Extremely Deadly Spider Found in Box of Grapes at Grocery Store

One of the deadliest spiders in the world has been found in a box of grapes at a local grocery store.

The redback spider, a cousin of the black widow that can kill with its venom, was found in a punnet of grapes purchased at a Woolworths store in Sydney, Australia.

Images posted by the 9News website showed the spider inside the plastic packaging on the grapes. The scarlet band across its abdomen that identifies the species was clearly visible.

Redback spiders are considered one of the most poisonous arachnids on Earth. Also known as the Australian Black Widow, they are related to the similarly dangerous black widow spiders found in North America.

The spider was found in late January just days before redback spiders were also found in packages of grapes bought north of Sydney, on the border between Queensland and New South Wales states.

Phil Bonjovi told 9News his wife had found the spider a day after the couple purchased the grapes. She saw it as she reached for them in their fridge. "She put the box straight out of the front door when she saw it," Bonjovi said. "She's not a big fan of spiders."

While a bite from a redback spider can be fatal, there have been no reported deaths from the species since 1979. An effective antivenom for redback spider bites was introduced in Australia in 1956. Only bites from female redbacks are dangerous but females typically stay in their funnel-shaped webs.

Redback spider bites happen frequently in Australia during the summer months when they are most active. The Australian Museum said that around 250 redback spider bites become serious enough to require antivenom treatment every year.

Common symptoms of redback bites include pain which can become severe, sweating in particular around where the bite happened, nausea and vomiting.

Woolworths run grocery stores across Australia. The company apologized to the Bonjovi couple and said they were not the only fresh fruit supplier impacted by rogue spiders like redbacks entering retail produce.

"We take food safety very seriously and are working closely with our suppliers on this industry-wide issue, to ensure the quality of grapes are up to our standards when packed," a spokesperson told 9News.

Redback spiders typically favor drier habitats and are often found close to human settlements underneath rocks or in trash bins or sheds.

They eat a variety of prey including other, bigger spiders like the trapdoor spider, crickets and even small lizards.

Stock image of redback spider in Australia
Stock image of a redback spider in Australia. Several of the animals which can kill humans with their bites have been found on packs of grapes in Australia recently. AlexWang_AU/Getty Images