Woman who couldn’t sleep due to ‘strange clicking noises’ finds a spider living in her ear

It's the stuff of nightmares.

Woman who couldn’t sleep due to ‘strange clicking noises’ finds a spider living in her ear
An image of the spider living in her ear
The creepy-crawly made itself right at home – in a woman’s ear (Picture: Massachusetts Medical Society)

A 64-year-old woman suffering from insomnia was stunned to discover the cause of her problem was a spider that had made a home for itself in her ear.

The woman, who was not named, was forced to seek medical help in Tainan, Taiwan, after four days of ‘clicking sounds’ in her ear that left her unable to sleep.

To everyone’s horror, when doctors took a closer look, they found a small spider crawling around her ear canal.

But that wasn’t the only thing that the medics found. The spider had moulted and shed its exoskeleton, leaving behind a creepy reminder of its stay.

It’s not only snakes that shed their skin. The only way that spiders can grow is by bursting out of their exoskeleton (which is called moulting) and the process leaves them vulnerable to attack as their creepy little bodies are exposed to the elements.

The spider may have felt it had found a safe place to make some gains, but it also means it was using the woman’s ear canal to do its growing.

Due to how unusual it is to find a creepy-crawly inside someone’s ear, the doctors took a short video of the procedure, which shows a creepy-crawly scuttling around in the poor woman’s ear. Clearly not camera shy, it scampers towards the light.

Finally, doctors carefully removed both the spider and its exoskeleton from the woman’s ear canal and, despite the eight-legged visitor’s unexpected four-day stay, the woman’s eardrum was not damaged by the experience.

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As soon as the insect was removed, the woman reported an ‘immediate sense of relief’.

No one actually swallows eight spiders a year in their sleep

It’s now so ingrained in pop culture that we accidentally ingest spiders while we’re in the land of nod that no one bats an eye about it. But luckily, it’s not true. It’s just an urban legend.

While it’s possible that a spider could crawl into your mouth while you’re sleeping, scientists say it’s unlikely. Humans tend to make a lot of noise when we’re asleep (snoring, breathing loudly, muttering) that spiders avoid us like the plague.

Medical experts from the Tainan Municipal Hospital noted that when a spider or any kind of insect is lodged in an ear canal, the recommendation is to use lidocaine or ethanol to kill it by pouring it into the ear. This is the best way to avoid the insect damaging the person’s ear.

However, they also noted that introducing any liquids into the ear is strictly discouraged if the eardrum has been ruptured, so it should only be done under medical supervision.

Meanwhile, over in Australia, scientists have recently identified the fossil of a giant trapdoor spider. Even in prehistoric times, the country was home to giant spiders.

Researchers unearthed fossils of a ‘rich and abundant’ rainforest from millions of years ago, with thousands of specimens including plants, trapdoor spiders, giant cicadas and wasps.

MORE : Giant spiders have been creeping around Australia for 16 million years

MORE : Dreaming about spiders a lot recently? Here’s why