Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Man finds out ‘blisters from shoes’ are wolf spider eggs laid in his toe on cruise holiday

Nightmare from romantic getaway followed couple home with more creepy-crawly surprises

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Tuesday 28 November 2023 19:58 GMT
Related video: Blisters while hiking? These tips help to prevent them

Colin Blake’s wife was not overly concerned when she saw her husband’s big toe red and swollen during their 35th wedding anniversary cruise.

After all, most holidaymakers suffer the sting of blisters from new sandals rubbing at the feet after a day of exploring.

So the unsuspecting couple were left horrified when their on-board doctor told them a Peruvian wolf spider had bitten Mr Blake and laid eggs inside his toe.

Spider’s eggs then poured out of Mr Blake’s toe as the doctor cut it open.

Mr Blake, who lives in Cramlington, Northumberland, believes he was bitten when he was eating dinner outdoors in Marseille.

Peruvian wolf spiders are not often poisonous (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He told BBC Radio Scotland: “My wife thought it may be because I had new sandals and they were rubbing on my big toe and that was causing it to be red.”

Sadly, things only got worse when Mr Blake arrived back in the UK.

Four weeks after visiting the hospital and being prescribed antibiotics back on home turf, he noticed another development on his toe.

A visit to the doctors revealed further horror: Mr Blake was told that one of the eggs had hatched into a spider which was stuck under his skin.

“They believe the spider was making its way out - eating its way out of my toe,” he said.

But an arachnologist said wolf spiders are not capable of laying their eggs inside humans.

Dr Sara Goodacre from the University of Nottingham told the BBC: “I can’t possibly see how it could be true at all because I know about their biology.

“[The egg sacs] take quite a while to spin. The spider venom is not necrotising, it is designed to paralyse a fruit fly.”

She added that there had been no reports which suggest the eggs could live in a “pus-infected wound”.

Wolf spiders are not often poisonous and are typically found in the south of France after arriving on cargo ships.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in