Did a spider burrow across the stomach of an Australian tourist in Bali?

Between dengue fever and chikungunya, we’ve gotten pretty good at avoiding mozzie bites in Bali. But according to one Australian tourist, there are other creepy crawlies we should be looking out for.

Dylan Thomas claims doctors discovered a tropical spider living inside his body upon returning from his first Balinese holiday. It’s been reported in various media outlets that the spider made its way inside Thomas through an appendix removal scar, and burrowed its way from his belly button all the way up to the middle of his chest, leaving a trail of red, welted skin as it went.

Image via Facebook

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In an interview with local radio station 6PR he said: "It wasn't really a tickling sensation, obviously once the venom started to affect my skin it was a really burning sensation like a searing feeling."

At first, doctors weren't certain what had caused the red mark across Thomas' abdomen. "Well after running tests and putting things inside my stomach they finally found out it was a tropical spider that's been living inside of me for the last 3 days, managed to get it out luckily," Thomas announced on his Facebook page.

To which we say: urgh. Just... Urgh.

However, io9 are calling B.S. on the viral story. They said:

"I think this is extremely suspect, unusual, and likely not possible," Christopher Buddle, associate professor at McGill University's Department of Natural Resource Sciences, told us in an email. "Simply put: it is not plausible and I can think of no valid reason why a spider might 'crawl beneath skin through a scar'. The claim that it was 'feeding and moving up through the scar tissue' defies logic and defies what we know about the biology of spiders. I am also sceptical because the 'evidence' (the spider itself) is not presented."

It's been a very big week for creepy crawly news. First, a woman found a leech living in her nose in Vietnam. Then a video of a lice infestation took over the Internet. But it looks like the creepy crawlies aren't going to destroy the very foundations of human civilisation just yet. Oh, and you don't have to cancel that trip to Bali either.