Deadly Black Widow spider hitches ride to UK in Cadillac imported from US
Working for a firm importing classic American cars, Adam Morrison-Thomas is well-versed in handling exotic arrivals.
But not necessarily eight-legged ones that can kill with a single bite.
The encounter between the mechanic and the black widow spider began when he opened the door of a gold 1965 Cadillac Sedan de Ville shipped in from Arizona.
Black Widows are renowned for being incredibly tough and liking dark crevices
There, sat in the middle of a 12in web spun under the passenger seat, was one of the world's most poisonous creatures, whose venom is 15 times stronger than that of a rattlesnake.
'I was the first person to look inside the car and I was just amazed at how big the web was,' 20-year- old Mr Morrison-Thomas said.
'I closed the door very quickly but I wasn't sure if it was poisonous so I decided to catch it. I got a piece of wood and sort of pushed it into a sandwich box. It was a big shock to find out it was a black widow. I'm not sure I would have been quite so brave if I had known exactly what it was.'
After catching the one inch spider, he handed it over to the RSPCA.
Now it is called Dorothy and is locked inside a cage within a cage, with alarmed glass, five locks and a panic button at the Stratford Butterfly Farm, in Worcestershire, where it is the star attraction.
Farm manager Richard Lamb said: 'It's a very good job he did spot it because if someone had sat on it they would probably be in intensive care for a couple of weeks. They can finish off old people or children.
'The RSPCA brought it here and we realised what it was straight away and put it in our special cage for dangerous invertebrates. It is our only black widow spider and it is proving very popular with visitors.'
It is thought that Dorothy stowed away in Arizona and spun its web as the car crate made its ten-day journey-to the American Truck Shop in Strensham, Worcestershire.
Mr Morrison-Thomas, of Strensham, said: 'It was only when I looked it up on the internet afterwards that I found out what it was.
'But I wasn't really scared, it's quite cool to know you've had a black widow in your car.
'But I know it could have been fatal - we could have been driving around for days and then all of a sudden I could have felt a pinch in my back.'[/q]