For a few years, the United Kingdom has been the victim of a certain spider invasion. Their name? Steatoda nobilis. This species has also been nicknamed the ‘false widow’ because of its dark abdomen with a very clear marking, similar to that of a black widow. However, it is possible to tell them apart because the false widow has long orange legs.
Although they rarely measure more than 15 millimeters long, it is a venomous spider, so you have to be careful. Sunil Dade, a 33-year-old plumber underwent a painful experience with one after he found it in his parents’ garden in western London. He was taking clothes off the washing line and throwing them over his shoulder when he felt an intense pain near his head.
Like being ‘struck by lightning’
‘I’ve broken two vertebrae before in an accident, I’ve been stung by a bee – they were nothing compared to this, it was a million times worse. It was like I’d been struck by lightning,’ Sunil Dade explained to the Daily Mail. The pain was quickly followed by other symptoms.
‘I started shaking, my legs, my arms, uncontrollably. I ran into the house crying and shouting for my younger brother, Sandeep, who’s 25 to help me,’ he continued. When he looked under his sweatshirt, his brother noticed a small spider with long legs and quite a striking abdomen.
‘I’ve seen spiders with longer legs, but this had this big hard black body, with white and grey on it, and it had these fangs. Only later did I look on the internet and find it was a venomous false widow spider,’ he stated. As soon as they saw the spider, the man and his brother started to act.
An enormous dark patch
They applied pressure to the area where he had been bitten to try and get as much of the venom as possible out and Sunil Dade thought that the pain would pass but that wasn’t the case. The next day, his condition had worsened. So, he went to the doctors who sent him directly to the emergency room. When there, they prescribed him antibiotics, but this did not stop the venom from taking its toll.
Little by little, the skin on his neck started to darken until he had a dark patch no smaller than 15 centimeters big. It took a few days before the black skin started to peel off. Today, Sunil Dade’s neck is still red, he is still finding it difficult to sleep and still hasn’t been able to go back to work.
Quite serious bites
‘I wasn’t scared of spiders before, but I am now,’ he said. False widows have a reputation for having painful bites, but the effects of their venom vary from one person to the next. Some only experience a temporary redness, while others experience an intense burning sensation, generally feeling unwell and even fainting.
In case of an allergic reaction, the symptoms can be even more serious. The media have reported on cases when Brits have suffered from intense swelling in their limbs after being bitten by a false widow. That’s why specialists encourage everyone who thinks they have been bitten by this type of spider to consult a doctor.
Nevertheless, there have been no recorded deaths as a result of Steatoda nobilis to date. Originally from the Canary Islands, the spider has been introduced into lots of countries such as England, France and Spain, where they have since colonized.
Check out the video above to see the full terrifying results of the bite...