Enjoying, exploring--and surviving--the flora and fauna on this beautiful planet

"Not for the Faint of Heart"
June 5, 2013

When I was mowing the back yard under some trees on the afternoon of June 5th, I thought I felt something fly into my left ear. I batted at my ear for a second, but I kept mowing until I finished the yard. When I finally came inside, I remembered that a bug *might* have gotten in my ear, so as a precaution I used some ear drops to try to wash it out. I walked around with my head tilted to the right for a while, then tipped my head over to the left. Nothing came out, so I figured I was just being paranoid.

A few hours later I met a friend for dinner and as we were talking, I felt a strange ... "tickling" ... sensation. I scratched inside my ear with my finger and told my friend about my "paranoia" regarding the possible bug. When I didn't feel anything else, we continued with our dinner, then said goodbye and headed to our respective homes.


That night around 1:00 a.m. I was still up. I felt something tickling again, and THIS time when I put my finger up to scratch inside my ear, a spider -- A SPIDER! -- crawled out of my ear, onto my finger and then onto my hand!!

In a flash, I flipped it to the floor and stomped on it!

I always say that I don't think quickly, but I do think deeply, so as I waited for my heartbeat and breathing to slow down a bit, I started processing what had just happened. This is sort of how it went:






"Tickle, tickle."

"Eight tickly little legs..."


"A %$*@+^# SPIDER WAS IN MY EAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"FOR HOURS!!!!!!!!!!!"

Suddenly a new thought rocketed into my head through the jumble of mental cursing and inner screaming, and I wondered if it was some sort of *venomous* spider... Oh crap, what to do? Thinking *somewhat* rationally, I figured I'd better try to identify it....

I scraped it off the bottom of my shoe (ick), put it on a piece of tissue and took it to the kitchen.

So this explains why--in the middle of the night--I was taking pictures of a dead, stomped-on spider on a dime (to show its size) through my dissecting microscope and with the super macro lens of my camera....

From what I could tell, it wasn't any type of "bad" spider (though I would have to say that any freakin' spider that crawls into someone's ear is pretty damned bad...). But wasn't a Black Widow (they're pretty large; I killed one last summer) and it wasn't a Brown Recluse. Those are the main "bad" ones around here and the rest aren't really venomous. I still had no idea what it was--other than dead--but at that moment I decided that a dead spider was, by far, the best type of spider to have.

Sleep didn't come easily once I finally went to bed (yeah, ya think?), and in the morning--just to be safe--I called the doctor's office and scheduled an appointment. When it was time to go, I took the dead spider with me in a small plastic bag and I also printed out one of the pictures I'd taken.

As the nurse was escorting me to the exam room, she cheerfully asked, "Well, what brings you here today?"

"Um, don't you already have that information? Do you really want to know?"

So I told her what was going on.

After she stopped shuddering and making weird faces, I offered to show her the spider and/or the picture of the spider. She said she'd pass because she was already going to have nightmares!

When the doctor came in, he was actually quite impressed with my macro photography skills and agreed that the spider didn't seem to be a venomous one. After a thorough exam of BOTH ears (Paranoid? Trust me, you just never know....), he pronounced my ears free of spiders, spider bites, spider parts, spider webs, spider poop, spider eggs or "Home Sweet Home" signs.

What a totally bizarre experience.... Even for me (ha).

In googling "spider in ear," to try to find out if this is something that's an every day occurrence (and no, apparently it's not...), I learned that a woman in China made international news last year for having a spider in her ear for five days. International news? Seriously?

"My" spider was in my ear for just (hahahaha, she says "just") about 12 hours, so I suppose that's not a record. ☺

Of course the traditional children's song about a spider keeps running through my head, though after this experience I now hear it more like this:

"An itsy bitsy spider crawled in my ear one day;
I tried to flush it out, but I guess it planned to stay.
That night I felt a tickle--OH HORRORS! CAN IT BE?!!
I killed it, then I took some pics for everyone to see!

(Not for the faint of heart....)

Sharon K. Barrett 2013
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