Posted Friday, Nov. 16, 2012, at 5:13 PM
Photo by JUAN CASTRO/AFP/Getty Images
The black widow spider has made it to Britain’s shores, where it was recently discovered lurking in a machinery factory in East Norfolk.
Nonindigenous to England, the notoriously nasty arachnid known for its venomous bite was most likely an unwanted gift from Texas, hitching a ride from the States in a shipping crate. And here’s the creepy kicker: The poisonous spider produced more than 100 baby black widows in that same crate, prompting the evacuation and fumigation of the plant.
The black widow, identified by a red hourglass marking on its abdomen, produces venom 15 times more powerful than a rattlesnake's and, though rarely lethal to humans, can cause nausea, aches, and breathing difficulties. With black spider antivenom almost nonexistent there, concern over the infestation in England was warranted. Though exterminators feel the invasion was thwarted this time—and England is no doubt redoubling its anti-black spider vigilance—nature once again proved that if it can happen, it will.