YORK, Maine — When Crystal Gay of York ordered something from eBay for a gift idea, she had no idea she'd get a package with more than she bargained for.
Crystal purchased a fire hose connector to make a homemade firefighter type of gift, her husband, Jonathan Gay, told NEWS CENTER Maine.
When she opened the package from Philadelphia, Crystal noticed a couple of spiders in the box and asked him to take care of them for her.
Jonathan noticed one was still alive ... and was clearly a black widow.
Luckily, Crystal opened the box soon after she brought it inside, but the box did spend a night on their front porch. Jonathan said the spider managed to survive the chilly night Keith Carson predicted.
The couple disposed of the spider with a "proper burial."
They notified the seller and he was shocked to hear there was a spider, let alone a black widow, in the box he sent. Jonathan said the seller is probably a little reluctant to check the shed where he stored the item.
Jonathan said they did not ask for a refund, but the seller provided one anyway.
A black widow spider's bite is much feared because its venom is reported to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake's, according to National Geographic. In humans, bites can cause muscle aches, nausea, and paralysis of the diaphragm that can make breathing difficult.
However, contrary to popular belief, most people who are bitten suffer no serious damage, let alone death. Bites can be fatal, usually to small children, and the elderly. Fortunately, fatalities are fairly rare as black widows are nonaggressive and bite only in self-defense.
They are not commonly found in Maine or Philadelphia.