Deadly black widow found in Kent
Vet Mark Rowland
with the deadly black widow
by Alan McGuinness
Its venom is 15 times more deadly than a rattlesnake, it devours
males after mating - and it's looking for a new home... in
A black widow spider was discovered by workers importing cars
from the United States at Chatham Docks at the weekend.
It was trapped and taken to a Maidstone veterinary surgery in a
Chinese takeaway carton.
Mark Rowland, the owner of Trinity Vet
Centre and an expert in zoological medicine says he has never had
to deal with something like this before.
He said: "The first thing we thought when it was brought in was:
'Thank god there are not any holes in this'. At least it was
"The thing about Chinese takeaway cartons is that they have got
firm lids you can put on.
"The guys had done a good job in entrapping it in that. Although
it was not ideal it was better than it could have been.
"If it was brought in a box that would have been a bit more
"We just had to transfer it to a more secure container and
double box it so it would not cause any problems."
A bite from a black widow spider can cause muscle pain and
spasms, nausea, vomiting, a coma and even death.
"Statistically the fatality rate is five per cent - the only
fatalities occur in older people, very young people or those who do
not have as robust an immune system as normal.
"The effects of it can last for up to several weeks after -
it is quite a nasty experience," said Mr Rowland.
"The guys had done a good job in entrapping it in that…” – Mark Rowland
Now he is searching
for somewhere, or someone, to take the spider.
"I have started with the local zoological collections - I
have contacted London Zoo.
"I have got quite a few contacts in the zoological world so we
should be able to find somewhere for her.
"Wherever she goes they will have to have a dangerous wild
animal licence because she is a potentially dangerous animal.
"That is why I am exploring this avenue first and then I will
send it out to the general public.
"But that would be both irresponsible and illegal if they do not
have a licence. Until that time she will remain here."
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