I was watching a piece on TV yesterday about a False Widow spider. It had bitten a guy 10 times in the neck as it apparently got caught in his hoodie – so you see children it’s not about police challenging you because wearing them is anti-social it is simply a preventative measure to stop you getting injured by spider venom.
Apparently so the piece informed me, there are over 100 species of this version of arachnid alone and whilst the bite from some of the genus is apparently painful for about 20 minutes they hardly conform to what you would expect to be seen on the world’s most deadly creature list – and so they’re not.
This got me thinking of how lucky we are here in Britain regarding the number of dangerous creatures we have present in our own little eco-system. I started to think just how dangerous this Sceptered Isle is. I mean I know there’s the Adder – the only poisonous snake native to Britain (Excluding Ireland thanks to St Patrick…cheers buddy, you could have just got on the Stranraer ferry and does us a favour too); but as they live mainly in moorland/ motorway verges and are very rare indeed you would have to be very unlucky to be bitten by one. Apparently statistically speaking you are more likely to be killed by a wasp.
So further intrigued I looked up some reported figures (albeit ones from 2009) and found that actually thousands of us Brits suffered attacks in our own backyard (figuratively speaking not necessarily literarily) from a wide variety of animals. Dogs accounted for most injuries with 3,508 people suffering bites but the figures also included 451 people stung by wasps/hornets, 46 bitten by venomous snakes and lizards, 24 bitten by rats, 15 injured in contact with a marine mammal, two attacked by alligators (Note to London Zoo…must train the reptile handlers better) and finally, one bitten by a centipede.
Now fast forward to that time when those ‘victims’ are talking to their grandchildren about their ‘war wounds’….“these puncture marks are the result of granddad being bitten by a poisonous snake” or “this scar is the result of being chewed by an alligator”. Or indeed maybe even “the redness is a result of being stung by a swarm of killer wasps”.
Now those types of incidents are one thing to portray, but what made me smile the most was trying to imagine just how difficult an explanation he has to contend with and how foolish the poor guy must feel who’s only claim to fame is that he got mugged by a centipede !
So maybe instead, like the False Widow, he should just pretend to be someone else.