The funnel web, white-back, and white-tail spiders in Australia are listed among the most deadly in the world, but the mysterious arachnid that bit Don Forrester in England is being listed as an unknown, though the encounter could have easily resulted in Forrester’s death according to doctors. And no one has been able to identify the rare creature, though Forrester says there may be more.
Forrester has had experience with poisonous encounters with mysterious creatures in the past, having survived a redback spider attack as well as the sting from the box jellyfish (which kills more people annually in Australia than snakes). But with this newest bite, he’s likely getting tired of venomous encounters with the horrors of the outback coming home to his back yard – or his friend’s.
The event happened as he was helping a friend of his with a home improvement project. As they were laying decking out in the yard in Camden, Forrester suddenly felt something sharp stabbing his hand. Since pain in the hands is not unusual while working with decking, Forrester thought it may have been a simple splinter. But as the pain seared through his hand he chanced a look into the yard and saw at least two large hairy spiders with yellow striped backs scuttling away.
The final piece of the puzzle would come into place as he was sitting over a pint with friends. Only after the swelling would be able to identify the effects from a poisonous sting, and only after he started shaking and exhibiting signs of a fever would he finally go to a doctor.
The Golden Orb Spider shares the golden stripes along the back with the spider described by Forrester, and is not native to the UK. The spider Forrester described could have come into the country on an imported wood shipment or any number of ways. Currently Forrester is working to identify the mysterious creature in order to give doctors an idea of what to look for should the outbreak grow into a larger problem.
With the massive amount of imports and exports being shipped all over the world from all sources, it seems inevitable that some insects will come through the shipments as well and after surviving the journey will prove quite hungry. The main problem would be if a deadly species of spider were to thrive and reproduce in a populated environment or destabilize the local food chain. Fortunately, even if there were to be a massive outbreak it would be contained largely by the coming winter when tropical insects would find it impossible to survive in the harsh cold weather. There may be a threat, however, of a period where the spiders would find themselves drawn to warmer temperatures such as peoples’ houses and shoes. In any event, if this mysterious creature is not identified there may be a problem with future encounters between us and them.
It should be noted, however, that though all spiders are to a degree poisonous, they are not very poisonous unless a person is allergic to them. And though they may be creepy, spiders largely do more to help us in the form of controlling flies and mosquitoes than they do to harm us.