arrives in the store and prior to it being merchandised on the sales floor," Whole Foods said in a statement Wednesday. "This incident is an extremely unusual circumstance, and one that we've never encountered before. We are confident that this will remain an isolated incident as we are very cautious when unpacking produce for our sales floor."

3/17/2009 Related Story: Deadly Spider Found At Tulsa Store

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