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Supermarket closed down over fears about spider that can cause long, painful erections

Supermarket closed down over fears about spider that can cause long, painful erections

The spider had been spotted in the fruit section

A spider in a supermarket is never something to get excited about. But one arachnid in an Austrian supermarket caused the store to shut down.

And why is that, might you ask?

Because the Brazilian wandering spider is believed to cause long lasting and painful erections from just its bite.

You read that correctly.

The Penny market in Krems an der Donau - just under a hour outside of Austria's capital Vienna - has been shut since Tuesday since the four-inch long spider, which is native to northern South America, was spotted.

The store manager rang the fire department after spotting the black-and-red spider in the store's fruit section.

The Brazilian wandering spider was spotted in an Austrian supermarket.
Paraná State Govt., Brazil

A spokesman for the Rewe retail group said to local news outlets that 'comprehensive cleaning and disinfection measures' are now under way to prepare the store for reopening.

But authorities said that 'despite an extensive search, no spiders have been found to date'.

According to Live Science, the Brazilian wandering spider's venom stimulates an erection that lasts for hours, which causes high blood pressure and pain throughout the victim's body.

Dr. Romulo Leite, of the Medical College of George, said: "The erection is a side effect that everybody who gets stung by this spider will experience along with the pain and discomfort.

"We're hoping eventually this will end up in the development of real drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction."

Every cloud has a silver lining, eh?

Smithsonian Magazine had a similar idea back in 2012, when they suggested that the spider could be the 'next Viagra'.

Bet you wouldn't fancy catching one of these in your bunch of bananas?
Wikimedia Commons

The team at Federal University of Minas Gerais were able to produce a synthetic toxin and applied it to mice and rats with erectile dysfunction. The gel gave the animals swelling to the penis that lasted 'about 60 minutes'.

According to the study, the gel was found to have 'effects over and above' Viagra when used in combination. And better still, the early studies also found no signs of discomfort or pain.

The study concluded that the gel 'may emerge as a potent new drug that can be topically administered, becoming a promising alternative for erectile dysfunction treatment'.

Study lead Professor Maria Elena de Lima, told the Sun: "We believe it could fill an enormous gap in the market and help millions of people worldwide."

This isn't the first time that one of these South American spiders have made their way into Europe.

Exotic spiders making their way to Europe through fruit produce isn't uncommon.

In May 2017, the spiders reportedly infiltrated some bananas purchased from a supermarket, which led to an unsuspecting family evacuating their home.

Earlier this year, another Brit reported finding an Australian Huntsman spider in his bananas.

Fortunately, the spider is not deadly, although its bite is painful and venomous.

But I suppose 'not deadly but venomous' doesn't get headlines quite like 'causes painful erections' does, eh?

Featured Image Credit: Paraná State Govt., Brazil

Topics: Animals, World News, Spiders