How poisonous can a hunter spider be

Green spider discovered: which one is it? Is it poisonous?

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Green spiders that are native to Germany are rather rare. Strictly speaking, there are only three types that come into question. Often they can be well camouflaged and spotted on leaves and grasses at the green edge of the forest.

Green hoof spider (Micrommata virescens)

Usually the family of this little green spider lives in the tropics, the giant crab spiders (Sparassidae). Only this one representative is represented in all of Central Europe. In Germany it is the only free-living spider of its kind, apart from the banana spider (Heteropoda ventoria), which is rarely found in greenhouses. In 2004, the bright green spider was even voted Spider of the Year by the Arachnological Society (AraGes) to draw attention to the threat to existing habitats.

The green house spider loves the warming rays of the sun. It is often found in sparse deciduous forests, on forest edges with a well-grown layer of grass and herbs, wet meadows, but also on dry meadows with bush-like vegetation. Due to its excellent coloration, it adapts perfectly to its environment there. You have to look twice to discover it between leaves and blades of grass. Among the green spiders living in Germany, the green hush spider is still the largest.


  • Body size females: 12 to 15 mm
  • Body size males: 7 to 10 mm
  • Round, plump abdomen
  • female abdomen light green with a yellowish green skewer mark
  • male abdomen elongated, green with bright red vertical stripes bordered in yellow
  • in males, sides of the abdomen are bright red
  • Legs green
  • female foreleg with short hairs
  • Eyes arranged in two rows
  • upper row of eyes slightly curved back
  • back row of eyes slightly curved forward

The young spiders are initially green after hatching, but before wintering they turn slightly greenish to yellow-brown with reddish dots. There may also be stripes in places. The characteristic features of the green house spider only come to light after the last moult, the so-called maturity moult in the following spring. The spider can live to be 18 months.

Skilled hunter

The green color not only offers the spider protection from predators such as birds or lizards, but it is also a perfect camouflage on its own forays. This species of spider does not catch its prey in the web, but its representatives are skilled hunters. They can jump very quickly and scurry back and forth between the branches of the bushes.

The spiders are diurnal and need sunlight to hunt. When searching for prey, they invariably orientate themselves with their eyes. In a flash, the victim is followed, grabbed and overwhelmed over short distances. The deadly poison bite then occurs within seconds. These claws (chelicerae) are located on the left and right front of the head. They are filled with poison and digestive juices.

Like many spiders, the green house spider can only digest its prey outside of its body. This is done by killing or paralyzing the victim. The poison kills or paralyzes and the digestive juices liquefy the prey internally. So the green spider can then quietly suck out its prey.

Note: Usually, this native spider is hard to confuse. Only the great lynx spider (Peucetia viridaris) looks very similar to it. However, this is only found in the coastal regions of North America, Mexico and the West Indies. It is not toxic to humans.

Green crab spider (Diaea dorsata)

It is also known as the green-brown crab spider. It only lives in plains, deciduous forests, on the edge of the forest on trees and bushes. She belongs to the ambulance hunters.


  • Body size females: 5 to 6 mm
  • Body size males: 3 to 4 mm
  • Front body and legs predominantly light green in color
  • Basic color of the abdomen yellowish to whitish, slightly hairy
  • leaf-like, brownish pattern on the abdomen
  • yellowish-white markings present in the pattern
  • sparse hair on the legs
  • Hair serves as a tactile organ for orientation
  • eight eyes in two rows on the forehead
  • Eyes outlined in white

Pumpkin Spider (Araniella curcurbitina)

This wheel spider is represented all over Europe. It prefers to live in clearings, on the edges of forests, gardens and parks, camouflaged in their own woven webs. This is located horizontally to diagonally on free-standing trees. Here they are barely visible.


  • Body size female: 8 mm
  • Body size males: 5 mm
  • Forelegs intensely yellow-brownish in color
  • Abdomen spherical
  • The basic color of the abdomen is bright green with yellow marbling
  • furthermore two rows with four black dots each on the abdomen
  • small, brownish head
  • slightly hairy, green, short and strong legs
  • Spinnerets on the abdomen

Are they poisonous?

The poisonous claws of the spiders contain light poisons. The prey animals have to pay for the catch with their lives. In any case, the injected poison is fatal for them. However, it can be said with confidence that for humans and pets such as dogs and cats a bite from the green hoof spider, the green crab spider or pumpkin spider is neither poisonous nor does it cause any other serious health impairments in healthy people.

The dosage of the poison is far too small for a person to cause serious harm. The venomous claws of these spiders are strong, but they are not able to penetrate the human skin because it is too thick. It would only be possible on thin areas of skin such as the crook of the elbows or in children, where the skin is still correspondingly tender. However, panic does not have to break out, even if poison was injected with the bite.

The green spiders are neither aggressive nor aggressive. A bite can only occur if there is carelessness or if the eight-legged friends feel threatened and cornered or are afraid. Females can become particularly aggressive if they guard the egg cocoon or the young spider and humans come too close to them.

Slightly painful bite

The bite can be compared to a bee or wasp sting. Sometimes a wound cannot really be seen with the naked eye. On closer inspection, there are two tiny puncture points in the skin, which can burn a bit. Other characteristics of a spider bite can be

  • slight local pain
  • swelling
  • Redness of the bite wound and
  • itching

In such a case, no medical treatment is necessary. Usually an ice pack or a damp cloth is enough to cool the area. Alternatively, a mosquito pen can also be used. This should not be missing in any medicine cabinet. The pen is equipped with two warm metal plates at its tip. These are simply pressed onto the wound. The skin tissue is heated somewhat and the harmful protein is destroyed and disinfected.

As a rule, the pain and swelling should subside after a maximum of 30 minutes after treatment. Under no circumstances should the bite wound be scratched. Otherwise harmful bacteria can quickly penetrate and lead to an infection. Then medical treatment is essential.

Caution for allergy sufferers

For allergy sufferers, a bite can, in the worst case, result in anaphylactic shock. This can turn out badly for the person concerned, even be fatal, if countermeasures are not taken immediately. The first signs can be

  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Speeding up heartbeat
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Swelling of the larynx
  • Closure of the airways

If no help is given, respiratory failure, complete circulatory collapse and ultimately death can result.