A naked swim on a picturesque beach in the Northland area on New Zealand’s north island ended painfully for a tourist as he was bitten by a venomous spider on his penis. Hailing from Canada, the 22-year-old discovered he had been stung only after he awoke from a post-swim nap in the dunes. His penis was painful and had a red spider bite mark on it.
Upon arriving at a nearby Hospital for medication, doctors told the tourist that he had been bitten by katipo, one of the country’s venomous spiders. Known to be a close relative of Australia’s deadly Redback spider and the North American black widow, katipos – named after the Maori word for “night stinger” – are found in New Zealand’s sand dunes and bite only in defense.
Dr. Nigel Harrison, who treated the tourist, told a newspaper: “It was a rather nasty, ill-placed bite… He woke to find his penis swollen and painful with a red mark on the shaft suggestive of a bite… He rapidly developed generalized muscle pains, fever, headache, photophobia (light sensitivity) and vomiting”.
Chest pains and other symptoms developed the next morning. But the tourist’s condition improved rapidly after he was treated with anti-venom medicine. It was eventually after 16 days that he was discharged from the hospital, with doctors calling it to be the first known case of katipo bite.