A venomous brown recluse spider bite almost blinded a Texas woman and took part of her ear.
Nikki Perez, 21, documented the swelling of her face and the necrosis afflicting her ear over a two week period as the poison took hold, as (gruesome) pictures obtained by the Daily Mail show.
Perez was waiting at the Amarillo airport with her boyfriend Eric and his mom last September, when she felt a sharp sting on the back of her neck.
“Next, I felt something crawling over my face and my eye,” she told the Daily Mail. “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.”
Her boyfriend’s mom, a nurse, identified the all-telling mark on the brown recluse instantly: a violin-shaped mark on its back.
Doctors couldn’t do much for Perez until she showed signs of necrosis, or dying skin cells. She took pictures of herself as her head began to swell — so much so that her left eye swelled shut.
“I was going blind … it was terrifying,” she said. “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.”
When her ear started to literally rot off, she visited a spider expert and spent five days in the hospital, ABC News reported. Doctors surgically removed the dead tissue around her ear and injected her with steroids as her head started to shrink back to its normal size.
Perez made it out of the hospital with little more than a skin graft on her ear.
Other people bitten by the creature — usually the elderly and children — haven’t been so lucky. The spider’s poison can be lethal.
Worse, the recluse is reportedly spreading throughout North America as the planet warms. But the spiders are called “recluse” for a reason. The creepy arachnids rarely come out, and even when they do bite, they usually don’t emit venom.