WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES
A soldier who woke up to find a false widow spider biting his leg was left with a hole in his flesh so deep it exposed his muscles.
Matt Clarke, 31, was bitten by the spider as he lay in bed, soon leaving him in excruciating pain and unable to walk.
Matt, who lives with his partner and two children, woke up experiencing a ‘tingly sensation’ and noticed the tiny brown creature on his skin, but thought nothing of it.
Instead he brushed off the spider and went back to sleep.
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Matt woke up the day after the bite with a burning sensation in his leg.
The pain then became unbearable throughout the day – forcing him to go to A&E.
Matt was treated for a spider bite and thought that was the end of it, but the wound then burst open shortly afterwards.
Matt said: ‘I just felt this dripping down my leg and it was a painful type of burning sensation.
‘I then checked it out and the bite area had burst open – it was a hole I could see my muscles through.
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‘I couldn’t understand why the bite wasn’t healing so I tried to find answers.
‘I researched spiders and my symptoms, and I realised I had been bitten by a “false black widow'”‘
A doctor confirmed Matt’s online research and he returned to the hospital where he was given an x-ray.
He was informed that the bite was ‘toxic’ and needed constant monitoring by drawing a line around the outskirts of the infected area to check for the spread of infection.
Doctors were then able to treat the infection, but Matt was left with a scar on his leg.
The false widow spider is not deadly, but can deliver a similar bite to its cousin the black widow, which can kill within hours.
Matt, of Mansfield, near Nottingham, said: ‘I’ve been in the Army for ten years, I’ve been all over the world and slept next to more dangerous spiders and never got bit.
‘But I got bit in my own bed.”