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Last Updated: Friday, 29 April, 2005, 20:39 GMT 21:39 UK
Hospital releases deadly spider
A Brazilian Wandering Spider. Picture courtesy of BBC NHU/Richard Matthews
The Wandering Spider is one of the world's most deadly spiders
A deadly spider that bit a chef has been accidentally released by the Bridgwater hospital treating him.

Taunton and Somerset NHS Trust confirmed a full investigation was taking place into the incident.

The spider is not thought to pose a public health risk as experts say it would have died soon after its release into the hospital grounds.

Matthew Stevens was bitten twice on the hand by the Brazilian Wandering spider, as he cleaned behind a freezer.

Mobile phone

Despite the pain Mr Stevens, 23, took a picture of the creature using his mobile so it could be identified before his hand started to swell and he was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

The spider was captured and taken to the hospital where it was later identified by experts from Bristol Zoo.

In a statement, the trust said: "Staff on duty at the time took advice from both the Cardiff Poisons Unit and the RSPCA.

"The spider was released into the grounds as it was believed to be a domestic species."

Mr Stevens, from Bridgwater, said it took him nearly a week to recover from the bite.

The Wandering Spider, whose venom is more potent than the Black Widow, is usually found in banana plantations in the Tropics.

It is believed the spider, which is known for its speed and aggression, reached Bridgwater by stowing away in a consignment of bananas.

See the photo of the spider taken on a mobile phone

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