A man was left out of work with his leg swollen ‘like a balloon’ after a ‘horrific’ bite from ‘Britain’s most dangerous spider’.
Shane Parmenter, from Chelmsford, Essex, says a bite from a noble false widow left him unable to work and struggling with his mental health.
The 36-year-old, who raps as MC Napz, says the spider struck after he tried to squash it in his recording studio.
He said: ‘My mate was laughing his head off. He said “it’s gonna come back and do ya” and I was like “yeah, alright”.
‘We ended up both falling asleep in the studio, and I felt something in the night bite me. It felt like a bee sting.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Shane Parmenter, from Chelmsford, Essex, says a bite from a noble false widow left him unable to work and struggling with his mental health
The spider possesses a fast-acting neurotoxic venom with a very similar composition to true black widows
‘When I woke up in the morning, I felt another big sting, and then a false widow ran out of my trouser leg.
‘Pretty much straight away it all went red, it was a bit uncomfortable.
‘It got a whole lot worse. My leg swelled up like a balloon. I felt sick, I felt nauseous, I was dizzy, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat.’
Following advice from the NHS 111 helpline, Shane drew around the bite with a pen so he would see if it was swelling – but his injury quickly outgrew the markings.
He said: ‘It went from a little mark on my leg, to massive – it just kept getting bigger and bigger, more swollen and swollen. You could see that it was getting infected.’
At Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital, medics cleaned and dressed the wound, and gave him a course of antibiotics.
But the musician would have to re-dress the wound time and time again as it continued to ooze through the bandages.
He said: ‘I had about four or five of them put on, and literally within 24 hours of it going on, it was filling up – I’d take them off and it’d burst.
The noble false widow (Steatoda nobilis) is an invasive species of spider known for causing painful symptoms when it bites unlucky humans
Following advice from the NHS 111 helpline, Shane drew around the bite with a pen so he would see if it was swelling – but his injury quickly outgrew the markings
Mr Parmenter (pictured) said: ‘I felt something in the night bite me. It felt like a bee sting’
How to spot a noble false widow spider
Noble false widows are the largest of the three false widow species likely to be found near homes.
The front section of their body is dark brown, as are the legs.
The abdomen (the large, oval-shaped rear part of the body) can be variable, with patterns of cream and dark brown marks (sometimes described as skull-shaped) though often with very few markings at all.
Source: Wildlife Trusts
‘The worse it got was: one night, I was sat on the toilet and I felt it just go ‘pop’ and I felt it seeping through the pad – it was dripping down my leg.
‘I took the pad off and it was just literally horrific: blood and big lumps of pus oozing out of my leg. It was so painful.’
The bite has also unleashed a wave of mental health anguish for Shane, and impacted on his work with his record label, D&B Politics.
‘It was really hard to cope with,’ he said.
‘Not being able to go to work and not being able to do my side-job, or even sit at my laptop and do my promotions and release some music.
‘I’ve got my own studio so I like to get really creative in the studio, but I couldn’t think straight. ‘It’s made me a bit shook of spiders.
‘I wasn’t scared of spiders before but I definitely damn well am now.’
Noble false widows are not native to the UK, but are thought to have arrived from the Canary Islands in banana boxes in the late 1800s.
The species gained a strong population in the majority of Britain’s southern counties, and they are now spreading northwards.
It can be found all year round regardless of climate both indoors and outdoors – from roadside plants and ivy growing on walls to telegraph poles, fence posts and buildings.
At Sittingbourne Memorial Hospital, medics cleaned and dressed the wound, and gave him a course of antibiotics. But the musician would have to re-dress the wound time and time again as it continued to ooze through the bandages
File photo of a noble false widow (Steatoda nobilis). The species is ‘widely regarded as the most dangerous spider breeding in Britain,’ according to a 2020 paper by Clive Hambler, an Oxford University zoologist
The noble false widow is ‘widely regarded as the most dangerous spider breeding in Britain,’ according to a 2020 paper by Clive Hambler, an Oxford University zoologist.
However they’re unlikely to attack unless provoked or trapped between clothes and skin.
Now Mr Parmenter is speaking out to warn others to leave them be.
He said: ‘They’re the sort of spider that if you just leave them alone, they will not even bother you.
‘My advice to other people would be: if you find a false widow in your house, leave it.’
THE NOBLE FALSE WIDOW SPIDER
Pictured: a noble false widow spider
Species name: Steatoda nobilis
Origin: the Canary Islands & Madeira
Range: Europe, Africa, Americas
Colour: Brown body, red/orange legs
Notable feature: Bulbous abdomen
Size (female): 0.37–0.55″ (9.5–14 mm)
Size (male): 0.28–0.43″ (7–11 mm)
Habitat: Indoors and outside
Lifespan: Average of five years
Venom: Latrodectus-like toxins
(Not to be confused with the black widow spider, on whose similarity the false widow was given its common name.)