As we have said many times before, readers, this world is full of threats. This is why we recommend you always carry a loaded gun with you everywhere you go—especially when you're out for a run. All it takes is one moment of letting down your guard for disaster to strike.
An Australian man learned this lesson the hard way Tuesday when he ducked into a portable toilet to relieve himself (presumably without a weapon—thanks, strict gun laws!) and was bitten on the penis by a venomous redback spider.
We could go on in more detail about this incident, but really, what more is there to say? A spider bit a guy. On the penis. In a porta potty.
We will offer this bit of trivia, though, from a report on Adelaidenow.com.au:
... Associate Professor Julian White from Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital ... said minor bites were common in Australia.
“Going back 80 years or so when people were still using outhouse toilets it was extremely common, something like up to 80 percent of cases of spider bites were bites on the male genitalia,” he said.
Which is good to know.
As a runner who has used probably hundreds of porta potties in my day, I'd say that being bitten on the penis by a venomous spider was my worst nightmare, except that it's so insane it never occurred to me to have nightmares about it. Until now.
It's too late for the poor bastard in Australia. (He is reportedly in "stable condition" and expected to go home soon.) But not for you. The next time you're at an event and need to use a portable toilet, keep these tips in mind:
Introduce several spider wasps into the potty before you use it. Preferably the species Agenioideus nigricornis. According to Wikipedia, here's what will happen to any redback spiders unlucky enough to be in there:
A female wasp will search ... for a spider, and upon finding one, will sting it, paralyzing the spider. Once the spider is paralyzed, the female wasp makes a burrow or takes the spider to a previously made burrow. She lays a single egg on the abdomen of the spider using her ovipositor, and then enclose the spider in the burrow. The egg will hatch and the larva will feed on the spider, breaking through the integument with its mandibles.
Once you can verify that any spiders in there are indeed paralyzed and being consumed by your wasp's larva, you'll know it's safe to use the porta potty.
Send someone in to do some recon. You've trained hard for this event. Why should you risk it all just to take a leak? Find someone nearby to scout ahead and check the porta potty for venomous spiders before you go in. In fact, try to use an actual Scout. Boy or Girl, doesn't matter. Tell them it counts toward their Insect Study Merit Badge.
Put yourself in the spider's shoes. To defeat the redback spider, one must become the redback spider. Look at the row of porta potties before you and ask yourself, If I were a redback spider, which one would I choose to spin my web? Then don't go into that one.
Choose one porta potty and watch the guys emerging from it. If they appear normal and healthy, it's probably clear. If they shriek as they come crashing through the door, clutching their red, inflamed genitalia and screaming, "That spider just bit my penis!" you'll want to opt for another one.
Just pee in your pants. This may be your best, safest option. Honestly. Did you see that photo up there?