WEIRD NEWS
07/13/2011 09:04 am ET Updated Sep 11, 2011

Killer Spider That Terrorized Supermarket In Bexbach, Germany, Presumed Dead

German officials have crawled all over a supermarket in the town of Bexbach trying to find a Brazilian wandering spider that forced an evacuation.

But now they believe they've killed the highly venomous arachnid.

The spider, which was erroneously identified as a banana spider in earlier reports, was first discovered when an employee spotted a large, grayish, hairy spider about five inches long scuttle under a shelf while unloading bananas, according to Der Spiegel.

An employee checked the internet for images of spiders resembling the one he had just seen and was shocked to find the spidery suspect matched the description for the Brazilian Wandering Spider (Phoneutria nigriventer) -- billed as one of the world's most venomous and aggressive spiders.

Employees spent the past few days disposing of all fruits, vegetables and meats before exterminators fumigated the entire store.

Although the spider wasn't found, Albrect von Truchsess, a spokesman for the Real supermarket chain, is confident it has been eliminated.

"We haven't found the spider yet, but according to the exterminator it's dead," von Truchsess told TheLocal.de.

Thirty people searched the entire store after it was fumigated, with the help of a spider expert from a nearby zoo who recommending switching off the lights to lure the nocturnal creature out of hiding.

Still, sources close to the investigation suspect the spider's desiccated body will likely never be found.

"It probably found a small dark hiding place," said Truchsess, adding that the store was thoroughly cleaned before reopening on Monday.

Although a police spokesman conceded there was a chance the tropical spider might have escaped death and is currently roaming the streets of Bexbach, he doubted it would survive long because German nights are much colder than the ones in the tropics.

One spider might seem a weird thing to get bugged about, but insect expert Amy Stewart, the author of "Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects," says the Brazilian Wandering Spider rates as one of the top five worst bugs thanks to its bite, which doesn't just cause severe pain, but also leads to breathing problems, paralysis and even death.