How often do tarantulas bite their owners

Why spiders are comfortable with humans

Circle lip. Dark, thick and hairy: the large angle spider causes feelings of disgust in many people. At 16 millimeters, some copies are the size of a cent coin. The legs with a span of up to ten centimeters are not included. Like its somewhat smaller relative, the house spider, the large eight-legged friend feels at home in damp apartments, sheds and cellars. "These species have adapted very well to the house environment," explains Tanja Straka from the Academy for Animal Welfare of the German Animal Welfare Association.

Sometimes people don't even notice the hairy roommates. Because the animals like to retreat to dark corners and are mostly active at night. Their nets consist of a funnel-shaped hiding place over which a ceiling net made of multi-layer catch threads is stretched. However, the angle spider is completely harmless to humans - like almost all domestic spider species.

"Even the large angle spider can hardly penetrate the human skin with its mouthparts," explains the biologist Christoph Muster. And it usually has no interest in biting a person either. To do this, it eats mosquitoes, small flies or woodlice - and can even be useful.

The same applies to the trembling spider, which is just as common in apartments. The filigree eight-legged man is often confused with the harvestman. Unlike the latter, the trembling spider has a two-part body. In addition, the harvester tends to live outside, while the trembling spider is mostly in apartments and basements. With its small torso and long, thin legs, it looks less terrifying than the angle spider.

In return, order-loving people get annoyed about their large-area nets on the ceilings and in corners. "The nets look rather untidy and consist of many criss-cross threads," says Lars Friman from the Naturschutzbund Deutschland (NABU). If you lightly tap the spider sitting in the web, you will also find out where it got its name from: As soon as it feels disturbed, the trembling spider swings violently back and forth.

Around 1000 species of spiders live in Germany. "30 to 40 of them have their main focus of life in houses," says Muster. Originally they lived in stone walls, under tree roots or in quarries. Little by little they have adapted to the human habitat.

If you are not afraid of spiders, you can safely leave the animals where they are. Animal rights activist Tanja Straka believes that anyone who disturbs them should better put them outside. This works best with the tried and tested cup method: you put a glass over the spider, slide a piece of cardboard under the edge of the glass and carry the animal out.

From an ecological point of view, spiders are part of a food web: while they eat smaller insects, they in turn serve as food for birds and bats. From this perspective, too, relocation to the garden would be an option. However, it is doubtful that the spiders see it the same way.