All people know spiders, and this animal lives globally in almost all continents except Antarctica. So, what do spiders eat? What kind of methods they are using for hunting? This article would help you.
For the information, spiders come in several species, and they use various methods to hunt down their prey. Some depend on their web, while others would use the poison to kill the target before eating.
It is also safe to say that the species determine their favorite foods. Here is an important fact. Regardless of the species, they only eat fresh prey. That means they would refuse dead or rotten foods.
About Spiders and Their Species
Before talking about spiders’ favorite foods, you should learn basic facts about them first. In terms of family, they belong to the same class as mites, scorpions, and ticks. Arachnids, we call them.
Here is a surprising fact. You would find more than 40,000 species of spiders around the world. Some of them have unique body parts! Others also develop cannibalistic behavior!
As for the size, they vary, too. Small spiders indeed hunt smaller prey, but some of them can kill bigger targets. Goliath, the bird eater, is the biggest species. This tarantula is not venomous, but it can kill a bird.
Even though most spiders are not harmful to humans, they would cause problems when threatened. However, despite their fearsome appearance, they can be a nice pet at home.
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Adult Spiders’ Favorite Diets
The real question is regarding the best foods for spiders. Here is a simple guideline. The food would depend on its species or type. For example, spiders who build webs love to eat moths, flies, mosquitoes, and others.
This species relies on its sturdy and sticky web to catch foods. They would spend some time building the web and wait for the prey patiently. This type of spider is calmer than the hunting spiders.
On the other hand, hunting or killer spiders are more voracious and aggressive. They depend on their hunting abilities to catch their prey. Some of them use a camouflage method, while others depend on their venom.
Killer spiders love to eat crickets, beetles, grasshoppers, frogs, and lizards. As mentioned earlier, the biggest spider species can catch and kill a bird! Once again, they only like living prey.
Some species are quite selective when it comes to foods. That means they only eat a certain type of prey. Here is an example. A white-tailed spider will not hunt insects. Instead, they love to eat other spiders!
Baby Spiders’ Diets
Do baby spiders have the same foods as adults? Here is an interesting fact. Babies or offspring would eat their mother! The mom sacrifices herself for the sake of the babies’ future.
Why is that? Aside from giving the best nutrients to the offspring, the mother spider wants to wake up their babies’ hunting instincts. Otherwise, the offspring will not survive without that skill in the future.
This procedure has a famous name, which is matriphagy. Another name is a mother-eating process. This occurs within several hours of birth! Aside from spiders, some other arachnids also apply the same ritual.
Eating Behavior and How They Hunt
The majority of spiders are carnivorous, even though they have a different method to catch their prey. As stated before, some build web and trap flying insects with it, while others hunt down the prey.
However, they cannot eat or swallow their prey in a whole. Instead, they inject them with a certain fluid and suck out the nutrients. This explains why you often see hard remains of the prey on webs.
Even though not all spiders build a web to catch foods, all of them (all species) produce silk. This flexible and sturdy protein fiber has many functions, as well.
For example, some species use it for climbing, wrapping up prey, creating egg sacs, making nests, measuring safety, and much more. As for hunting, they can depend on their sight!
Commonly, spiders would wander in nature alone. They are indeed solitary. However, once they meet other species, they would fight and eat each other. The stronger would win and cannibalize another.
Baby spiders also develop cannibalism a few hours after they hatch. They would eat their mother to develop their hunting instinct and get ample nutrient from it.
Read also : Are Wolf Spiders poisonous?
Their Eating Frequency
Well, there is no standard. Spiders do not have a routine like what humans do. Their eating frequency depends on the availability of food source. Not to mention, they are an opportunistic eater!
That means they would eat their prey, as soon as they come closer to them. Besides, they can survive well when the food source is scarce. This can be done once they eat lots of prey before, though.
There are many species of spiders and they have different methods to catch their prey. Despite the difference in size and hunting capabilities, they have a similar way of living.
Spiders are solitaire, and they can kill each other. So, what do spiders eat? Aside from being cannibalistic, they love to eat either smaller or bigger animals than the size of their body! Isn’t that amazing?