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Tuesday, 8 October, 2002, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Deadly spider found in fridge
Black widow spider
The black widow spider got through safety checks
A lethal black widow spider, which was hiding in bunch of grapes bought at Tesco, has been found in a woman's fridge.

Linda Cooper, 39, from Wimborne in Dorset was reaching for the fruit she had bought three days earlier, when she noticed the creature.

The mother-of-two described it as "pretty" but said she was also shocked and scared.

So she tied up the bag of grapes and threw it back in the refrigerator.

Move home

She then used a book belonging to her 10-year-old son Edward to identify it. She also has a five-year-old daughter called Sophie.

Mrs Cooper, who lives with her husband David, 44, said: "We found that it was a black widow and that they can be lethal, although they are tiny they can kill with one bite - especially children.

"That made it a bit scary and we didn't know what to do with it, we didn't want to kill it because it was so pretty and rare and if it escaped we would have to move house."

They decided to name it Madame Octa after an evil spider in the children's book Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan.

A black widow spider
A bite from a black widow can be fatal

Mrs Cooper contacted police and the poisonous arachnid was taken to a new home at London Zoo.

She added: "The children were thrilled to find it, it was more exciting than scary.

" But I am not cross with anyone about this, it's just one of those things."

A spokesman for Tesco, where the grapes were bought, said it was concerned the spider had got through safety checks and Mrs Cooper would be contacted about the discovery.


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See also:

21 Sep 01 | UK
03 Jan 01 | Science/Nature
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