Dad bitten by false widow spider in sleep awakes in horror to strange hand pain
A dad who awoke with an aching hand realised to his horror that he had been bitten by a false widow spider – after finding the critter squashed dead under his pillow.
Stuart Coleman, 50, woke up to the “really strange” pain in his right hand in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The father-of-two. from Long Rock, Cornwall, was alarmed to see a squashed spider under his pillow – which he was later able to identify as a false widow.
Stuart, who runs The Corner Deli cafe in Porthleven, Cornwall, with his wife Kerry, said: “The pain got worse and worse, and by the middle of the day on Wednesday it was really intense.
“I’m usually quite good with pain, but I just can’t describe what this felt like. It was like an intense muscle ache all the way up my arm.
“But I couldn’t actually see the puncture mark from where the spider had bitten me. My hand went a little bit red, but it was really the sensation that was the worst.
“I called NHS 111, who recommended I go up to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.
“But they just told me to carry on with regular pain relief, a cold compress, and to keep taking antihistamines. They said it wasn’t bad enough to need to give me antibiotics.
“I think I was quite lucky, really, as lots of people have messaged me saying they have been bitten by a false widow spider, but they had it a lot worse than I have.
“I’m just glad it wasn’t one of my children that got bitten – I can’t imagine a child having to go through this pain.”
Luckily, Stuart is now on the mend two days after getting bitten by the spider – but says his hand still feels tender, “like sunburn”.
But he added: “I don’t really blame the spider – it was just protecting itself.
“I feel a bit bad that I obviously squashed it in my sleep,” he joked.
A new study, published in the international medical journal Clinical Toxicology this week, found noble false widow spider bites can pack such a severe punch that victims require hospital treatment.
Originating from Madeira and the Canary Islands, the noble false widow spider, Steatoda nobilis, has the potential to become one of the world’s most invasive species of spider.
The species, named for its close resemblance to the deadly black widow spider, was first documented in Britain more than 140 years ago.
While it is not remotely as dangerous as its namesake, the noble false widow’s venomous bite makes it one of few spiders in the UK capable of delivering a painful bite.
Awareness of the spider is rising as in recent decades its population has increased in numbers, significantly expanding its range and density across Britain.
The reasons behind this sudden expansion are not yet clear.
However scientists believe it could be linked to increasingly milder winters, according to Natural History Museum experts.