The Brown Recluse spider is one of the most deadly spiders in North America. If you don’t believe it, look at what happened to Texas Christian University student Nikki Perez, who was bitten by the Loxosceles reclusa last September.
Perez nearly went blind from the bite and her ear started to rot.
The Daily Mail reports that Perez was bitten by a brown recluse spider while waiting for a plane at the Amarillo Airport in Texas with her boyfriend Eric. Perez said:
“I felt a nasty pinch when I touched my neck… Next, I felt something crawling over my face and over my eye. I yelled for Eric to help me, and when he saw the spider crawling over my face, he swatted it to the floor, and stamped on it.”
Janet Kempf, an arachnologist with the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, said:
“A bite from a brown recluse can be deadly… They also cause a wide range of debilitating symptoms from vomiting to rashes and in some cases, a lesion that can become necrotic, or rotten, and has to be removed.”
Perez picked up the dead spider and wrapped it in tissue so that she could show the doctors what bit her. A spider bite expert was on duty at the hospital and immediately identified the spider. Unfortunately, Perez was told that there was little that they could do but wait to see if necrosis set in, which it did, about two weeks later.
“My ear basically started to rot’ right on schedule with the doctor’s predictions… Then it started spreading to my other eye. I was going blind…it was terrifying. It was spreading all over my head, which actually felt like a bit of a relief as the pain was so concentrated behind my ear.”
Perez spent five days in the hospital hooked up to an IV. When she was discharged she had to wear a special helmet and eventually needed a skin graft to repair her ear.
The story of Nikki Perez comes just a few days after a report by Kansas University researcher Erin Saupe, who predicts that the brown recluse spider will start migrating north due to global warming. The spider, which is typically found in the Southeast, could soon be found in northern states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.