Spiders living in your ears? It's more likely than you think... OK, it's not very likely but it CAN happen. Just ask the unfortunate Chinese woman who had a Jumping Spider take up residence in her left ear for three days.
When the young woman from the south-central Chinese city of Changsha woke up one morning with an itchy ear, she put it off to being “just one of those things”. When her ear continued to itch throughout that day and the next as well, she figured it was time to get a professional opinion.
So off she went to the hospital, where she told the doctor on duty about the constant itchiness in her ear. Doc takes a look and lets out a shriek that rattled the windows... well, not really, but only because he's a trained professional. You or I would have inserted the magnifying-viewer-with-tiny-spotlight thingy doctors use in such situations and would find ourselves eye to eyes with a greatly magnified Jumping Spider. Cue shriek, rattled windows etc.
After having determined the cause of the woman's un-scratchable itch, the doctor hesitated to apply the medical version of needle-nose pliers to the spider's warm & cozy lair, explaining that “attempting to take the living spider out with equipment would only cause it to drill its barbs deeper.” Geez doc, really? “Barbs”??
Hopefully he didn't state that assumption to the freaked-out patient who was still dealing with the fact a freakin' spider had been in her ear for three freakin' days after crawling in while she was asleep. Forty winks, eight legs, three days... sounds like a horror movie tag line.
There's a thing about spiders, however, that even doctors with a questionable knowledge of Jumping Spider anatomy and behavior are well aware of: they're air-breathing critters just like you and I. Spidey's choice of a dead-ended ear canal for his (or her) burrow made the solution a simple one... actually, a saline one.
A few drops of the all-purpose salty liquid turned the woman's ear canal into an erstwhile irrigation canal – and having a limited ability to hold its breath, the spider decided to look for drier accommodations elsewhere. We'll assume its first choice wasn't the woman's right ear. (via Rednet, images via leosaumurejr and Archie McPhee)
*** UPDATED on December 30th, 2018 ***