Shocked shopper finds snake among leaves of pineapple

Ricky travelled from Costa Rica inside a pineapple.
 Picture: Ian Georgeson
Ricky travelled from Costa Rica inside a pineapple. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A snake hitched a ride from Costa Rica to the UK on a pineapple before it was discovered by a shocked shopper.

The Scottish SPCA was called out to Tryst Park after the eight-inch reptile was found hiding between the leaves of the fruit on Tuesday.

A member of the public had bought the pineapple at a local store but only discovered it once they returned home.

Animal Rescue Officer Catherine Atterton said: “It’s not every day that we get called out to attend to snakes found in peculiar places.

“I know not long ago there was a wee lizard found on a head of broccoli so I was quite excited to see what had stowed away on this pineapple.

“We named him Ricky, as he’s come all the way from Costa Rica.

“As yet he’s not been identified but he’s in a good condition and is now being cared for by experts at Butterfly World in Edinburgh.

“We’re glad we were called out, as without proper care Ricky wouldn’t survive our climate.

“Now he’ll be able to recuperate from his adventures.”

Costa Rica is home to more than 130 different types of snake, including some venomous species. The most common is the Fer De lance or Terciopelo.

And pineapples, which are crucial for the Costa Rican economy, help support more than 25,000 people who are employed in the industry.

Hundreds of thousands of them are shipped from Costa Rica to the UK each month.

It is not the first time a creature has hitched a ride to the Capital from foreign climes.

A female supermarket worker came to the rescue of panicked male colleagues who found a poisonous tropical spider in a box of bananas at the Asda store in Chesser.

Petra Merriman stepped in to capture the Colombian banana spider in 2012, tipping it into a pot and carrying it away.

The spider’s bite is not fatal but does cause pain, swelling and flu-like symptoms.

Petra said at the time: “All the boys were running round like headless chickens. One of the chaps who was putting a box of bananas in the display took a lid off a box and saw it was curled around a banana.

“We got a phone call in the back office saying come and deal with this spider.”

She added: “I brought a pot with a secure lid down with me, and I just popped it in. I didn’t have to touch it, I just put the pot underneath it.”

Despite a speedy rescue by the SSPCA, the spider died shortly afterwards. Identified by Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World’s Kevin Thom as an adult female from the ctenidae or “wandering spider” family, it is commonly known as a 
banana spider.

He said: “It isn’t deadly but its venom contains high levels of serotonin.

“If bitten you would experience pain, swelling, muscle spasms and flu-like symptoms which could be very unpleasant, depending on the amount of venom that was injected.

“These spiders can survive transport from abroad by shutting down and becoming very cold. They awaken when they warm up, which is often under bright shop lights.”