Croatia is a historical and hedonistic superstar on the European holiday scene. Whether you want an island-hopping sailing holiday or a fun week away on the warmest beach, Croatia ticks many boxes. But, what about the country’s nature? Are there many spiders in Croatia?
The answer is yes. There are lots of spiders in Croatia, including infamous poisonous species like the black widow spider. While Croatia is still very safe to visit, and you probably won’t meet any dangerous spiders during your visit, it is still helpful to know which spiders can be found there before visiting. This way, you can identify spiders in Croatia quickly and calmly.
This guide will introduce you to the top seven spiders to look out for in Croatia. It is important to mention that allergic reactions can be fatal with any spider bite – even if the spider is non-poisonous. So, adopt the better safe than sorry mindset and memorize these spiders just in case.
European Yellow Sac Spider
A European Yellow Sac Spider is a 15mm long arachnid with a characteristic yellow color. Their color ranges from a pale, almost translucent yellow to a deeper, sandy yellow – so the Yellow Sac Spider does vary slightly in coloring from individual to individual.
There are lots of Yellow Sac Spiders in Croatia, and in urban areas, they are mostly found in gardens. This spider eats insects and occasionally nectar, so you can expect to find them amongst flowerbeds and in meadow-like environments.
Unfortunately, this is where humans tend to aggravate the Yellow Sac spider, as females build egg nests in grassy areas. Egg nests strung between grass strands are easily disrupted, which, understandably, irritates the female spider a lot. Be mindful of sunbathing in grassy areas in Croatia.
Luckily, the Yellow Sac Spider is non-poisonous. Its bite is compared to a wasp sting, and while you may experience localized swelling, it won’t be fatal unless you’re allergic.
Pink Crab Spider
If you were expecting this list of spiders in Croatia to be full of terrifying, deadly eight-legged monsters, the Pink Crab Spider might be a disappointment. Cute might be a stretch, but this spider can certainly be very pretty.
The Pink Crab Spider is pastel pink in color, although other crab spiders can be found in yellow and purple as well. Their unique coloring helps them to camouflage in flowers, where they wait and pounce on pollen-eating insects.
Female Crab Spiders are bigger than males. Males range from 2 to 4mm and females from 7 to 10mm. As their small size might suggest, Pink Crab Spiders are not aggressive. In fact, if threatened, they are most likely to curl up and play dead. Even if you get bitten, a bite is not toxic and will either produce a very mild, localized reaction or none at all.
You can spot Crab Spider by its funny, crab-like movement, as the spiders tend to move sideways or backward – not forwards.
A Napoleon Spider is one of the most interestingly patterned spiders in Croatia. The spider has a mark on its back which is likened to Napoleon in his hat!
The Napoleon Spider can have a yellow, white, or red body. When the spider has a red body, it looks remarkably like a Black Widow Spider. You can quickly distinguish it, though, because it has a black mark on a red body rather than a red mark on a black body.
As is common in spiders, female Napoleon Spiders are bigger than males. Females grow up to 9mm, while males grow up to 4mm. The spiders are just the right size for their preferred habitat, which is on vegetation, so that they can catch pollen-feeding insects. You will often see Napoleon Spiders on flower heads in Croatia – often a pretty sight given their distinctive body markings.
Should you get bitten, be reassured that it is not fatal unless you are allergic. Unless you display symptoms of an allergic reaction, you’ll likely experience a slight initial sting and gradual swelling at the bite site.
Common Eastern Ray Spider
The Common Eastern Ray spider is another common spider in Croatia. Don’t worry, though. The Common Easter Ray is another non-toxic arachnid and is very small. Females grow up to 3mm long, and males grow to just 2mm – so the chances are you won’t even spot a Ray Spider.
Their body coloring is distinctive, with mottled light brown and silvery-white patches. While it doesn’t have the same bold colors as other spiders in Croatia, it is still quite a pretty spider to spot. Its coloring is well-suited to camouflaging in the undergrowth, surrounded by lots of brown leaves and bark.
Needless to say, Common Eastern Ray Spiders love areas of damp undergrowth. You’ll likely find them (if you look closely enough) in vegetation around streams or more prominently in gardens during wetter months.
The Common Eastern Ray has a famous web type too, so if you can’t spot the spider, you might spot its web. Keep your eye out for a cone-shaped web!
Black Widow Spider
The Black Widow Spider is so well known that it has become somewhat of a fabled monster. Most people could quickly identify the Black Widow, especially due to its red hourglass shape on its back.
The Black Widow Spider has some violent habits – including the females eating the male partners immediately after breeding. Black Widows live alone when not breeding and have a hostile, aggressive attitude towards other insects.
The Black Widow is a solid, coal-black, apart from its hourglass red marking. The spiders are medium-sized and can grow up to 1.5 inches long, so you won’t have trouble spotting the Black Widow when it is out in the open.
You can find Black Widows in urban or remote areas. They like to be hidden in shrubs or wood, so you could equally find them rurally in a forest or a woodpile in your Airbnb’s garden.
The Black Widow bite is famously toxic and is said to be fifteen times stronger than that of a rattlesnake. If a Black Widow bites you in Croatia, seek medical assistance immediately. You will likely experience cramps, spasms, instant swelling, and severe pain. Even if you don’t see what bit you, Black Widows often leave fang marks which (combined with the extreme symptoms) should give it away.
As their name might suggest, the Cave Spider loves dark, quiet, and often damp places. You are most likely to find them in caves, mines, sewers, and cellars.
Cave Spiders grow up to 15mm in length – quite a respectable size in comparison to other spiders in Croatia. They can be any color on a spectrum of satin black to light or reddish-brown. Typically, their coloring is mottled on their body and a different color on their legs.
Cave Spiders eat mostly small insects like flies. However, they aren’t averse to trying a slug or two. Overall, they aren’t aggressive and will not bite a human unless extremely threatened. Even if they do bite you, it is not fatal unless you are allergic. You’ll likely experience some discomfort at the bite site and localized swelling.
Adult Cave Spiders are repelled by light, so you won’t likely spot one while waving a torch around or in well-lit caves in Croatia. We’d advise you not to worry about Cave Spiders too much, and if you do see one, just watch as it quickly scurries away in peace.
Spotted Wolf Spider
Wolf Spiders have a reputation for being huge, and most of the species are. Except, the Spotted Wolf Spider is more likely an average-sized cousin to these bigger spiders.
A Spotted Wolf Spider grows to a maximum of 8mm, with males only growing to 6mm. The spiders are a light brown color with darker markings and unique patterns. Male Spotted Wolf Spiders are usually darker and can even appear black on their body.
Will you feel a bite from a Spotted Wolf Spider? Yes. But will it kill you? No. If you do get bitten by a Spotted Wolf Spider, you will likely experience intense itching and swelling at the bite site. However, you won’t have a fatal reaction unless you are allergic.
You’ll likely bump into a Spotted Wolf Spider while in Croatia, as they hunt in the daytime and in open spaces. You are most likely to see them in parks, gardens, and fields as they scutter around looking for their next meal – usually some small insect.