Black widow spider adopted after being found in broccoli

Illustration for article titled Black widow spider adopted after being found in broccoli
Photo: Lynn Carlson/Isabelle Rozenbaum (EyeEm/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images)

Another reminder to carefully rinse wash your produce: Ohio resident Jacob Vaughn found a surprising stowaway in his recently purchased broccoli from Kroger: a black-widow spider. As WTOL in Toledo explains, quoting an interview with an expert from Scientific American, spiders may be found in your grocery-store fruit, “especially in bananas from Central or South America and black widows can be found in grapes anywhere they grow.” Not sure how this one wound up in broccoli, but it is fortunate that Vaughn discovered the creature before getting bit; the black widow’s bite is 15 times more toxic than a rattlesnake’s, although their bite is rarely fatal, contrary to popular belief.


To Vaughn’s credit, not only did he identify the black widow from its red hourglass markings, he didn’t crush it with a cast-iron skillet like a horrified arachnophobe would. Instead, says WTOL, he picked it up with tongs and put it in double zip-locked bags (dear god, the bravery). When Vaughn’s mother posted the incident on Facebook, a friend of hers then helped the spider get in touch with “Life With Elliott And Friends, in conjunction with Another Chance Sanctuary, a rescue facility in Fremont.” Apparently, an adoption is pending for some excited soul who wants to live with a black widow spider. Now a pet, the spider also gets a name: “Broccoli.” Not bad, but we would have also accepted “Charlotte.” Possibly “Natasha.”

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.


My wife and others always make fun of me but I refuse to kill spiders because they are good luck and trap unwanted flying pests in their webs. Whenever my wife finds a spider, she flails around the house in horror as I delicately trap it in a paper towel to escort it outside.

The best part is after Charlotte is safely in the grass outside, I like to throw the paper towel at my wife and should “look out.” This usually results in her screaming at the top of her lungs and being fake angry with me for the next several minutes, even though she is secretly relieved that the spider is out of the house.