What Eats Spiders?

What Eats Spiders? What Do Spiders Eat?

As cunning weavers expertly organized across arachnid classes tracing back 380 million years, spiders rank among planet Earth’s most successful predatory inventions. 

Today, over 48,000 diverse hunting spider species inhabit every terrestrial biome and freshwater to marine zones around the world thanks to prodigious evolutionary poise. 

Yet spiders also face lethal threats from winged rivals and quick mammals amid fierce competition for shared insect prey resources.

In this article, we will examine spider predators, including battle-hardened ants, parasitic wasps, cunning reptiles, aerial raptors, and tiny shrews that aggressively assault spiders to regulate populations. 

Gaining wisdom around these checks and balances informs conservation policies governing interconnected welfare across Insecta and Mammalia classes coexisting uneasily within challenging seasonal habitats. 

Now, let’s analyze top-tier spider assassins more closely through example species thriving against eight-legged adversaries.

Two Spiders Fighting What Eats Spiders
Two Spiders Fighting What Eats Spiders


Wasps essentially function as winged spiders hunting fellow arthropods, showing remarkable evolutionary convergences in alates and apocrine orders. 

However, confrontations readily erupt between these groups over competition for common larvae and insect nourishment sources. 

Clever Parasitica and Aculeata wasp subfamilies directly attack spider rivals using superior flight mobility and more concentrated neurotoxic venom that rapidly paralyzes spider limbs and fangs.

Specialized wasp species like sleek Tarantula Hawks track sizable wolf spiders and sizeable tarantulas into their guarded underground burrows. 

After surgically stinging nerve clusters along the spider’s cephalothorax hood and abdomen, the victim remains fully alive yet helplessly immobilized as the wasp drags away the prize in triumph. 

Later, the disabled spider awakens as larvae steadily consume non-vital organs internally over weeks in gradual tortured demise. Further ruthless examples of wasp strategies also exist.


Fiercely expansionist in behaviour and coordinated in enormous colonies featuring specialized castes beyond reproductive queens, invasive ants pose grave threats against indigenous hunting spiders across habitats worldwide. 

Larger wood-burrowing Camponotus and leaf-cutting Atta species utilize concentrated formic acid spraying to erode rival arthropod exoskeletons after swarming adversaries by the thousands.

Tiny but vicious Solenopsis fire ants, on the other hand, employ massively disproportionate group ambush attacks in rotation, injecting alkaloid venom through a relentless stinging. 

Once injected by hundreds of ants and overwhelmed, the much larger spiders finally succumb and fall. Then, worker ants use razor-sharp mandibles to dismember still-living enemies into pieces small enough to transport nutrition back to protected subterranean queen chambers. 

Through combined chemical and biological warfare, bellicose ants have successfully displaced numerous native spiders and insects, establishing fierce new population dynamics that have lasted for millions of years and counting.


Surprisingly, several bird groups also opportunistically threaten spiders through predation, including smaller passerine songbirds and mid-sized terrestrial predators that consume protein-rich spiders to fuel high-energy avian metabolisms. 

Larger toucan varieties in Neotropical forest zones even construct intricate nesting cavities lined completely by woven orb spider eggs, silk, carrion, and live juvenile specimens as pragmatic adhesive construction materials. 

Birds of prey leverage superior aerial mobility paired with sharp curved raptor beaks and grasping talons to swiftly lacerate and dismantle sizable hairy tarantulas, venomous Black Widows, and large funnel weavers wherever bird and spider habitats substantially overlap across a region.

Spider Web Waiting For its Prey
Spider Web Waiting For its Prey

Beyond such inventive feats, birds innately threaten spiders through standard predatory techniques countering common spider chemical defences. 

The abilities of numerous avian groups to deter, attack, and consume menacing large arachnid rivals indeed greatly assist all species coexisting near known spider proliferation areas across habitats globally.


Several adaptive reptilian clades also readily threaten spiders as opportunistic predators or egg raiders, negatively impacting spiders’ reproductive success and population dynamics.

Large arboreal lizard species like the Neotropical green iguana may feed substantially on sizable orb weavers and other spider varieties located in the high rainforest canopies of Central and Northern South America based on stomach dissection studies. 

Smaller insectivorous house geckos wield biological advantages, allowing their digestive systems to safely process certain histotoxic venomous spiders like the formidable Brazil wandering spider without self-poisoning through advanced stomach acid regulation and neutralization capabilities.

Aquatic and semi-aquatic turtles frequently consume smaller fishing spiders and water striders found near shallow river banks and pond ecosystems as well. 

And dangerously invasive cane toad species contain toxic secretions from their prominent paratoid glands that serve as a highly effective predator deterrence shield. 

Lastly, several advanced snakes, including cobra varieties and New World pit vipers, actively target larger tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, and similar substantial spider prey, contradicting the standard convention of spiders typically being the subordinate prey compared to snakes in tropical zones. 


Many diminutive yet determined mammalian species also threaten various spiders through acts of egg pilfering, larval predation, and occasional direct attacks on adults. 

Tiny field rodents like mice, tree squirrels, and even bushy-tailed opossums frequently raid underground spider egg clutches buried carefully within shallow forest floor nests or spider nurseries concealed under stones and rotting logs across North American and Eurasian temperate habitats. 

Successfully reaching nourishing egg clutches provides notable seasonal protein boosts for omnivorous mammal fauna of many types.

And multiple shrew varieties as small as the Etruscan pygmy shrew have adapted to intentionally hunt formidable warm regions, tarantulas, and substantial cold weather wolf spiders seemingly many times the shrews’ minute body mass. 

These tiny insectivores manage to overcome spider adversaries by utilizing lightning-fast ambush assaults, venomous rear incisors, and strength-in-numbers pack tactics, focusing bites upon vulnerable leg joints and underbellies. 

Such relentless assaults ultimately wear down and disable even intimidating arachnids for feeding. So, through convergent cleverness, certain diminutive yet daring mammals appear capable of targeting sizable spiders. 

Numerous mammalian lineages assist in preventing excessive spider population mushrooms where environmental conditions prove favourable toward rapid spider reproductive success.

A Yellow Spider on its Web Waiting
A Yellow Spider on its Web Waiting


Several opportunistic frog species also threaten spiders as sit-and-wait or actively hunting predators, depending on varieties. 

Aquatic frogs like the Amazonian Poison Dart Frog contain extremely potent skin secretions requiring a complex diet of specific insects to accumulate the weak neurotoxins their bodies then artificially concentrate into paralysis-inducing or lethal chemical defences. 

Beyond insectivory, larger adult specimens also readily consume smaller jumping spiders and ground spiders that dwell in the humid rainforest floor leaf litter where the frogs hunt using sticky tongues. And they threaten egg clutches and spiderling clusters where encountered.

Certain toad species, like the legendary marine cane toad, actively pursue smaller spiders as substantial portions of their facultative carnivorous diets augmented by various invertebrates since toad tadpoles begin life ominously as optional cannibals. 

And the largest living frog known as the Goliath Frog, opportunistically ambushes and consumes even intimidating tarantulas and minor bird species with their enormous mouths when detected moving nearby within strike range. 

So whether through active assaults or patiently waiting camouflaged for passing spider prey chances, many frog species help control spider populations within the tropical and subtropical ecosystems they inhabit.


Wasps, ants, reptiles, birds, and mammals all help keep spider populations in check as spiders themselves feast on insect groups. These predatory dynamics underscore critical food web balances across global regions. 

From chemical warfare waged by tiny fire ants to hauling trapdoor spiders up 200-foot jungle canopies, resource competition fosters remarkable adaptations on all sides vying for victory in nature’s arms race. 

Respecting these lethal connections and fragile equilibriums informs sound conservation policies protecting biodiversity crucial for sustaining various classes within shared environmental habitats.


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