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Spider Spins Web in Man's Ear (Cue the Nightmares)

A man in eastern China recently visited a hospital with complaints of "a crawling sensation" in his right ear. Upon examination, the doctor found a spider that had really made itself at home.

The tiny arachnid had spun a web that covered the patient's entire ear canal.

Dr. Zhang Pan of the Affiliated Hospital of Yangzhou University treated the man, inserting an endoscope into his ear and capturing footage of the eight-legged intruder, which was shared online by Newsflare on May 8. [27 Oddest Medical Cases]

The video shows a tube descending deep into the man's ear, revealing a small spider squatting very comfortably near the tympanic membrane, or eardrum. Wispy, pale filaments of its web are visible nearby — though it did not appear to have caught anything yet.

Zhang told The Sun that the spider was so small he couldn't see it until he inserted the endoscope. He first tried to snatch the spider from the ear canal with a pair of tweezers, but it escaped him; Zhang then successfully flushed the spider out with a squirt of saline, The Sun reported.

Cases of spiders and insects taking up residence inside people's ears are rare — though, perhaps not rare enough. A boy from Connecticut who complained of a buzzing in his ear was recently found to have a tick latched to his eardrum. In Florida last year, a woman awoke from a sound sleep to discover a cockroach had invaded her ear.

And in 2017, a man in China who suffered from severe ear pain found that it had a very unlikely source: a live gecko — albeit a very, very small one — that was curled up in his ear canal.

Because the patient with the spider in his ear sought treatment so quickly, there was no damage to his eardrum, Zhang told The Sun. However, the fate of the spider after its removal remains unknown, The Sun reported.

Originally published on Live Science.

Mindy Weisberger
Mindy Weisberger is a senior writer for Live Science covering general science topics, especially those relating to brains, bodies, and behaviors in humans and other animals — living and extinct. Mindy studied filmmaking at Columbia University; her videos about dinosaurs, biodiversity, human origins, evolution, and astrophysics appear in the American Museum of Natural History, on YouTube, and in museums and science centers worldwide. Follow Mindy on Twitter.