A teacher bitten by a false widow spider was left with a “bionic green Terminator eye” and a sagging face.
Stuart Vesty thought he was having a stroke having his face started “throbbing” during the night. And quickly noticed that the right side of his face had begin to sag. Before rushing to hospital, the 50-year-old spotted a dead spider on his bed, boxed it up and took it to the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent.
There, doctors confirmed the dad-of-two been chomped on by the eight-legged fiend and after examining it confirmed it was a false widow spider, whose bites produce necrosis of the flesh. Fearing the bite had perforated the eyeball, doctors poured a dye into it to determine where the terror bit him.
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Hours later Stuart's eye began to ooze a luminous green liquid that he joked looked eerily similar to Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg character from 1984 hit film The Terminator. Stuart, from Sandwich, Kent, said: “I was relieved to find it hadn't perforated my eyeball, I didn't have too much of a look at it.
“But when I finally looked at it, it did look really bad. It was green, my face was really swollen so I was quite worried and very relieved when it came back to normal. When I was very little I had a stick thrown that went into that eye.
“I was a very young person to receive an artificial lense implant. I don't have great vision in that eye anyway so it wouldn't have been good if it was the other eye. When I saw what it looked like, I was just jokingly thinking 'if I lose this eye, I want a full Arnie Terminator eye'.”
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Feeling lucky not to have lost his sight, Stuart said he has a newfound respect for the seemingly harmless critters, and will now be more aware of them. Earlier this year, experts warned that the UK's volatile weather could see the spiders invade homes.
Expert Clive Boase, the owner of The Pest Management Consultancy in Suffolk, said: “The population of false widows in the UK is growing all the time. People don’t realise just how common they have become. They can survive both indoors and outdoors. They are generally shy creatures and won’t come out into the open – but they could crawl into curtains or perhaps clothing left on the floor.
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According to the Wildlife Trusts, noble false widow spiders – the most common and largest of the species – are usually up to 14mm in body length, with a leg span that covers a fifty pence piece. The front section of their body is dark brown, as are the legs, while the abdomen can vary with patterns of cream and dark brown marks.
Their marks are sometimes described as skull-shaped, though often the false widow can have very few markings at all. False widow spiders be spotted throughout the year but are most commonly seen between July and November. Anyone who suspects a bite should avoid scratching it and wash the area with soap and water, while inflammation can be reduced by applying antihistamine cream and using a plaster.
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