Black widow spider discovered in crate

Black widows can live for around two years
Black widows can live for around two years

A potentially deadly black widow has been found in a crate which had been transported to the North-east from America.

Workers at the business park in Portlethen were shocked to discover the spider lurking in the shipment.

They called the Scottish SPCA on Thursday after finding the arachnid, whose venom is said to be 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake.

The charity said the spider had to be “put to sleep” because there was nowhere in Scotland for it to be safely kept.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We can confirm we were alerted to a black widow after it was found in a crate from America.

“Bites from the black widow can be dangerous to humans and can cause severe muscle pain and muscle spasms.

“Sadly, the spider had to be put to sleep as there is nowhere in Scotland to safely rehome it, and we could not keep it in our centre due to severe health and safety concerns.”

It is not the first time a black widow has been found in the area

In May, 2013, employees at a company on Kirkhill Industrial Estate in Dyce spotted a stowaway in a shipment from the US and contacted the Scottish SPCA.

It was rehomed by someone who ran an exotic animal rescue charity.

Black widows live for about two years and are native to the US.

Their venom causes cramps and fever although their bites are rarely fatal because of the small amount of poison released.

Only the female black widow is dangerous to humans - males and juveniles are harmless.

About 3,400 species of spiders in 64 families are found in North America. More than 35,000 species of spiders occur worldwide

More than 2,000 people report black widow bites each year, but deaths are rare these days.