Sunday, July 24, 2005

paging Sherlock Holmes

May 2007 update: am removing letters from trigger words, in the hope that this will keep Google from misleading people into looking at the lovely photo. If *I* don't know what bit me, this page isn't going to help *you* identify anything either.

[photo of bite]
Who did this?

It happened this morning, in garden and/or on lawn. It started out a mosquito-bite-sized white lump, with a red pinpoint center; now - 15 hours later - it's 4 inches in diameter and fixing to take over the free world.

Not a black w---w - their bites are supposed to cause intense pain, and this doesn't hurt.

Wednesday update - it's less impressive today, but here's how it looked by Tuesday morning, at roughly 8 inches wide -

[photo of bite, 2 days old]

(there's something awkward about flaunting one's bloated corpulence like this...would that it was a shapely leg instead. On the other hand, seeing as how I get to keep it, maybe a little more gratitude is called for. And fortunately it is not the leg of two weeks ago, after weedeating in gravel, which could have passed for an Appaloosa's)

In any case - Anonymous in comments has raised the specter of L---, and Russ wanted an update ASAP (sorry Russ; my excuse is "the venom made me slothful" - sad to say, this was no radioactive sp----.)

I would fear L--- too, but: first, I got it in the backyard, which a) is in town and b) is occupied by a very suburban lawn and ground cover; no self-respecting t--- would visit here. (although it does call forth the memory of one afternoon at the movies after a morning hauling brush, when in Theatre Number Two a t--- made its tactile presence known. I grabbed it between thumb and forefinger, but didn't want to walk out right in the middle of the scene to flush it; later on when I left, I looked, and - the t--- was gone.

Whoever you were, who next made its acquaintance, by engaging in that high-risk behavior "going to a movie" - sorry.
(And if you're the same person who was outdoors in Orinda decades ago, when my cousin's lunch exited the plane after I'd shown her how much fun parabolic-flight-induced weightlessness can be - double sorry.)

Related - respect and appreciate your Western Fence Lizards, whose blood purges t---s of L---.

Returning from digressions -
It also shouldn't be L--- because
  • It was sudden - bite and rash happened in same day
  • No t--- visible.
  • The colors, man. They're not the right ones, or not in the right order, for L---.

Shades of the Firesign Theatre's "Name that Disease" ("you've got...the plague.")

The California Poison Control System's sp---r bites page had a description which matched perfectly:
While most sp---r bites are not dangerous, there is a group of sp---rs that can produce bite wounds that look similar to a br--- rec---e sp---r bite... the running sp---r, jumping sp---r, wolf sp---r, taran---a, sac sp---r, orbweaver sp---r and the northwestern brown sp---r.
...pain or burning at the bite site in the first 10 minutes. The bite from this group is usually described as looking like a "tar--t" or "b---'s----." The center of the wound is usually a bl---r surrounded by a r------d area. A pale or blanched area may surround the discolored r------d area. The bl---r may rupture, leaving an open ulcer.

With the benefit of hindsight and web research:
  • Do not sit down upon the lawn in shorts, early, when it's cool and moist and the lawn denizens are likely to be about, to feel threatened by the imminent descent of mountains of pallid meat.
  • Wash the wound and put antibiotic ointment on it.
  • Contact your doctor and ask if s/he wants you to get oral antibiotics - sp---rs typically don't put a lot of effort into hygiene, so their fangs can inject microbes as well as v---m.

Nobody's proposed a br--- rec---e culprit, but since we're on the topic of venomous sp---rs -

Unfortunately The Union's Search function is, as of Sunday at least, still defective - has it been a whole year yet? - so when I searched for local citizen scientist Bob G.'s discovery of the "plaid re---se"* - yes, EZ-Off Oven Cleaner has eight legs and a f---le on its back, and is considerably more likely to attack - I couldn't find it, else would provide the link.

oh, the marketing...searching Google for brown re---se info, this Google Ad came up:
Rec---e Sp---rs
Great deals on Re---se Sp---rs Shop on eBay and Save!

[Quote from re---se arachnologist Rick Vetter (as recounted by B.G.) along the lines of "Why is it that a carpenter can recognize a br--- re---se from 20 feet away while I have to look at its [private parts]?" will appear here, when the scrap of paper it's written on resurfaces.]
Meanwhile, from Vetter here-

There are no populations of br--- re---se sp---rs living in California. ... The br--- re---se is the Richard Jewell of the sp---r world.
People get all worked up and say, "BUT IF THEY FOUND ONE BROWN RECLUSE IN CALIFORNIA THAT MEANS .." It means they found one, it is smashed, mangled, mutilated, pickled in alcohol, dead, deceased, passed on, no more, ceased to be, bleeding demised, bereft of life, resting in peace, gone to meet its maker, pushing up the daisies, rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisible, etc. and no longer poses a threat to humanity (not that it posed a great threat to begin with). THIS is an ex-sp---r!


Mon. Aug 1: I don't think anyone saw this sp---r either, but it must have been a whopper. Bet they had to repair the roof...


Anonymous said...

Tick! Lyme disease! Not trying to freak you out, but I'd get that sucker checked out right away.

Russ Steele said...


Update please! How are you doing?


Russ Steele said...


Update please! How are you doing?