The campervan was imported from Sacramento, California, last October by a couple (who do not wish to be named) who bought it from the states unaware of its potentially dangerous passenger.
The deadly find was discovered by a mechanic working underneath the vehicle, who after power washing the underside noticed a small black spider with a red hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen.
We then collected the unwanted stowaway and it now resides in my "nasties" tank - a locked and alarmed biological hazard enclosure devoted to venomous species located in Arachnoland, near Insect City.
Black widows are extremely venomous and though they do not always cause death, because they only inject a small amount of venom, their bite is extremely painful and symptoms can last for several weeks if one is lucky enough to survive.
Also a few weeks ago I was asked to collect a "small banded snake" from an elderly gentleman's garden in Stratford which turned out to be a harmless baby corn snake Pantherophis guttatus; obviously an escaped pet!
Both of these unusual visitors can now be viewed in complete safety at Stratford Butterfly Farm.
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