Pet Shop Worker Bitten By False Widow Left With Sausage-Sized Finger
WARNING: This article contains some pretty gross images of a guy's spider bitten finger
A pet shop worker who was used to dealing with huge exotic tarantulas is now scared to death of small spiders because a bite from a false widow spider here in the UK left him with a gigantic 'sausage finger' that eventually 'exploded'.
It's a toss-up, really.
Anyway, as Andy Mason was moving some stock around the pet shop that he works in, the spider sank its fangs into his hand while it was sitting around on a wooden plinth, hitching a ride across the shop.
The 25-year-old didn't realise what had happened at first, thinking he'd just got a splinter, but he was wrong.
His finger ballooned out to the size of a sausage and later 'popped' after he bashed it against a fish tank.
Honestly, it's the stuff of nightmares.
He then became concerned by red track marks up his arm caused by the bite and went to A&E. There, they told him that he'd been bitten, and - because false widow bites cause necrosis of the flesh - he ended up in a hospital bed for two days with his arm held upright to disperse the infection.
After that, he needed an operation to scoop the necrotic tissue out of his arm.
Andy, from Dudley in the West Midlands, said: "It was so painful, even now I still struggle to move my finger on cold days.
"After I was bitten that part of my finger was on fire, it was a very intense burning sensation.
"It was also really sore and I was finding it difficult to move my finger.
"I've never had an issue with spiders before. I've had to handle tarantulas and Goliath bird-eaters at different stores so I'm fine with them.
"Big spiders don't really scare me now, it's more the smaller spiders."
A year on from his ordeal, Andy wants to tell his story to encourage anyone else who might be bitten to seek immediate medical attention.
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He explained: "We keep some of our tanks on big plinths and I'd picked one up to move it into the back room.
"I saw there were some spiders underneath there and one of them was a false widow, I recognised the skull mark on its back.
"I picked the plinth up and I had my hand in one of the crevices, I felt cobwebs but I didn't feel the bite.
"About 15 minutes later my finger started to burn, I didn't think much of it at first and was convinced it was a splinter because I just had a little black mark on my finger.
"Later that day I was walking round the shop with a pack of frozen fish food stuck to my finger for half an hour to try and stop the burning.
"We have anti-bite and sting repellent in the shop so I wiped a bit on my finger and I took some antihistamines."
"As the day went on I was struggling to move my finger. It didn't look any different, apart from a little bit of redness around the black mark, but it was hurting more."
Three days later, he realised that something was really wrong.
He continued: "I went to the walk-in as by this point my finger was like a mini sausage, they gave me tablets and said if it got worse to come back.
"The next day at work I was catching fish for someone and I knocked it on the glass and it exploded, I was wearing a glove at the time but I felt it pop.
"As I took my glove off it was bleeding and there was yellow gunk everywhere, it had a dirty pus-like smell.
"That when the red line started to track up my arm past my elbow.
"As soon as the wound popped the infection started to move and that's when the tracking went crazy, it was really worrying.
"A doctor said the x-ray showed there were no foreign bodies and that I might need an operation.
"I was put in the blue cast before the operation to try and get the infection out of my finger and move it around my body.
"The swelling did go down but it was isolated to one section of my finger and there was a lot of stuff still seeping out of it so I had to have the op in the end.
"I was just relieved something was being done."
Now, Andy is worried by smaller spiders and wants people who could have been bitten to accept it as a possibility and head for the hospital.
He concluded: : "It's ridiculous all of this was caused by a spider.
"It's healed quite well but when it's cold my finger goes numb and I struggle to move it and do things like write or carry heavy weights, but mostly it's back to normal now.
"Big spiders, tarantulas and so on, they're no harm to anyone unless you freak them the hell out whereas smaller spiders? I wouldn't trust them as far as you could throw them.
"My advice to anyone bitten by a spider or insect is to go to A&E straight away, don't leave it."
Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media
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