Tarantula Defends Territory Against Owner; Owner Almost Blinded
Fri Jan 1, 2010 10:53am EST
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Here's some advice stemming from the unusual case of a man who had spider hairs stuck in his cornea: Be sure to cover your eyes when hanging around with your pet tarantula.
Ophthalmologists at St. James's University Hospital in Leeds, England, used high magnification lenses to find out what made the man's eye red, watery and light-sensitive, according to a study reported in the British medical journal The Lancet on Thursday.
They discovered hair-like projections stuck in the man's cornea.
It was a light bulb moment for the patient, who remembered that three weeks earlier he had been cleaning a stubborn stain on the glass tank of his pet, a Chilean Rose tarantula.
"He sensed movement in the terrarium. He turned his head and found that the tarantula, which was in close proximity, had released 'a mist of hairs' which hit his eyes and face," the doctors wrote.
They said the man's condition was rare.
The authors noted that the Chilean Rose tarantula releases the barbed hair on the back of its body to defend against predators.
"We suggest that tarantula keepers be advised to routinely wear eye protection when handling these animals," the doctors said.
Ok, so he might not have been blinded, but in theory, he could have developed a horrible infection that could have blinded him. I'm listing tarantulas next to porcupines as pets to not own.
Image Credit: David Thorne