Yes, snakes eat spiders. However, not all snakes do this. In many cases, it is the other way around—the spider eats the snake.
For example, a green snake often preys on spiders. Scientists also know that a tarantula’s predators comprise snakes, lizards, foxes, and coyotes. Although snakes prey on spiders, it is usually the small snakes that do this.
Why Do Snakes Eat Spiders?
Snakes eat spiders because snakes are carnivores. As obligate carnivores, snakes do not have any bias against what they eat.
Snakes hunt spiders when the snakes are small. It is practical, as small snakes are not capable of taking down large prey. Even if a snake has venom, it cannot swallow big prey. If anything, a snake would kill a big animal only because it feels threatened.
Below is a list of what snakes eat, but this list is not exhaustive;
Big snakes rarely bother eating small animals. It is a waste of energy, and they would rather hunt for big prey that would satisfy their hunger. This is the reason why many snakes can go for a year with only one meal.
When snakes hunt for spiders, it is often just a coincidence. On some occasions, a snake may become unlucky. Some spiders have powerful webs that snakes cannot break from, despite the snake’s body being full of muscles.
Do Snakes Eat Tarantulas?
Snakes do prey on tarantulas, but it’s a rare occurrence. Despite the rarity, scientists have long known that snakes prey on tarantulas and other spiders in the wild.
There is not a lot of material to see on how snakes eat spiders. For many years, this activity is not shocking, so people who study them in the wild do not bother showing them.
On the other hand, there seems to be a craze in the scientific community about spiders eating snakes.
Related Article: Do Snakes Eat Plants, Fruits, or Vegetables?
How Do Snakes Hunt Spiders?
Different snakes hunt spiders in different ways. Some snakes are constrictors, while others use their venom. For example, a cobra does not constrict its prey. Instead, it strikes to deliver venom.
The same thing goes with vipers. Venomous snakes bite their prey and wait until the prey dies. Then, they eat the prey.
On the other hand, constrictors would bite the prey and latch onto it. The moment a constrictor bites, it pulls the prey to itself and coils its body around it. If the target is bigger, the snake pulls itself closer and then wraps itself around the prey.
When snakes hunt spiders, the hunting tactic they use depends on what kind of snake they are. Constrictors would bite the spider and restrict the blood flow in the spider’s body. Snakes that have venom would bite and wait until the spider succumbs to death.
Usually, the first one to successfully strike is the victor. However, some lab experiments show that snakes may not have a fighting chance in a fair fight. For example, a non-venomous snake may lose.
If the venomous spider manages to deliver its toxic concoction of venom, the snake will succumb to paralysis. If this happens, the snake will lose control of its muscles. And while this is happening, the enzymes in the spider’s venom will start liquefying the inside of the snake.
Related Article: Do Snakes Eat Grass?
Can Spiders Kill Snakes?
Yes, spiders eat snakes. Even though spiders are generally much smaller than snakes, some spiders have potent venom and sharp fangs that can take down a snake. In a study, researchers found out about more than 300 records of spiders killing snakes.
In these records, 297 occurred in the wild. The other recorded cases happened in captivity.
Not all spiders are weak, and not all of them have poor offense and defense mechanisms. Some spiders possess toxins that dissolve the insides of their prey. Some spiders have venom that could immobilize their prey.
In the study, scientists also found out that big spiders are the likely culprit. Tarantulas, for one, are powerful spiders. However, tarantulas are not the champions among their kind as far as eating snakes are concerned.
Related Article: Do Snakes Eat Berries?
This title goes to the theridids. An example of this is the black widow. In many research results, these types of spiders are the most responsible for capturing and eating snakes.
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How Do Spiders Eat Snakes?
Spiders that target snakes are small ones. Usually, spiders would target snakes that are only 10 inches in length. Despite being small snakes, they are still much larger than the spiders trying to eat them.
Spiders build webs that function as a trap. A spider, like the black widow has a tough web. This web is tough enough to ensnare a snake. Once the snake is trapped, the spider would come close and then deliver a venomous bite.
While some snakes are immune to the venom of other snakes, it does not make them immune to the venom of other animals.
The bite of a venomous spider can paralyze its victim. It is exactly what happens with snakes. When the snake can no longer move, the spider wraps the victim with its silk.
A spider’s bite has enzymes that dissolve an animal. What the spider does is suck this liquid. The meal does not end quickly. Many spiders eat prey for days or even weeks.
There are many online that one can watch to see how spiders attack snakes.
How Spiders Attack and Eat Snakes:
Related Article: Do Snakes Eat Ducks?
Summary: Do Snakes Eat Spiders?
Snakes can kill and eat spiders. Any moving animal is part of a snake’s diet because a snake is a carnivore. However, only small snakes would eat spiders. Big snakes would rather eat bigger prey so as not to waste energy.
Spiders also eat snakes. Today, there is much more interest in this issue. The internet is chockful of new discoveries where spiders eat snakes, even venomous ones.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.