Skip To Content

    This Guy Found A Black Widow Spider In His Broccoli And Somehow Didn't Burn His Entire Home Down

    Warning: spider.

    When Ethen Shen bought some broccoli, he was only expecting to get a healthy side dish. But now he has a new, wee venomous pet.

    Ethen Shen

    Some people are just lucky that way.

    It all started when Shen found broccoli on sale, so he bought a whole bunch. When he went to cook some a few days later, he found something strange.

    Ethen Shen

    "I saw a little black ball inside the broccoli crown about one inch away from my finger. When I took a closer look, I realized it's a spider, and I suspect it's a black widow," Shen told BuzzFeed Canada.

    Ethen Shen

    "I thought it was dead so I grabbed my phone and tried to take a pic, then I realized it is NOT dead and started to move," he said.

    Shen is actually afraid of spiders, but he managed to push his fear aside and get the little guy into a container using tongs. It probably helped that it was cold and not moving too much.

    "After I took the pic, my fear kicked in. I had a discomfort feeling and goosebumps all over my skin," he said. And yes, he checked the rest of the broccoli for more creepy crawlies.

    That distinctive red hourglass mark means this is indeed a black widow. They're venomous, but rarely fatal to humans. And while startling, they're not an entirely uncommon find.

    Ethen Shen

    According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, black widows can occasionally be found on grapes shipped up north from warmer climates.

    The CFIA recommends you contact them if you find a black widow, which Shen did. He also tried to call the grocery store where he bought the broccoli, but no one answered.

    Until he gets a definitive answer from the CFIA, Shen is keeping his new friend around.

    Ethen Shen

    He posted on Reddit asking for name suggestions, and the top contenders so far are Brock Lee, Charlotte, and 4060 — the grocery store code for broccoli.

    Lauren Strapagiel is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada.

    Contact Lauren Strapagiel at

    Got a confidential tip? Submit it here