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Spider

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Spider

Last updated: June 29, 2022
Verified by: IMP
Image Credit Mircea Costina/Shutterstock.com

Spider Facts

Diet
Omnivore

Spider Physical Characteristics

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Spiders are the eight-legged arachnids that live across almost all of Earth aside from Antarctica. As of 2022, there are nearly 50,000 species of spiders living across nearly every major biome. Spiders range from incredibly tiny – the smallest spider is a fraction the size of a pinhead – to giant spiders that can measure a foot across.

Spider Facts

  • The largest spider in the world is the giant huntsman spider. It measures a foot wide across its legs. Incredibly, this spider was only discovered this century and lives in caves in the country of Laos.
  • The oldest known spider lived to be 43 years old. It was a trapdoor spider in Australia, and didn’t even die from old age. Instead it was killed by a tarantula hawk that laid its eggs in the spider.
  • How’s this for dedication? The black lace-weaver spider has evolved so spiderlings that hatch eat their mother alive. The name for offspring consuming their mothers is named “matriphagy,” and is displayed in several spider species.
  • A spider named the Darwin’s bark spider produces a web that’s 10-fold stronger than kevlar. Its silk is the toughest biological material ever discovered.
  • Are spiders masters of disguise? More than 300 species put their front-legs on the top of their heads to disguise themselves as ants. This behavior helps them both avoid and eat ants.

What Eats Spiders?

Spiders are voracious predators, but what animals eat spiders? With the vast majority of spiders being less than a couple inches in width, the main answer is that animals that also eat smaller insects will eat spiders as well. Animals like frogs, birds, and lizards are top predators of spiders.

In a controlled simulation meant to mimic conditions on an island, researchers tested spider populations with and without lizards. They found that after four days, without lizards 65% of spiders had survived. However, when lizards were introduced only 40% of spiders remained at the end of the study. This is to say, lizards can deplete spider populations very rapidly.

Other animals that eat spiders are fish, snakes, toads, tarantula hawks, scorpions, spider wasps, centipedes, other spiders, bats, and small mammals like shrews.

It is also important to know that despite spiders being part of the diet of snakes, there are some species of spiders that eat snakes.

Types of Spiders

A Banana Spider

Banana Spider

People spin clothing and fishing nets out of these spiders’ silk.

A Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Spider

They typically prey on insects!

A Camel Spider

Camel Spider

Fast, carnivorous arachnid with a painful bite.

A Common House Spider

Common House Spider

House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.

A Crab Spider

Crab Spider

Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings

A False Widow Spider

False Widow Spider

False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders

A Huntsman Spider

Huntsman Spider

Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.

A Joro Spider

Joro Spider

Named after a Japanese spider demon

A Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies

A Peacock Spider

Peacock Spider

They can jump up to 10 centimeters (40 times their body size) and see the full rainbow spectrum of light, including UV.

A Redback Spider

Redback Spider

The redback spiders found in New Caledonia differ from other populations in that they don’t practice sexual cannibalism and don’t bite people as much.

A Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider

Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.

A Woodlouse Spider

Woodlouse Spider

Unlike most spiders, woodlouse spiders don’t build a web.

A Writing Spider

Writing Spider

males pluck webs like strings on a guitar

A Yellow Sac Spider

Yellow Sac Spider

Primarily Carnivorous, but sometimes snacks on nectar.



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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and — of course — pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

Spider FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Do spiders eat snakes?

Yes, studies have shown that about 40 species of spiders will actively hunt snakes. While most species of spiders are simply too small to eat snakes, venomous species like redbacks and widows will often hunt them.

Are spiders or snakes more deadly?

While certain species of both spiders and snakes are venomous, snakes are objectively more deadly to humans. First, about 6.67% of snake species pose a real threat to humans while just .06% of spider species do. That is to say, venomous snakes are far more common than spiders. Second, snakes are estimated to cause between 81,000 and 138,000 deaths per year while estimates of deaths from spiders are likely less than 1,000 annually.

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