With all the pests roaming around and the multitudes of species they breed, humans don't have the power to control them completely. This is when Mother Nature takes charge. A great representation is the spider, one of the ordinary sustenance of many animals living in the ground, up in the air, and below the water.
What eats spiders? What are the creatures that prey on spiders? Several animals consider wolf spider, jumping spider, brown recluse spider, black widow spider, hobo spider, yellow sac spider, and cobweb spider as their next meal. Here's a list of predators that indulge themselves with a variety of spider species.
Learn More: How to Kill Spiders?
It's not surprising that birds are widely considered a spider predator. In the US, some of the most common birds like robins and wrens routinely eat spiders. However, small birds that prey on spiders also have to be extra cautious as they can get caught in the spider's sticky webs, although it's interesting to note that spiders rarely eat birds they capture.
Two of the most common lizard kinds in the United States, the geckos and chameleons, are known to hunt spiders and small insects. One study revealed that lizards are so greedy that they can eradicate the entire spider population in controlled environments for their arthropod prey. The same study examined the probable outcomes when lizards are joined in with the orb spiders, an invasive, non-native species. Within five years, the scientists discovered that spiders were eradicated in environments where the lizards were present.
The tarantula hawk, surprisingly a wasp and not a bird, is known to hound down tarantulas in their burrows. The wasp rips into the spider web to draw attention, then when the tarantula appears, it paralyzes the spider with a sting and pulls the tarantula to its own burrow to feed its young.
The mighty scorpion is an arachnid that will naturally kill and eat anything it can overpower. They're rarely picky eaters and, without hesitation, will chomp on spiders if they're around when the scorpion is out hunting.
Most centipedes roam during the night searching for prey, typically soft-bodied insects, worms, and spiders. The centipedes utilize their legs to hit the spider and then use their front legs to hold and devour the spider. Almost all centipedes have venom, which they inject by their legs. The claws on their legs can’t enter human skin, but they can quickly puncture a spider. A centipede can actually hold three or four victims altogether.
The centipede has its system of cleansing itself after eating a spider or other prey. They possess a small groove type part near their mouth. It contains small hair which is used for cleaning. They use this groove to clean their legs and antennae by passing them through the groove. It's very meticulous about this process and cleans one part at a time. If interrupted, it continues the grooming process from where it left off.
Several monkeys like to eat spiders. Monkeys are primarily omnivorous animals, and they typically look for the meat of plant-based food. However, spiders can also be a meat source for these animals. For smaller monkeys, spiders are a prime meat source. The meat in the spider is considered white meat, identical to the meat of a chicken and frog. The legs contain little meat, but the body and the head can be notable protein sources for monkeys. The acid in a monkey’s stomach gets rid of any venom for the most venomous spider.
There’s a species of spider, particularly the fishing spider, that hunts small fish and tadpoles. Though for smaller spiders, they can often fall prey to fish. This mostly occurs when the spider tumbles into the water with fish, which are apt to attack the spider and feed on it. The spiders can’t propel their body in water, but they can float. The most common types of fish that eat spiders are archers, trout, and mosquitofish.
Toads aren’t fussy when it comes to their food sources. They’re most keen to grab anything they can fit in their mouth, from the tiny mosquito and spider to the bigger worm and snail. Spiders and toads often intersect in typical habitats. Toads are ambush predators that hide and wait for prey to come close before they use their tongue to snatch up the prey.
This amphibian relies on the movement of prey to detect it. They have very tiny upper jaw teeth, but these aren’t enough for them to chew their prey, so they swallow them. The use of the teeth is to take down prey until they can eat it completely. They have very acidic gastrointestinal juices that can help them digest prey. This is also why toads prefer to eat invertebrates, as they’re easier to swallow and digest.
Wasps are solitary creatures by nature. They tend to live alone and be self-reliant. They aren't aggressive and don't establish any colonies. They can be threatening, but only if their young or burrow is frightened. The spider wasp got its name because of its practice of hunting and eating spiders. Spider wasps hunt spiders so they could provide food for their young. The offspring's survival depends solely on the food carried to the burrow by their parents. The need to bring food for their offspring has made the female spider wasp and male spider wasp develop into efficient hunters of spiders. Spider wasps are easily identified by their moderate size, orange wings, and bands on the abdomen.
Their primary spider preference is the huntsman spider, which is considered more nutritious than other smaller spiders. Spider wasps chase for spiders in soil, barks, or cracks. They have a severe sting, which might not be dangerous to humans, but can be lethal for spiders. They’ll keep stinging the spider until the spider is paralyzed, then they haul the victim to their burrow. Spider wasps often live near areas that have a high population of spiders.
Some spiders do eat their kind. This is an advantage to humans since it's usually the non-threatening species of spiders that eat venomous spiders. The Portia, a genus of jumping spider, hunts other spiders by walking on the spiders' webs and acting like a small insect. Most other spiders will probably eat another smaller spider without hesitation if it crosses their path, especially active hunting spiders that can camouflage themselves and pounce on grasshoppers, crickets, and silverfish. Bigger species like the huntsman spider can feed on lizards, frogs, and ant species like the pharaoh ant and fire ants. Ant-eating spiders are referred to as calymmochilus dispar.
There’s a myth that female black widow spiders kill and eat their mates after intercourse. There's a truth to it, but it happens very rarely. Scientists are yet to solidify a conclusive reason as to why this happens.
For non-reproductive cannibalism, it's often the case of aggression that leads to killing or eating other spiders. This can be the case for common house spiders like cellar spiders, garden spiders, and crab spiders that share the same household with other spiders. When there's no mosquito or roach in sight, they kill their kind. This is why the population of spiders in your home occasionally shifts from numerous smaller individuals to fewer, larger ones. The long-legged cellar spider, for example, is known to kill black widow spiders, so you could say that it’s a helpful pest control ally.
While some animals are excellent spider predators, relying on them won't fully solve your problem, especially if you’re dealing with a large spider infestation. If you're eager to exterminate the eight-legged invaders away from your home or building, Positive Pest Management has safe and effective pest control services and solutions that aim to exceed customer's expectations. Feel free to call Positive Pest Management today and get a free estimate.