Update from September 6th: Conservationists from the Nabu Nature Conservation Union want to find out more about the spread of the Nosferatu spider and have set up a reporting portal for this purpose. From the reports received, a map is created there on which the previous sightings are entered as red dots.

It is noticeable that most of the red dots run roughly along the Rhine. From Lörrach in the very south-west of Germany, sightings extend across Freiburg, Baden-Baden, Mannheim towards Frankfurt, Bonn and Cologne. “It’s hotter on the Rhine and milder in winter than in the rest of Germany, so the Nosferatu can spread well here,” said a spokeswoman for the “Berliner Morgenpost.” assumes that it spreads on land transport routes – i.e. with cars coming from the south and with the train.”

Original message: A woman from Ludwigshafen described the animal that she saw at home a few weeks ago as “absolute horror”. The so-called Nosferatu spider, which is considered poisonous, sat right above her front door, reports the “SWR”. And the spider was not left alone. “Almost every other day there was a copy in the house,” explained the man of the affected person.

What happened to the couple from Rhineland-Palatinate is currently not uncommon. As the Naturschutzbund (Nabu) Rheinhessen-Nahe FOCUS said online, there are currently numerous reports of the Nosferatu spider. For weeks, possible sightings have reached the Nabu every day.

As Sönke Hofmann, Managing Director of the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (Nabu) told FOCUS online, the animal could be “much more widespread than assumed”. Is this dangerous? We clarify the most important questions.

Other local media also report the appearance of the Nosferatu spider, which is called Zoropsis spinimana in Latin. There have also recently been sightings in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland, Hesse and even Berlin. According to experts, it is not surprising that the animal, which is originally native to the western Mediterranean region, now seems to feel at home here as well.

Basically, as a result of global warming, more heat-loving spider species would settle further north, said Udo Steinhäuser from the German Nature Conservation Union. The Nosferatu spider has already spread from the south to Berlin.

“It was and is probably brought in from southern Europe by goods transport on or along the Rhine and perhaps also in the luggage of travelers,” writes the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe. The species was able to establish itself along the Rhine and its tributaries due to the climatic conditions that prevail here and are favorable for them.

“With climate change, the spider will first spread in urban areas and at some point also colonize the open land,” said Nabu Germany Managing Director Sönke Hofmann FOCUS online. “Be it because the temperatures are rising so much or there is an adapted mutation.”

The spider could “pretty certainly reproduce,” he continues, “though probably only in houses.” Nevertheless, the animals could then also spread out through open windows – “they don’t die of hypothermia at the current temperatures”.

The animal is one of the most common European curl-hunting spiders and therefore reaches a body length of about one to two centimeters, the leg span can be up to five centimeters.

Incidentally, its name “Nosferatu” cannot be attributed to the fact that the spider, like its namesake from the vampire film released in 1922, sucks blood. Instead, the drawing on the animal’s back is intended to resemble its face.

Curl-hunting spiders like the Nosferatu spider represent a specialty in the world of spiders, according to the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe. “They use the special organs Cribellum (spinning disc) and Calamistrum (comb) to create curling threads, but they no longer build nets. Rather, they catch their prey by pursuing it and overpowering it while jumping.” Their venom, robust build, and skill in hunting means they can handle fairly large prey. “It also sometimes overwhelms house spiders, which are larger, at least in terms of leg span.”

And it can attack humans too. “Zoropsis spinimana is one of the few native spider species that can penetrate our skin when they bite and thus use their poison,” writes the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe. A bite that only occurs when the animal feels threatened is not completely harmless. The pain that occurs is usually weaker than a wasp sting. On the other hand, skin reddening or swelling around the bite site can last for a few days. “Therefore, direct contact with an adult Nosferatu spider is discouraged.”

“Keep calm”, advises the nature conservation association (Nabu) Rheinhessen-Nahe, “panic is not necessary”. The spider does not actively attack humans. Instead, she will always try to escape. “It’s only when she’s squeezed or cornered that she’ll try to bite. If something big approaches, she will flee.”

The experts therefore recommend in the event of an encounter: “Simply proceed in the same way as with our well-known spiders – put glass over it, slide cardboard under it and release the spider in the garden again.”

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