Did You Know That Spiders Eat Snakes?

Both spiders and snakes can be terrifying, but the snake seems to have an edge, if only for its size. However, spiders routinely get the upper-hand, with snake-eating spiders being present all over the world, with many species that are capable of killing and eating the reptiles.

The extent to which spiders eat snakes was previously unknown to researchers, until Martin Nyffeler from the University of Basel in Switzerland performed a study which included going though every piece of news coverage, scientific literature, information on social media sites and old issues of National Geographic that he could find along with his colleague from the University of Georgia, Whitfield Gibbons. In this search, the two have uncovered 300 cases of spiders killing snakes, with 40 species of spiders and 90 species of snakes taking part in the action.

Some of the snake-eating spider species are what you might expect. Tarantulas are large and venomous enough so that shouldn’t come as a surprise. However, they were not the best at this gruesome activity. Instead, it was a spider family that is known as the Theridiis, one member of which is very familiar to everyone: the black widow. Even more interestingly, most reports of spiders killing and eating snakes did not happen in some jungle in the tropics, but all over North America.

To put things into perspective, and help give you an image of just how effective spiders are at being predators, if you would gather all of them up and weigh them, they would clock in at about 25 million tons, but they are responsible for the killing of 400 to 800 million tons of prey each year.

So let’s get back to snakes. Most of the snakes that were preyed on by the spiders were small, measuring about 10 inches in length. Still, even these small snakes were many times the size of the spiders that were preying on them, which had an average body length of around half an inch.

The hunting process itself is quite fascinating. The spiders will build very tough webs, extending them to the ground, and snakes will get caught up in them. Once the snake is trapped, the spider will bite the snake, paralyzing it, and then it will wrap it in silk and take it somewhere safe to eat it. The spider will liquefy the insides of the snake, just like it would with an insect, and then it will eat it over a span of days and maybe even weeks.

This is why you don’t want any spiders in your home, especially if they are venomous. Contact us today if you spot any black widows, brown recluses, or any other spider species that you would like to get rid of in the home.

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