Even if many people are terrified of spiders, most species in Germany are completely harmless. If a spider feels threatened, it will primarily flee. Only if you don’t give the spider any other way out will it attack. But which spiders are actually poisonous in our country and what first-aid measures can you take in the event of a spider bite?

Danger from a spider bite

If the spider’s mandibles have dug into the skin, they secrete a liquid that is more or less poisonous depending on the species of animal. A spider bite on the skin is usually not visible to the naked eye. With a magnifying glass, however, you can see two tiny puncture points. In the case of the spider species native to Germany, a spider bite only causes mild symptoms that are similar to a wasp or mosquito bite and are therefore often confused with them. A danger usually only exists for allergy sufferers. If bacteria get into the wound, it can eventually lead to infection. Really life-threatening for humans is only the poison of a few spider species.

The most dangerous spider species in Germany

There are only four species of spiders in Germany that are considered poisonous. However, their bite is usually not really life-threatening for humans.

1. Dornfinger (Sheiracanthium)

The most relevant poisonous spider in Germany for humans is the thorn finger spider, also known as the thorn finger. However, this species of spider is very rare. In addition, the animals are nocturnal and therefore hardly leave their living space during the day. The female animals between July and August are considered aggressive. During this time, the eggs mature, which the female then defends with great determination.


  • Conspicuous red-orange front body, yellowish abdomen
  • Size: up to 5 cm (including the legs)
  • Body size: up to 15 mm
  • strongly pronounced jaw claws (green-yellow to yellow-brown)


  • Bite painful like a wasp sting
  • burning pain at the site of the bite
  • Pain spreads to the entire limb
  • Tenderness of the lymph nodes
  • Skin marks visible (two marks 3-5 mm apart)
  • Bite site sometimes turns blue-red
  • more rarely: dizziness, chills, fever, vomiting and circulatory problems
  • no known permanent damage or fatalities

2. Garden Spider (Araneus)

Garden spiders get their name from the characteristic cross on their abdomen. The garden cross spider is one of the most common representatives of the genus. Garden spiders are also poisonous spiders, because they kill their prey with a bite from their poisonous claws. However, when biting humans, these spiders can penetrate only very thin patches of skin. Although all garden spider species are poisonous, the poison is not life-threatening for humans.


  • easily recognizable by the spots assembled into a cross
  • Color: variable, well adapted to the environment
  • Body length: females up to 18 mm, males up to 10 mm
  • short, less pronounced poisonous claws


  • Claws can only penetrate the skin in thin places
  • itching (like mosquito or wasp bites)
  • the itching usually stops after an hour

3. Shop Spider (Tegenaria)

The bite of angle spiders such as the wall angle spider, the large house angle spider or the house angle spider, which probably everyone has encountered in the apartment or in the basement, is painful, but the poison has no lasting effect. Angle spiders are nocturnal and usually very fast.


  • light brown to reddish brown and dark brown
  • finely hairy, long legs
  • Leg span: up to 10 cm
  • Body length: up to 12 mm


  • often painful
  • only local symptoms
  • itchy or reddened area of ​​skin

4. Common wallpaper spider (Atypus)

Of the wallpaper spiders, only one species, the common wallpaper spider (Atypus affinis), occurs in Germany. However, very few of us have ever seen this spider. It lives preferably on rocky slopes or in heathland in an underground living tube.


  • solid black or brown
  • Body length: females 10-15 mm, males 7-9 mm


  • only local
  • itching, swelling
  • occasional bluing at the bite site
  • rare: fever

Dangerous spider species

In addition to the native species, more and more species from southern countries are settling here due to climate change. Others, however, are brought in by the brisk trade. This also includes poisonous spiders, the bite of which can be life-threatening for humans.

Black widow (Latrodectus)

Originally native to the Mediterranean region, the European black widow (Latrodectus tredecimguttatus) is also becoming more common here. Although a spider bite from this spider species is not as dangerous as that of the dreaded southern black widow, an attack can, on rare occasions, be fatal.


  • 13 brightly bordered red spots on abdomen
  • arranged in three longitudinal rows
  • Spot color: the main form is red, but there are also yellow and purple colored species
  • rare are completely black forms
  • Leg span: up to 4 cm
  • Body length: up to 1 cm (often spherical)


  • local swelling and redness at the bite site
  • after about ½ to 1 hour: severe muscle pain (also in the chest)
  • Spasms, involuntary jerks
  • cramping abdominal pain
  • a headache
  • high blood pressure
  • muscle pain and muscle cramps
  • without treatment, symptoms can last for days

First Aid Measures

In the case of a spider bite, the first priority is to treat the local symptoms and avoid infection. Be sure to see a doctor if you’ve been bitten by a spider, whether you’re allergic or not. And don’t scratch or pinch the wound. Suitable first aid measures are:

1. mosquito pen

A mosquito pen has a metal plate at the tip that is heated when used and pressed onto the bite wound. In this way, the tissue is heated just enough to destroy the toxic proteins and make them harmless to us. This method works with spider venoms as well as with the venom of bees, horseflies or wasps.

2. Cold

If the bite burns and itches, or if the skin is already swollen, an ice pack or cooling pad can relieve pain and soothe the skin. The cold also has a decongestant and anti-inflammatory effect.

Tip: If you are quick, catch the spider in a jar or take a picture and show it to the treating doctor.

3. Other treatment options

Most spider bites are only treated symptomatically by the doctor. The symptoms usually subside after 30 hours at the latest. For this purpose, the following ointments and medicines can be used:

  • analgesic Steroidsalben
  • Aspirin
  • relaxants
Tip: Make sure you take adequate tetanus prophylaxis. The pathogen can also be transmitted by a spider bite.

Danger for allergy sufferers

A spider bite from a species of spider found in Germany can be really dangerous, especially for people with allergies. A bite can eventually cause an allergic shock in them. If you know that you are allergic to insect bites, you should always have an emergency kit to hand and see a doctor as soon as possible if you are bitten.


  • itching, burning
  • redness or swelling on the skin
  • Pain such as stomach ache or headache
  • circulatory problems, dizziness and tachycardia
  • fever or chills
  • shortness of breath
  • dark skin tones
  • extreme swelling of the bitten limb
  • can in the worst case lead to death

Although all spiders are generally poisonous, only a few spider species are actually able to penetrate the skin with their claws. When bitten, spiders native to Germany usually only cause symptoms similar to a wasp sting. However, a spider bite can be really dangerous for allergy sufferers. Fast action is required here.

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