It is as large as a tarantula, poisonous and very hairy: the Nosferatu spider. Prefer to nest in homes. It was recently discovered in Mannheim and Ludwigshafen, but is spreading rapidly in the Palatinate. Katharina Schneeberg of the Department of Zoology at the Palatinate Museum of Natural History in Bad Durkheim has been collecting data on the Palatinate spider since 2021. Reports are piling up.
What is a nosferatu spider?
The animals, whose size can reach eight centimeters, are originally from the Mediterranean region. The lifespan of spiders is one year. The spider got its name from the distinctive pattern on its back, which is said to resemble the face of the vampire Nosferatu.
Why does the spider settle in the Palatinate?
“Given climate change and rising temperatures, it can be assumed that animals will feel more and more at home here,” Schneeberg says. It is normal for animals to move their habitats north as a result of climate change. Tourists who bring animals unnoticed in the car or in their luggage from vacation through the Alps will speed up this trip.
Where are the animals particularly prevalent in the Palatinate?
Schneeberg receives many reports from the Palatinate. Based on this, she can say that the spider lives mainly in the front and south of the Palatinate. “There are a particularly large number of reports from the cities of Ludwigshafen, Neustadt, Speyer and Landau.” In the Western Palatinate, spiders can rarely be observed.
Are animals poisonous?
“Yes, like almost all kinds of spiders,” Schneeberg says. The poison serves animals when catching prey. Unlike most indigenous spider species, the nosferatu spider can pierce human skin in the thinner areas with its jaws. For people with allergies, Schneeberg estimates that a sting can cause allergic reactions similar to those caused by an insect sting. According to current knowledge, animals are not aggressive towards humans. They bite when they don’t have a chance to escape. According to the expert, if you encounter a spider, the most painful way of all is to pick up the animal with a cup and a piece of paper and take it outside.
What is a spider’s prey scheme?
Little is known about the prey pattern of the Nosferatu spider. The animals hunt mainly at night and at dusk and feed mainly on insects.
Do animals have natural enemies?
Like other spiders, the Nosferatu spider is on the list of birds, reptiles, dragonflies and spider wasps. “However, your greatest enemy is man,” says the scientist.
Where do I meet a spider?
Due to its origin, the Mediterranean region, animals like to stay where it is warm, according to the expert’s report – more in winter and autumn in homes than in nature outside. “Because of rising temperatures, I’ve had more reports this year that the spider is also increasingly feeling comfortable outside,” Schneeberg says.
How can you prevent a spider infestation?
One option is to look for the cocoon in the spring where the mother lays her eggs. From this, between 20 and 100 young animals can hatch. “The females put them either outside or inside in a sheltered place,” Schneeberg explains. It is surrounded by sparkling blue silk and is guarded by the female for about 30 days during the day. If such a cocoon appears, the expert advises to carefully push the mother out of the cocoon with a brush, and then remove and freeze. As a result, the eggs don’t develop further, Schneeberg explains.