What is nature's scariest wild animal

Horror on eight legs: the scariest spiders in the world

Wildlife
  • From the world of wonders
  • Knowledge
  • 18.06.2020

They wait in dark vaulted cellars, sneak into the house or crawl over the bedspread at night: spiders. The majority react with disgust just to see these crawlers. The fear of spiders is mostly unfounded, because only a few species are really dangerous - but often quite scary.

© iStock / gaurav_gadani

They are not everyone's favorite animal. No matter whether they crawl across the floor with eight skinny legs or sit motionless over the light switch when entering a dark room: spiders scare most people. There is an irrational aversion to these little animals in our society. And that can extend to pathological arachnophobia. The predators with the jaw claws are important insect killers. In other regions of the world - especially where the most dangerous of their kind are more common - they are tolerated, eaten or even worshiped as a god. After all, of the around 40,000 species worldwide, only about a dozen are considered to be really threatening. There are a few more creepy specimens, however, as our gallery proves ...

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Roller spider

This roller spider looks damn dangerous, but that is deceptive. Although the bite of one of the 900 different species can be very painful, it is not poisonous. This is because the relatively large spider, up to ten centimeters in length, relies on pure power for attack and defense. Their bite tools are therefore among the largest in the animal kingdom in relation to the rest of their bodies. Their size allows the roller spider to feed on even smaller mammals; Usually, however, mainly insects, spiders and scorpions are on their menu. With a speed of around 15 kilometers per hour, the roller spiders are among the fastest spiders ever. They live mainly in very dry areas such as deserts and steppes and are therefore mostly found on the American continent as well as in Asia and Africa. But there are also some species that have spread in the Mediterranean area.

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Sydney funnel web spider

The Sydney funnel-web spider is one of the three most venomous species of spider in the world. Her home is Australia; there especially the state of New South Wales. It prefers damp, cool habitats and likes to build its funnel-shaped nets, which gave it its name, in the ground, under rocks or in rotted tree stumps. It feeds mainly on beetles, cockroaches and snails. A reptile park in Sydney recently called on Australians to catch the animals. The reason: the supply of antidote is scarce. In order to gain this, the spiders must first be milked, but this is only possible in captivity.

The funnel-web spider has a very dangerous poison for humans and primates, while certain mammals such as dogs and cats are immune to it. The neurotoxin reaches the bloodstream fairly quickly: death can occur as early as 15 minutes after the bite, but at the latest after three to six days. There has been an antidote since 1981, which is used in 30 to 40 annual bite cases in Australia. No more deaths have been reported since then. Before 1981, 13 people died from funnel-web spider bites each year.

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Giant crab spider

You can recognize giant crab spiders at first glance by their leg position. As with a crab, these look slightly turned forward. They live in tropical and subtropical areas and most of the subspecies are quite large. Some specimens reach leg spans of 25 to 30 centimeters. A giant crab spider bite causes swelling and pain in humans, but it is not life-threatening. The symptoms usually subside within a day.

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Goliath tarantula

The Goliath tarantula or giant tarantula is native to the tropical rainforest of South America, where it lives mainly in the northern part of Brazil and Venezuela. There she digs caves in the damp forest floor. With its twelve centimeters height and 30 centimeters leg span, it is considered the largest tarantula in the world. Native South American people also eat them. If there is danger lurking, the extremely hairy spider sheds its stinging hairs. A behavior that is known as "bombing" - therefore it belongs to the group of bombarding spiders. As a hunter in the twilight, it preyes on insects, small mammals such as mice and young birds. Its poison is not dangerous to humans, but it causes severe pain.

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Brazilian wandering spider

The Brazilian wandering spider is also known as the banana spider because it occasionally makes its way to western countries with a load of bananas. Not only is it one of the most venomous spiders in the world, it is also one of the most aggressive. In the greater Sao Paolo and Paraná areas there are several 100 cases of bite every year. Death can occur within 12 to 17 hours of the bite. The wandering spiders are notorious for their threatening behavior, in which they stretch the front part of their body towards the sky, point their front legs at their enemy like two pistols, and move from side to side. Hence the name “Armadeira”, which is common in Brazil, means “armed spider” in German.

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Poecilotheria metallica

The Indian tarantula Poecilotheria metallica catches the eye with its blue color. It is a rather scared and nimble spider that immediately threatens if it feels harassed. However, it only bites in extreme need. The venom of the conspicuous eight-legged animal is stronger than that of most other tarantulas.

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Diverse tarantula

The variegated tarantula lives in the mountain forests of Martinique and Guadeloupe. With each molt it changes its color slightly. She can jump up to 30 centimeters. They are supported by the long hair on their legs, which they use like a sail. The variegated tarantula is not particularly aggressive and prefers to flee. However, if she sees herself in danger, she has various options for defense. If the enemy is still a bit at a distance, she shoots him up to 30 centimeters wide with feces and strips her stinging hair from the abdomen. These are provided with small barbs that get stuck in the opponent's airways and make them feel uncomfortable. If you have no other choice, this spider will bite you too. However, their venom is no more harmful to humans than a bee sting.

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Black widow

© iStock / JasonOndreicka

The species of the black widow is also one of the most dangerous spiders in the world, is not particularly aggressive, but has an extremely strong poison. It is particularly widespread in western Europe, but there is also a subspecies of the so-called "real widows" in southern Europe. The widow species not only differ in their area of ​​distribution, their markings on the abdomen are also different. The western black widow, which is widespread from Canada via the western states to Mexico, has a drawing in the form of a red hourglass on the abdomen (picture). Swelling, muscle cramps, and sweating are common after a bite. However, deaths are rarely the result.

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Red-backed spider

© iStock / Houshmand Rabbani

The red-backed spider, which was originally only widespread in Australia and also came to Southeast Asia and New Zealand through international trade, belongs to the genus of "real widows". It feeds mainly on insects; Lizards also go into the net. Like the black jokes, it is not particularly aggressive, but can still be life-threatening for humans. The poison - especially that of the females - can lead to death by paralyzing the respiratory center. In Australia, most of the antidotes are administered annually to the red-backed spider bites. It is estimated that up to 10,000 bites are reported there annually.

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American brown spider

The American brown spider or recluse spider (Loxosceles reclusa) is a house spider that is widespread in the southern United States. She especially likes to hang around in garages, basements, and other dark, cool places. Their venom can cause severe tissue damage. The recluse spider is considered shy and only uses its weapons when it feels threatened. Similar to the widow species, their bite is hardly noticed at first. However, the poison spreads over the next 12 to 36 hours and leads to necrosis, a visible damage to the tissue. But a bite is not immediately life-threatening.

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Water spider

As the name suggests, the water spider is the only species of spider that does not live on land, but underwater. It is common in inland waters from the British Isles in the west to Japan in the east. She prefers clear lakes or slowly flowing water. To breathe, she collects the air she needs to breathe under a tightly woven web near the shore, briefly stretching her abdomen out of the water and submerging backwards again. A poison bite from this spider can also be dangerous for humans. However, there are no proven fatalities from a water spider bite. However, the mild to moderately severe, stabbing pain should be observed by a doctor - similar to bee stings.

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Nurse Dornfinger

The nurse's thorn finger, in need of warmth, belongs to the thorn finger spiders, a family of weaving spiders and is widespread in southern Europe and southern central Europe. Besides the water spider, it is the only Central European spider whose bite can have noticeable consequences for humans. Their jaws are able to penetrate human skin. After a bite, the pain spreads in the body and lasts for several hours. More severe illnesses with chills, dizziness, vomiting, mild fever or circulatory failure are rare. However, there are no deaths. Necrosis can also be ruled out in the case of poisonous bites.

Within the family of wolf spiders, the tarantula is one of the most poisonous spiders. In our latitudes it lives mostly in parts of southern Europe, especially in the dry regions of Italy, France and Spain. The tarantula feeds on insects, amphibians and young mice. Your bite is not fatal, but it can cause severe pain. The symptoms range from headache and muscle pain to tumors and anxiety. If you are unconscious, a poison bite can be dangerous. South American field workers who walk barefoot in the fields are particularly plagued by the bites.

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Wildlife
  • From the world of wonders
  • Knowledge
  • 18.06.2020

They wait in dark vaulted cellars, sneak into the house or crawl over the bedspread at night: spiders. The majority reacts with disgust just at the sight of these crawlers. The fear of spiders is mostly unfounded, because only a few species are really dangerous - but often quite scary.