Not so itsy-bitsy spider in punnet of grapes becomes finder’s new pet

A tarantula spider
Tarantulas can grow to the size of an adult's hand. Photo: Jake Heckey via Pixabay
A tarantula spider
Tarantulas can grow to the size of an adult’s hand. Photo: Jake Heckey via Pixabay

A man who discovered a tarantula in a punnet of grapes at a supermarket in Arnhem has said he is keeping the creature as a pet.

Bart van den Akker initially missed the spider when he bought the Chilean pitless grapes from Albert Heijn to give to his son, but spotted the stowaway when he went back for more.

‘I had a terrible fright. I was at a loss what to do but then I remembered my neighbour knows about animals,’ he told local paper the Gelderlander.

Neighbour Bart Kappen contacted a local shop specialising in reptiles which opened especially to give the spider a home. ‘We are making a comfortable terrarium for it, with a light for warmth and grasshoppers for food,’ Kappen.

The tarantula, dubbed Grape, is still young and relatively small. An adult spider can be the size of the palm of the hand. Its bite is not dangerous but can cause irritation, Kappen said.

Albert Heijn spokesman Ronald van der Aart said a spider in the supermarket is ‘highly unusual’.

It is unclear at which of the three grape packing factories in Chile the spider could have sneaked in, he said. ‘We think this small tarantula sat well hidden in a bunch and passed through the inspection unnoticed, or slipped in just before the punnet was sealed. The temperature in the sea container is 1 degree. Perhaps it went into hibernation and then woke up here.’

The supermarket has given the family another punnet of pitless and spiderless grapes, as well as an unspecified gift.

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