Fact check. Can a wolf spider lay eggs on a human’s toe? A British man claims so Science and the planet

A British man claimed to BBC Radio Scotland this week that a spider bit him on his toe while on a cruise. What’s more, the animal has also laid eggs, with all the ensuing consequences. According to the man, one of the spiders hatched and the baby spider tried to eat its way out. The story went viral on social media, and many people shuddered at the thought that this could happen to them too. But can a spider effectively lay its eggs in our bodies like a parasite, or is this a myth? Biologist Fitz Chanet tells us the truth.

Imagine: a spider lays eggs under your skin as it bites, they hatch a few weeks later, and then dozens or hundreds of spiders emerge. It’s a horror story you’ve probably heard before. Sometimes it even reaches the media, like this week. A British man claimed this happened to him.

Colin Blake told the BBC that his toe suddenly turned purple overnight while on a cruise in France. According to the ship’s doctor, he was bitten by a so-called “wolf spider.” The animal is said to have been struck during a dinner party when the boat was docked in Marseille. After his toe began to show signs of a serious infection, the medical staff opened it with a scalpel and milky pus came out. According to Blake, spider eggs have also been seen in it. Once back in the UK, he was prescribed antibiotics in hospital as additional treatment. A few weeks later, according to the man, doctors discovered that one of the eggs was still on his toe and had hatched, causing the spider to eat its way out.

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Spiders usually lay their eggs hidden in a cocoon or egg sac for protection. This is also the case for the wolf spider. © Global Image Collection via Getty

According to biologist Fitz Chanet and other international experts, this story cannot be true. “It contributes to urban legends and misinformation about spiders,” the biologist says. “Spiders are not parasites and do not lay their eggs in the bodies of other animals. First, this is impossible because their jaws are not adapted to insert eggs into a wound, only venom. Second, such cloning would be impractical and extremely unsafe. Spiders usually lay their eggs hidden in a cocoon or sac Eggs to protect.

“The last place spiders would hide their eggs is in the skin of a large predator. The eggs would also not get enough oxygen and would simply die. So the human body is not a good place to use them for reproduction. Finally, there are no examples in the scientific or medical literature showing that this would happen.” “Anyway,” Chanet said, “it’s a hoax.”

Most spiders you encounter here cannot bite your skin with their jaws

On the other hand, a regular spider bite is possible. But this is very rare in our country and in our neighboring countries. “Most of the spiders you encounter here cannot bite your skin with their jaws,” Chanet explains. “If they do succeed in exceptional cases, their venom is usually too weak to be dangerous. More exotic species have stronger jaws and venom, which can cause injuries and painful symptoms.”

However, a spider bite is very quickly assumed to be the case with a suspicious wound. Experts suspect Dr. Sarah Goodacre and Dr. Lena Gristed said that the cruise passenger’s injury may have been due to a puncture in the skin caused by a sharp object. Many biologists also wonder what kind of spider is in the story. Identifying spiders is not always easy, especially when they are small and can emerge from a toe. In addition, there is no spider known as the “Peruvian wolf spider.”

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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