Nickelsdorf ‘invaded’ by rare wolf spiders

Residents of Nickelsdorf in Burgenland are afraid to go into their gardens after a plague of wolf spiders - also known as South Russian tarantulas - descended on the small town.

Nickelsdorf 'invaded' by rare wolf spiders
A wolf spider. Photo: Axel Bräunlich/Andreas Buchheim

The hairy arachnids are four centimetres long and jump on their victims – which tend to be mice and insects.

The spiders are native to the area and are not dangerous to humans, although they do have a venomous bite if provoked which can cause swelling and mild pain.

“The town is in turmoil," said Mayor Gerhard Zapfl. He plans to persuade the exotic visitors to leave but says it must be done “gently”, as the spiders are a protected species.

The wolf spider is the largest Central European spider. They migrated to Austria around 1900, but remain rare. By day they tend to hide in burrows.  

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