A tarantula has been discovered within a shipment of bananas delivered to a food store in the Horsham and Crawley area.
The South American spider was handed in at a local veterinary surgery and collected by RSPCA inspector Tony Woodley yesterday (Thursday July 31).
Mr Woodley then delivered the three-inch tarantula to Drusillas Park zoo in East Sussex, who agreed to rehome it.
Drusillas Park spider expert Angela Hale said the creature is ‘extremely docile’.
She said: “It is always very exciting to have a tarantula brought in by the RSPCA.
“We had the arachnid identified by Dr Stuart Longhorn of the British Tarantula Society; one of the world’s leading taxonomists and experts on South American tarantulas. He confirmed the tarantula was a fully grown dwarf species known as Peruvian Green Velvet.
“It lives in scrubland and is extremely docile.”
Mr Woodley added: “We were not entirely sure at first which country the spider had come from but it was in very good condition.
“I’m delighted that Drusillas could once again take the spider, which is one of the more difficult animals to find a home for.”
In November 2013, a giant huntsman spider was also rehomed to the zoo after travelling from Taiwan to St Leonards on Sea in a shipping container of BMX parts.