Black widow spider bites Swede after Atlantic voyage

TT/The Local
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Black widow spider bites Swede after Atlantic voyage

A man from Upplands Väsby discovered an unexpected stowaway in his car, newly-imported from California, on Saturday morning: a black widow spider - and a hungry one at that.


At 9am police took a call from a man who said that he had been attacked by a poisonous spider and was worried that he had been bitten.

Forty minutes later the pair - the spider by now trapped in a glass jar - were taken at high speed to Danderyd Hospital.

The police officers on the case handled it with the utmost care.

"All the protective gear went on. They obviously wanted to avoid getting bitten themselves," said Ann-Charlotte Wejnäs at Stockholm police.

At the hospital the staff tried to clarify what kind of spider it was. A nurse found a picture of a deadly black widow and it apparently matched the beast in the jar.

"It was black and it had a cross on the underside," said the nurse.

To be on the safe side the spider was rushed to Skansen for indentification.

The zookeeper at Skansen, Jan Wiman, welcomed the spider more warmly than everyone else so far in Sweden.

"There's no doubt that it's a black widow. It's a full-grown female but she seems rather old and quite weak. She probably didn't enjoy travelling in a shipping container," he said.

According to Wiman it is not entirely unheard of for poisonous stowaways to take the ship over the Atlantic. But he advises anyone who comes across such a creature to keep away. A bite from a black widow can be very unpleasant indeed:

"You could feel extremely bad, but it's very rare that a bite leads to death," said Wiman.

This particular case ended happily. The spider's Swedish victim felt fine on Saturday afternoon and according to the nurse was to be allowed home later in the day.


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