A man was left with a 4cm hole in his leg after being "bitten by a false widow spider," while he was stood outside an Asda.
Michael Wilkinson, 38, spent two months recovering after suffering "nine out of 10" pain. He initially thought little of the bite but it began to sting and swell half an hour later – before growing to a hole.
Michael claims he recognised the distinctive markings of a false widow on the spider's back as it scuttled away after biting him. Confirmed cases of false widow bites in the UK are rare, experts say.
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Only the two larger species of false widow, the cupboard spider and the noble false widow, are likely to be able to bite through human skin at all.
Michael, from High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, said: "I was sat on a wall outside Asda and I flicked a spider off my leg. As it ran off into a bush I saw the distinctive white band on the abdomen and recognised it as a false widow.
"Just 40 minutes later I noticed swelling on my leg and a hole appearing in the middle. It got bigger and bigger and soon there was pus coming out. The pain came later on that day and it got worse and worse – over the next days I had problems walking and couldn't sleep because of it. Thankfully I got antibiotics quickly but I was told it could have caused sepsis if it was left untreated. I was never that keen on spiders before, but now I always look around to spot the markings."
Michael, who is currently not working due to a spine condition, was taking a phone call outside his local Asda on September 23 when he felt something moving on his leg. He brushed it away and saw a spider with white markings scuttle off.
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He didn't realise the spider had bitten him until his leg started to swell up, and a hole appeared in the centre of the inflamed skin. He claims he found a spider leg stuck in the hole, which he removed with tweezers, and then visited his GP where he was diagnosed with an infection, for which he was prescribed antibiotics and painkillers.
He said: "It was extremely painful – a nine out of ten – and it gave me trouble sleeping. If I walked round on it, it would start bleeding or discharge would come out. I kept having to wash my clothes because of it."
A month later, the bite started to heal, but the infection was so deep that he was prescribed another month of antibiotics.
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