Surprising Facts About What Animals Eat Spiders – How Spiders Survive in the Wild

» Food » Surprising Facts About What Animals Eat Spiders – How Spiders Survive in the Wild

Have you ever wondered what animals prey on spiders? It is fascinating to see what creatures eat spiders in the natural world. From birds to frogs and even lizards, there are a variety of animals that feed on spiders. This article provides a fascinating look at the natural world and what animals eat spiders.

Definition of spiders

Definition Of Spiders

Spiders are arachnids, a class of arthropods that includes scorpions, mites, and ticks. They are eight-legged, carnivorous animals that have been around for more than 300 million years. Spiders have an exoskeleton, which is a hard outer shell that protects them from predators. They use their eight legs to move around and spin webs to trap their prey. Spiders have four sets of eyes and have the ability to sense vibrations in the air. They feed on insects, other spiders, and sometimes even small mammals.

What Animals Eat Spiders?

What Animals Eat Spiders?

Various species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals feed on spiders, either occasionally or as a regular part of their diet. These include some species of owls, snakes, lizards, frogs and toads, shrews, hedgehogs, skunks, opossums, mice, rats, and even some primates. Spider-eating birds such as shrikes and hawks will capture and eat spiders, as will some small, insect-eating birds. Some species of amphibians, such as frogs, toads and salamanders, have also been known to feed on spiders. Reptiles such as snakes, lizards and skinks will feed on spiders as well. Mammals such as shrews, hedgehogs, opossums and some species of monkeys also feed on spiders.


Birds are one of the most common predators of spiders. This is because birds are able to catch spiders with their beaks and consume them. Birds that hunt spiders may include owls, hawks, crows, chickadees, sparrows, and jays. Some birds also eat spiders by catching them in their talons or beaks and then beating them against branches or other hard surfaces in order to kill them.



  • Alligators and crocodiles
  • Turtles
  • Snakes
  • Lizards

Reptiles are known to consume spiders as part of their diet. Alligators and crocodiles are two of the most common predators of spiders. Turtles, snakes, and lizards also feed on spiders when they are available.



  • Beetles
  • Flies
  • Moths
  • Ants
  • Cockroaches
  • Grasshoppers
  • Crickets

Insects such as beetles, flies, moths, ants, cockroaches, grasshoppers, and crickets are known to eat spiders. Spiders are a quick source of nutrition and high in protein. They are also high in fat, which can be beneficial to the diet of many insects. Insects may hunt and feed on spiders, or use them as a source of food during times of scarcity.



  • Bats
  • Foxes
  • Cats
  • Mongooses
  • Hedgehogs
  • Polar Bears
  • Dogs
  • Hippopotamus
  • Coyotes
  • Wolves
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks
  • Opossums

Many mammals take advantage of spiders as a food source, including bats, foxes, cats, mongooses, hedgehogs, polar bears, dogs, hippopotamus, coyotes, wolves, raccoons, skunks, and opossums.

Hunting Strategies

Hunting Strategies
Spiders employ a variety of strategies to capture their prey. These range from waiting in a web for unsuspecting prey, to actively stalking and chasing their prey. Some spiders use a combination of both strategies. Web-building spiders wait in their webs and wait for prey to become entangled and struggle before they move in to capture it. Active hunting spiders can move quickly and, using their eyesight and sensory hairs, can detect their prey and then rush forward to capture it. Spiders also use their webs as a means of luring prey as well as a home to retreat to when threatened.



Spiders build webs for catching their prey. Webs are made out of a sticky substance that spiders produce. This substance is called silk and is made up of proteins. Silk is sticky and very strong, allowing spiders to catch their prey.

Predator Food
Birds Spiders
Frogs Spiders
Lizards Spiders
Mammals Spiders
Insects Spiders

Spiders also use their webs to protect themselves from predators. They can hide in the web and wait for their prey to come into the web. They can also use the web to trap their prey and to protect themselves from predators.

Ambush Predators

Ambush Predators
Ambush predators, such as spiders, use their venom to immobilize their prey. They typically lie in wait for their prey, like a spider in its web, and strike when their prey is unsuspecting. These predators have specialized venom to paralyze their prey, allowing them to feed on it or store it for later. Other ambush predators include snakes, lizards, frogs, and some insects. These predators usually rely on their camouflaged environment, rather than speed, to capture their prey.

Generalist Predators

Generalist Predators

  • Birds – Owls, hawks, herons, crows, etc.
  • Mammals – Foxes, mongooses, cats, dogs, etc.
  • Reptiles – Snakes, lizards, turtles, etc.
  • Insects – Ants, wasps, dragonflies, etc.
  • Amphibians – Frogs, toads, salamanders, etc.

Spiders are a common prey of many generalist predators. These predators are capable of hunting a variety of small animals, including spiders. Depending on the species, generalist predators can feed on both insects and other arachnids, such as scorpions. The most common predators of spiders are birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, and amphibians.

Adaptations of Predators

Adaptations Of Predators

Predator Adaptation
Birds Sharp beaks, talons, and eyesight to locate spiders
Mammals Sharp claws, teeth, and sense of smell to locate spiders
Reptiles Sharp teeth and claws, flexible jaws, and strong sense of smell to locate spiders
Amphibians Tongues to capture spiders, sticky mucous to capture spiders
Fish Sensory organs to detect vibrations, sharp teeth to capture spiders
Insects Strong mandibles, sensory organs to detect vibrations, sticky substances to capture spiders

Birds have adaptations such as sharp beaks and talons, as well as keen eyesight to help them locate spiders. Mammals, such as foxes and cats, have sharp teeth and claws, as well as a strong sense of smell, to help them find spiders. Reptiles have sharp teeth and claws, as well as flexible jaws and a strong sense of smell, to help them find their prey. Amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, have tongues that can be used to catch spiders in addition to mucous that can be used to trap them. Fish have sensory organs that can detect vibrations, as well as sharp teeth to help them capture spiders. Insects have strong mandibles, sensory organs to detect vibrations, and sticky substances that can be used to capture spiders.



  • Birds such as owls, hawks, and falcons
  • Mammals such as raccoons, skunks, and foxes
  • Reptiles such as lizards and snakes
  • Amphibians such as frogs and toads
  • Fish such as bass and catfish
  • Insects such as ants, wasps, and beetles



Animals like some birds, lizards, and frogs eat spiders using their sense of smell. This is known as olfaction, which is the process of detecting odor molecules in the environment. The animal uses its sense of smell to detect the presence of spiders, and then uses its mouthparts to capture and consume the spider. Most of the time, the animals will be able to detect the presence of spiders before they can actually see them. This process helps the animal to be able to find and consume its prey quickly.

In addition to olfaction, some animals also use their sense of hearing to detect the presence of spiders. For example, frogs have ears on the sides of their head that allow them to detect the sound of a spider moving. This helps the frog to identify the location of its prey and allows it to quickly capture and consume the spider.



Animals have developed a sense of smell, known as chemosensory, which helps them detect the presence of spiders and other insects. This has been most studied in the moth and butterfly family, where many species have special receptors on their antennae that can detect the presence of spiders. These receptors are called olfactory sensilla and they can detect the presence of spiders even when they are hidden in the grass or in other small spaces.

Animal Chemosensory
Moth & butterfly Olfactory sensilla
Beetles Chemosensilla
Ants Antennal sensilla
Bees Antennal sensilla

Chemosensory has also been studied in beetles and ants, which have special receptors on their antennae, called chemosensilla, that can detect the presence of spiders. Similarly, bees also have special receptors on their antennae, called antennal sensilla, which help them detect the presence of spiders and other insects.

Mechanical Sense

Mechanical Sense
Spiders use their mechanical sense to detect prey. This sense is based on the perception of physical stimuli such as vibrations, air currents and even magnetic fields. This sense is used to locate prey and to detect changes in the environment. It is also used to find the best place to build a web, and to navigate the web during hunting. Some spiders are even able to detect prey located up to several metres away by using their mechanical sense.

Relationship between Spiders and Predators

Relationship Between Spiders And Predators

Spiders are a common prey for many predators, including birds, lizards, rodents, amphibians, and even some mammals. The type of predator that typically eats spiders depends on the spider’s size and where it lives. Large spiders, like tarantulas, are typically eaten by larger animals, such as snakes and birds of prey. Smaller spiders, like jumping spiders, are more often eaten by lizards and other small animals.

The relationship between spiders and predators is an important one in the animal kingdom. Spiders help to keep populations of other small insects in check, while predators help to keep the spider population in balance.

Predator Spider Prey
Birds of Prey Large Spiders (e.g. Tarantulas)
Lizards Small Spiders (e.g. Jumping Spiders)
Rodents Small Spiders (e.g. Jumping Spiders)
Amphibians Small Spiders (e.g. Jumping Spiders)
Mammals Small Spiders (e.g. Jumping Spiders)

Factors influencing spider predation

Factors Influencing Spider Predation

  • Size of the spider
  • Type of habitat they live in
  • Availability of food
  • Level of competition
  • Predator’s size
  • Spatial distribution of spiders
  • Environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity and light

The size of a spider is an important factor in determining its vulnerability to predation. Spiders that are small in size are more likely to be preyed upon by larger predators, while larger spiders are more likely to survive. The type of habitat in which a spider lives also plays an important role in determining the risk of predation. Spiders living in more open habitats, such as meadows and fields, are more exposed to predators, while those living in denser habitats, such as forests and scrublands, have more protection from predators. The availability of food also affects the risk of predation. Spiders that are able to find more food are less likely to be targeted by predators. The level of competition for food also affects the risk of predation. If there is a high level of competition for food, spiders are more likely to be targeted by predators. The size of the predator is another important factor in determining the risk of predation. Larger predators are more likely to capture and consume larger spiders. The spatial distribution of spiders also affects their risk of predation. Spiders that are more scattered are less likely to be targeted by predators, while those that are clustered together are more likely to be predated upon. Finally, environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity and light can also affect the risk of predation. For example, spiders living in warmer climates are more likely to be predated upon than those living in colder climates.

Availability of food

Availability Of Food

  • Birds, such as chickadees, flycatchers, and shrikes, are known to feed on spiders.
  • Mammals, such as shrews, moles, and bats, also eat spiders.
  • Some reptiles, including lizards, skinks, and geckos, may eat spiders.
  • Carnivorous insects, such as dragonflies, robber flies, and assassin bugs, hunt and eat spiders.
  • Spiders have also been known to eat other spiders, including immature individuals of their own species.

Environmental Factors

Environmental Factors
Spiders are found in most environments and can be preyed upon by a variety of predators, including other arthropods, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles. Environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and availability of food can determine what animals will prey upon spiders. For example, in tropical regions, spiders may be more plentiful and more diverse, leading to a greater number of potential predators. In cooler climates, spiders may not be as abundant, thus leading to fewer potential predators. Additionally, the type of spiders present can also dictate the types of predators present. For instance, some predators may prefer to feed on larger, more easily accessible spiders, while others may be more specialized and more likely to consume smaller spiders.

Weather Conditions

Weather Conditions

  • Birds, such as jays, bluebirds, and hummingbirds, eat spiders.
  • Frogs, toads, and lizards eat spiders.
  • Mammals, such as shrews, moles, bats, and rats, eat spiders.
  • Insects, such as ants, wasps, and bees, eat spiders.
  • Fishes, such as sticklebacks and sunfish, eat spiders.
  • Amphibians, such as salamanders, eat spiders.
  • Reptiles, such as snakes and turtles, eat spiders.

Spiders are an important part of the food chain and their presence is affected by weather conditions. For example, during periods of drought, spiders may become scarce due to lack of food and water. On the other hand, during wetter periods, spiders may thrive due to increased insect populations and moisture in the air.

Role of spiders in food web

Spiders are an important part of the food web in many ecosystems. They feed on a variety of insects and other arthropods, as well as small animals such as lizards, amphibians, and birds. Spiders also provide food for other predators such as birds, reptiles, and mammals.

Predator Prey
Birds Spiders
Reptiles Spiders
Mammals Spiders

Spiders play an important role in controlling insect populations as they eat a wide variety of small insects. They are also an important food source for many other animals, and their presence is essential for a healthy ecosystem.


  • Spiders are a popular food source for many animals, including birds, lizards, frogs, wasps, and even other spiders.
  • They are a key part of the food chain, providing essential nutrients for larger animals.
  • Different species of animals may show a preference for certain types of spiders depending on the availability of those spiders in their environment.
  • Since spiders are one of the most abundant insect species in the world, there is no shortage of potential predators for spiders.

In conclusion, spiders are eaten by a variety of animals, due to their abundance and nutritional value.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types of Animals Prey on Spiders?

Most spiders are eaten by birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, including small rodents, cats, opossums, and foxes. Larger spiders can also be hunted by insects such as praying mantises, wasps, and even larger spiders. In addition, spiders may be eaten by fish, frogs, and toads.

How do Animals Hunt and Consume Spiders?

Animals hunt spiders using a variety of methods, depending on the species. Birds often snatch spiders from their webs with their beaks, while some mammals use their claws to grab them. Insect-eating bats use echolocation to locate and catch spiders in mid-air. Other predators, such as frogs, lizards, and snakes, stalk their prey and capture spiders with their tongues. Once captured, the spider is typically eaten whole or crushed and swallowed.

What is the significance of spiders in the natural world?

Spiders play an important role in controlling insect populations, helping to maintain a balanced food chain in the environment. They are also important predators of harmful pests, helping to protect crops and other vegetation. Spiders also help to reduce the spread of disease by eliminating pests such as flies. In addition, spiders produce silk, which is used in the manufacture of medical products and clothing.

What can people do to protect spiders from predators?

People can create a spider-friendly environment in their gardens, such as providing sheltered hiding places and refraining from using insecticides. Spiders can also be attracted to gardens by providing them with food sources such as small insects, nectar-rich flowers, and water. People can also avoid disturbing spiders and their webs as much as possible to minimize the risk of predation.

How do spiders defend themselves from predators?

Spiders employ a variety of strategies to defend themselves from predators. These include camouflage, the production of chemical deterrents, and the use of defensive postures and behaviors. Some spiders even have the ability to run away quickly or jump to escape danger. Other spiders may produce silk to entangle or immobilize potential predators. Some also have specialized defensive structures such as spines or bristles.


Spiders are a fascinating part of the natural world and it can be interesting to learn what other animals prey on them. While spiders have evolved to protect themselves from predators, they are still vulnerable to predation, and there are many animals that actively hunt and eat spiders. Knowing what animals eat spiders can help us better understand the intricate relationships between predators and prey in nature.

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