UK

Grandmother Finds Live Tarantula in Grapes She Was About to Feed to Her Grandchildren

By Victor Westerkamp

A granny from England found a living tarantula in a box of grapes which she was about to feed to her grandchildren.

Gillian Chivers, 63, got the shivers when she was about to feed a bunch of freshly purchased grapes to her grandchildren, 8-year-old Libby and 5-year-old Rowan, and suddenly a living tarantula crawled out of the box, Mirror reported.

Chivers, who is from Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire, said: “I absolutely hate spiders, so I shouted to my husband who was in the other room. We thought about throwing it out in the back garden but thought it might mate with British spiders.”

“I very bravely carried it through to him to keep it away from the children. He said he should kill and he poured boiling water over it,” Chivers continued.

Tony, 69, Chiver’s husband killed the black and orange arachnid measured about 3 inches (8 cm) in length.

“She got the shock of her life that’s for sure. She said it was the stuff of nightmares,” Helen Mathers, Chiver’s daughter, 34, said.

“My mum usually buys the grapes and washes them before giving them to my kids, but as she went to do so it just crawled out towards her from the center of the bunch,” Mathers said.

“These things can shoot spikes and are venomous. It may not be able to kill people, but it could give a nasty bite, so her first concern was for her grandchildren,” she added.

“People have criticized us for killing it—but imagine being faced with a live tarantula in your grapes,” she said. “They say they are only aggressive if threatened, but I think it probably would have felt pretty threatened after being hauled up in a box of grapes for God knows how many days and traveling that far.”

“It was amazing that it survived the journey; it would have been in fridges between 0-5 degrees. Apparently, they don’t hang around fruit either, so it’s pretty unusual.”

Mathers took the grapes with the dead spider back to Morrisons, where her mom bought them.

“I took it back to the store, and at first they didn’t seem that bothered, they just said ‘oh we get spiders in fruit such as bananas all the time.'”

“I said ‘but this is a bloody tarantula.'” They apparently changed their minds and have started an inquiry.

“It’s not something you see every day and certainly gave my mum a shock, to say the least,” she added.

“Morrisons gave us a £10 gift voucher and said they’ll be in contact, but I’m not expecting a big wad of cash.”

“My grandkids love grapes. If I had put them out without the kitchen roll, they might have helped themselves and who knows what could have happened,” Chivers said.

The spider was later identified by Dr. Sara Goodacre, a professor at the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham as a baby mygalomorph tarantula, native to Chile. It had somehow managed to survive the 7,500-mile journey from Chile to Newark.

A spokesperson of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said: “The RSPCA receives a number of calls every year after members of the public return home from holiday or buy fruit from the shops to find a stowaway spider, lizard or scorpion on board.”

“While they are concerned for the welfare of these animals, as they’re not native to this country and may well have faced an extremely long and arduous journey, the RSPCA would always advise people to treat any unidentified animal with caution until identified accurately, and not to handle an animal that has been discovered as accidentally imported.”

A Morrisons spokesman said: “We are in touch with the customer, and they have returned the product to us so that we can investigate further.”