top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon
Explore
arrow down

Are there really spiders in France that lay eggs under your skin?

A British tourist says a doctor told him that was the issue after his toe swelled up in Marseille

Tourist was later treated by doctors in the UK ‘for a bite from a wolf spider’ Pic: HWall / Shutterstock

A British tourist claimed that a spider laid eggs in his toe on a trip to Marseille, however experts are baffled by his account, calling it “impossible”. 

Colin Blake, from Cramlington, Northumberland, was on a cruise to celebrate his 35th wedding anniversary when his big toe swelled up alarmingly following a stop in Marseille in the south.

The swollen toe was treated by the ship’s doctor, who told Mr Blake it was due to a spider bite - and what is more - that the wound contained eggs. 

The doctor performed an incision to drain it, with black dots apparently visible in the pus.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Blake said he told him they were eggs: “Don’t worry, I’ve got them all out,” the doctor reportedly said.

The toe was still swollen on his return to the UK, where it was treated by the NHS, who prescribed him six weeks of antibiotics.

In the inpatient letter, his symptoms were attributed to a “spider bite in Marseille (Peruvian wolf spider)”.

Precisely how or why the wolf spider was identified as Peruvian is unknown.

During a second incision, a “spiky object,” was removed by an NHS podiatrist. 

“I asked him what are the spikes, and he told me that they would eventually become the legs,” Mr Blake told CNN.

He is set to make a full recovery.

An ‘impossible story’

Mr Blake’s alarming tale has been reported in the BBC, CNN, Sky News and The Independent, among others.

However, experts have dismissed the claim.

“No spider on this earth can lay eggs in a person’s toe,” said veterinary entomologist Prof. Nancy Hinkle on CNN.

French spider expert from the Paca region and member of the Association Française d'Arachnologie, Anne Bounias-Delacour, agreed.

“It’s a completely impossible story,” she told The Connexion.

“Wolf spider eggs are in little silk sacks that the mothers carry on their abdomens until their young are mature. They can’t inject them into animals with a bite! Nor can any spiders.”

“The only reason that wolf spiders bite a human is to defend themselves,” she said. “It would not have approached him to bite.”

Wolf spiders are not poisonous, however their bites can cause discomfort, itchiness or infection in some cases.

“It’s possible that this was an infected bite, but he certainly did not see spider eggs in the pus. That could have been anything,” said Ms Bounias-Delacour.

“There is actually a type of mite that lays eggs under the skin, however no cases of this have been recorded in France. It’s more common in Indonesia.”

Read more:

‘Violin’ spider said to have killed man in Italy: What risk in France? 

French woman bitten after accidentally knocking spider into her ear 

Black widow seen in southwest France for first time in two centuries

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Healthcare in France*
Featured Help Guide
- Understand the French healthcare system, how you access it and how you are reimbursed - Useful if you are new to the French healthcare system or want a more in-depth understanding - Reader question and answer section Aimed at non-French nationals living here, the guide gives an overview of what you are (and are not) covered for. There is also information for second-home owners and regular visitors.
Get news, views and information from France