Spiders in Portugal: 7 Spider Species Found in Portugal

spiders in Portugal

If you’re traveling in Europe, then you’ll be glad to hear that there aren’t too many dangerous animals that will cause you harm. However, there are some dangerous animals in Portugal to look out for. In particular, be wary of spiders in Portugal. While bites are rare, there are a few venomous spiders that could give you more than a nasty itch.

Portugal is one of Europe’s most beautiful countries. Don’t let your vacation be ruined by a spider. Learn how to recognize the most common spiders so that you can avoid them. Spiders don’t want to harm you. Stay out of their way and you’ll be absolutely fine. It’s just a case of being cautious and respectful.

Portugal is home to more than 800 species of spiders but only two can lead to a medical condition. Below, discover seven of the most common spiders in Portugal so that you know whether they’re a threat or whether you’re safe.

Wasp Spider

Wasp spiders in Portugal
Credit: Krzysztof Niewolny, Unsplash

By far one of the most distinctive and amazing spiders that you’ll find in Portugal is the wasp spider. It’s named this because its bright yellow and black markings make it look not dissimilar to a wasp. These colors can be concerning, however, since bright colors in nature often mean that a creature is dangerous. This is a phenomenon known as aposematism.

However, like many spiders in Portugal, the wasp spider is unlikely to cause you any harm. In fact, this is a spider that can’t even sting you, making them significantly less of a threat than a wasp. It seems that the bright coloring is designed to fool potential predators, rather than a sign of anything more dangerous.

Nevertheless, be sure not to disturb the wasp spider. Since they can’t harm you, you should treat them with the same respect. An important part of a biodiverse ecosystem, wasp spiders should be left alone.

Banded Garden Spider

Banded garden spiders in Portugal
Credit: Ivan Ivanovič, Unsplash

Garden spiders are among the most commonly found creatures across Europe. If you see one, then there’s no need to worry. They’re a common sight and won’t cause any harm to humans. These are actually native to the Americas but have been transported to Europe where they’re able to thrive in the mild conditions.

As the name implies, garden spiders love to live outside where they can be among nature. They’re often found in urban areas but generally, they’ll be hiding in the bushes where they can keep cool. If you see one, don’t freak out. They’re poisonous and can bite but the venom is only powerful enough to kill its natural prey.

It’s unlikely to cause any harm to humans, beyond a slightly annoying itch that lasts for a couple of days. If you want to avoid this fate, then simply leave the banded garden spider in peace. They don’t want to attack you so don’t give them a reason to.

European Nursery Web Spider

European Nursery Web Spiders in Portugal
Credit: Pierre Bamin, Unsplash

The nursery web spider is a very common spider that you’re likely to come across in Portugal. They like to hide in grassland, which is why you might spot them if you’re lucky enough to have a garden. These are nothing to worry about so just give them space and enjoy them from a distance.

They’re easily spotted by their brown and black stripes that run down their back. If you see a spider with this pattern and its body is about 1.5cm long, then you’ve probably come across a nursery web spider. Their venom is surprisingly powerful and able to kill a small fish. However, it’s not powerful to cause any serious harm to your or your pets (unless your pet is a small fish).

Generally speaking, these are harmless creatures. Their existence is important to the environment as well so make sure you don’t kill them. If anything, protect the grassland so that they have a safe space to live and thrive.

Labyrinth Spider

Labyrinth spiders in Portugal
Credit: Bankim Desai, Unsplash

Perhaps one of the coolest spiders in Portugal is the labyrinth spider. Like the banded garden spider, they like to live in the grass where they can feed off crickets and grasshoppers. In order to do this, they have venom. However, this venom is harmless to humans so this is another spider that you shouldn’t worry about.

The labyrinth spider has an awesome and distinctive gray, brown, and black pattern along its back, making it easy to identify. It builds a complex lair out of its web where it’s able to shelter and trap its prey. It’s a really joyous thing to watch from a distance if you get the opportunity to.

The labyrinth is an amazing and vitally important spider in Portugal that poses no threat to humans. Be sure to protect their habitat so that they can continue to thrive as a species.

Gorse Orb-Weaver

Gorse-Orb Weaver
Credit: Markus Blüthner, Unsplash

The gorse-orb weaver is among the cutest and commonest spiders found in Portugal. They can grow up to 2cm, which is bigger than a lot of European spiders. As a result, you may be intimidated by them but there’s really no need to be. Gorse-orb weavers are medically harmless.

Gorse-orb weavers are a spider that can bite, so they’re worth avoiding if possible. If you do happen to get bitten, then don’t panic. Unless you’re aware of having an allergy to bites and stings, then you’ll be absolutely fine. A gorse-orb weaver bite is comparable to a wasp sting and should leave within a day or two.

Besides, the gorse-orb weaver is unlikely to bite a human. It knows you’re too big to consider prey and won’t be seriously harmed by a bite so it won’t waste its energy. Bites only occur if this spider believes its life to be in danger.

European Sheetweb

European Sheetweb
Credit: Michal Czyz, Unsplash

Another creature that’s among the most common spiders in Portugal is the European sheetweb. The sheetweb is most commonly found in New Zealand but has recently migrated to Europe and evolved into a whole new species. Like the New Zealand variety, though, they’re completely harmless to humans.

Their venom only exists to kill very small insects. Unless you happen to be a very small insect, there’s nothing to worry about. They’re easily identifiable by a tuning fork shape dark stripe running down their back. They build their webs between 30cm and 2 meters from the ground, which is another way to identify this amazing spider.

If you do spot one, then don’t worry and just leave them be. Try not to disturb their webs. They expend a lot of energy building them and require them to catch food.

Noble False Widow

Noble False Widow
Credit: James Wainscoat, Unsplash

One of the world’s most dangerous spiders is the black widow. If you come across one, then you’re right to be wary. Their bite can kill. Some spiders know this so they’ve evolved to look like a black widow as a trick to keep predators away. One of these spiders is called the noble false widow which is, in fact, rather harmless.

Its dark black body can be scary, which is entirely the point. They build their webs around 1.5 meters off the ground to hunt for flying insects. They kill these insects with venom but this is nothing for you to worry about. The venom has low potency and certainly won’t be medically dangerous to humans.

If you’re not an expert in identifying species of spider, then always be careful. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a black widow in Portugal. It’s more likely to be a noble false widow. Just in case, though, it’s worth leaving these spiders well alone.

Are there venomous spiders in Portugal?

Portugal is home to over 800 species of spider but the vast majority of these will cause you no harm. Of these, just two species are dangerously venomous. These are capable of causing serious harm but usually, your body deals with the bite and you can recover quickly.

What is the biggest spider in Portugal?

During your trip to Portugal, you’ll only come across small spiders. The largest species you’ll come across is the wolf spider, which has a relatively impressive body size of 4 cm, plus some pretty long legs to go with it. This may not be as big as some spiders in other countries but it’s among the largest spiders in Europe.

What is the most common spider in Portugal?

There are many common spiders in Portugal that you might come across during your time there. The one you’re mostly to spot, though, is probably the gorse-orb spider. They are just about everywhere and – luckily for you – they’re completely harmless to humans.

How common are spiders in Portugal?

In the colder months, it’s very common to come across spiders in Portugal. After all, there are 800 native species in the country. During the summer, however, spiders hide from the heat and you’re less likely to spot any.

Reece Toth

Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

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