A man has told BBC Radio Scotland of his horror after he discovered that a spider had laid eggs inside his toe, including one that hatched.
Colin Blake and his wife were spending the evening celebrating their 35th wedding anniversary in the south of France when his toe swelled up and turned purple.
Speaking to the station, the Northumberland native said: “My wife thought it may be because I had new sandals and they were rubbing on my big toe and that was causing it to be red.”
The following day, staff used a scalpel to cut open Mr Blake’s toe, from which a substance resembling “milk-like pus” emerged.
Upon his return to the UK, Mr Blake was treated at hospital and was given a course of antibiotics to reduce the swelling. It was only until the swelling has subsided that the spider’s fang marks could be seen as well as the toxin making his way through his foot.
However, four weeks after the bite, Mr Blake discovered a “foreign body” in his foot. “One of the spider eggs hadn’t been flushed and must have hatched,” he said. “They believe the spider was making its way out, eating its way out of my toe. I did ask if I could keep it, but they said no.”
Speaking about whether a spider could have laid its eggs in a human foot, Dr Sara Goodacre from the University of Nottingham told the BBC: “I can’t possibly see how it could be true at all because I know about their biology. [The egg sacs] take quite a while to spin. The spider venom is not necrotising—it is designed to paralyse a fruit fly.”
Dr Sara Goodacre went on to say that when a wolf spider lays it eggs, they are kept in a substance that looks like a ball of cotton, adding that “there is no European wolf spider that could really penetrate the skin.”