Maja G. was just about to cut the breakfast bread when a Nosferatu spider crawled up the worktop. An absolute shock moment, reports the 54-year-old. Today, two years later, the Hessian woman has come to terms with the animal species that is apparently spreading around her house.

FOCUS online: The Nature Conservation Association of Germany e.V. (NABU) has published a current study according to which the so-called Nosferatu spider is now widespread across the country. Two years ago, the animal with long, hairy legs and the characteristic markings on its back, reminiscent of the figure of Nosferatu, appeared primarily in a few hotspots. For example, here in Hesse, on Bergstrasse, where the newspaper soon reported on the topic.

Maja G.: Yes, I read that and put it somewhere in the back of my mind. We live close to nature and have a large garden, so it can happen that a spider or a beetle crawls through the house. But what happened that morning two years ago was something else…

The local press reported about it at the time. You had an encounter with that same Nosferatu spider in your kitchen.Maja: Right. I just cut bread for breakfast. Suddenly something moved under my hand. Our worktop protrudes a little, the spider came up from below and then actually remained motionless under my hand for a short moment. I dropped the knife and jumped back two steps. The blood rushed to my head and body. What did you do with the spider?Maja: Luckily my husband was working from home that day. Hurry up, I said and asked him to get our insect catcher jar from the drawer in the hallway. One thing was immediately clear to me: we’ve never had a spider like this before.

Because of its considerable size? She is said to have a leg span of up to five centimeters.

Maja: The spider in the kitchen was different than, for example, the fat black cellar spider that we often see here and which is also very large.

What differences did you notice?Maja: This spider had a different walk. She somehow walked slower. Her legs seemed stagnant. But of course we weren’t sure if it was really a Nosferatu spider. There was a call in the press to report relevant observations. So I made a little film that I sent to the local newspaper.So? Hit?Maja: Obviously, yes. As I said, I actually just wanted to be certain. I was surprised that the newspaper then made a little story out of it. The NABU says: no reason to panic. It’s not just the spider’s special gait that’s special. The animal belongs to the family of the so-called curled hunting spiders. This means that “Nosferatu” does not catch the prey with the help of nets, but rather hunts it down. The spider is one of the largest in Germany and one of the few whose bite can penetrate human skin.Maja: That’s what I read too. However, the spider is not said to be dangerous for humans. Their bite is described as being about as painful as a light wasp sting. That’s why I calmed down after the initial shock. My husband released the animal in our garden. Two years later, don’t you sometimes think you might find it there again? Maja: And if so. Since that first encounter, there have been many more Nosferatu encounters. In the garden shed, on the wall of the house, I once had one under the saddle of my bike. I can definitely confirm that the animal has become native to our latitudes.

They sound amazingly cool. For someone with a fear of spiders, it would probably be horrible to live in your house.Maja: I can control that quite well. If a wasp comes in through the window, it’s no big deal. It is said that the Nosferatu spider came to Germany from the Mediterranean region a good 20 years ago. What other choice do we have than to come to terms with the new citizen? When we found this nest last year, I wasn’t exactly relaxed, I have to admit. You’re not talking about a spider’s nest? Maja: About a Nosferatu spider’s nest, yes. I still remember lying on the bed with my daughter in her room under the attic. We talked. Then I saw this thing, up on the rafters, I could only see it vaguely. Nothing will happen, I thought. But then, two days later, the wall in our daughter’s room was covered in little yellow dots. Baby spiders! And not ordinary baby spiders, I’m sure. Apparently the nest burst shortly beforehand. How many small spiders could there have been? Ten?Maja: Much, much more. We didn’t count them. But it definitely wasn’t ten, rather a multiple. Baby spiders grow up at some point.Maja: Exactly. In this case we didn’t follow NABU’s recommendation and instead got the vacuum cleaner. We left it up there too. In fact, in the days that followed, small stragglers kept appearing, which we vacuumed up and then disposed of directly in the trash. In a plastic bag.

Our daughter slept downstairs for a while. This bothered her for a while, but now it’s working again. Maybe also because she noticed that we weren’t the only ones dealing with the topic. Among friends, from neighbors – there are reports of spider sightings everywhere here on Bergstrasse. I’ll put it this way: As long as the animals only appear sporadically, I won’t make a big issue out of it. However, if we find a nest again, next time I wouldn’t wait and would instead call the exterminator. The NABU asks that sightings be documented, preferably with a photo, and reported.

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