1165 København K
Tlf: 35 32 28 98 (mon-thurs)
Our reporter talked to two experts, asking them to reveal their favourite, fascinating life forms in this city. They came up with three: A bat and two types of spider
You can meet them outside, or even inside, your own home.
Until now, you probably thought that Copenhagen is a safe capital with only boring or harmless animals, such as the pesky pigeons with missing feet and the neighbor’s black cat. But, the capital actually conceals a few species that are much more interesting.
Hans Baagøe and Nikolaj Scharff, two experts from the Natural History Museum, were asked by the University Post to chip in with their favourite weird, and more importantly local, creatures.
The particoloured bat was accidentally discovered by two citizens in 1920. The two men wanted to investigate what was behind a mystery zip-zip sound that occured every night during the autumn.
One night they heard the zip-zip sound in front of the Skt. Petri church in the city center, and started to shoot in the air. A bat fell from the sky and the mystery was solved.
The parti-coloured bat lives in high buildings in the autumn and the winter, but in the spring and the summer it moves to the open landscape where it can forage on insects. The Danish ‘batman’, associated professor Hans Baagøe, points out that you should not be worried: ”It will not forage on blood. But it does have a scary, alien-like zip-zip sound.”
The spitting spider is a typical spider in your home. It hunts by night, when helpless insects are at sleep. It sneaks up on its prey, and then spits out a toxic substance that kills them.
There is no need to clean the corners after it. It makes no cobwebs.
The Danish ‘spiderman’, associated professor Nikolaj Scharff, finds spiders particularly bizarre, and has a hard time deciding which species are the coolest.
”Most of them have eight eyes and of course eight legs”, he says. Another strange fact is that mating often leads to death for the male. First, the male will box the semen into the female, and then, he will run for his life.”
He has another species that he wants to promote as candidate for a ‘bizarre life form’
The rabbit hutch spider can also be found in houses. It is similar in shape to the black widow spider, but is not toxic to humans. And the males are romantic – they attract females by playing a sound generated by vibrating their abdomen.
Think if all boys did that – old-school gentlemen style, in a very odd and strange way…
Vive la vie bizarre!
Do you know of any other species that you find particularly interesting? Write to us in the comment field below, (or even take a picture of it!) and we will try and get the run-down on them from the experts!
Like us on Facebook for features, guides and tips on upcoming events. Follow us on Twitter for links to other Copenhagen academia news stories. Sign up for the University Post weekly newsletter here.