Tarantula discovered inside Royal Free Hospital kitchen by terrified staff

PUBLISHED: 10:52 30 November 2016 | UPDATED: 11:20 30 November 2016

The spider is thought to have travelled more than 5,000 miles from Costa Rica. Picture: RSPCA

The spider is thought to have travelled more than 5,000 miles from Costa Rica. Picture: RSPCA


Staff at the Royal Free Hospital were were left terrified last Thursday after they found a tarantula hiding inside a box of bananas from Costa Rica.

The spider was found inside the hospital's kitchenThe spider was found inside the hospital's kitchen

The shocked catering staff managed to trap the huge, hairy spider inside the box, preventing it from scuttling around the kitchens and escaping out into the wards.

The RSPCA’s regional exotics unit was called to the hospital. It identified the spider as a a Costa Rican tiger rump tarantula, which are particularly aggressive can cause skin irritations, rashes, and partial blindness with barbed hairs that they launch as missiles.

“It looks as though this spider has travelled more than 5,400 miles from its home of Costa Rica to London in a box of bananas,” Anthony Pulfer, a regional exotics officer said.

He added: “It appears to be in good health, despite a long journey, but it’s also lucky not to have been accidentally chopped and cooked with the other fruit!”

An animal collection officer, Jill Sanders, managed to catch the spider and it has been taken to a specialist exotics unit in Sussex after getting a check up in an animal hospital.

The RSPCA is hoping someone will come forward and claim the spider. If this doesn’t happen, they will find a person who has experience with the species to look after it.

If you would like to adopt the spider, you can contact the RSPCA on 01273554218.

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