Deadly Spiders Haunt This Museum AND JUST WON’T DIE

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A brown recluse spider, related to the Chilean recluse. Image by Mike Keeling.

A species of spider native to the hot climates of South and Central America has somehow found itself over 13,000 km and a stones throw from the Arctic Circle, in a museum basement in Finland.

The Finnish Museum of Natural History in Helsinki has a large collection of preserved specimens, and attracts a lot of tourists as a result of this. It also boasts a surprising amount of live specimens, apparently. This Chilean recluse population has been lingering in the museum basement since 1963 — in 1970 there was a reported outbreak in numbers, and a large search of the building found that the spiders were ‘everywhere’, infesting the whole of the ground floor.

The eyes and fangs of a Chilean recluse. Image by Ken Walker

The most worrying aspect of this is that the spiders just won’t quit. Removed spiders are replaced in a matter of days, and it just seems like there is no getting rid of them. Chilean recluse spiders, although not aggressive in nature, are extremely venomous, and can easily cause the death of an unlucky victim, so this situation is less than ideal.

So how did the spiders find themselves in Finland? Well, there are a few different theories. One says they hijacked a crate of apples, whilst another states that they snuck in on a shipment of wood chippings. One thing that is certain is that they aren’t going anywhere and are still present in large numbers. In the article by BBC Future, the reporter and his guide found half a dozen ‘without too much trouble’.

Image by Mampato

Although this spider is extremely dangerous, only one biting incident has ever been recorded in this museum, and the unlucky recipient survived without any problems. Phew.

Here is a video that claims the Chilean recluse spider is in the top 10 most venomous spiders:

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