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Do Spiders Have Teeth (or Fangs, or Both)?

Most spiders don’t have teeth and they rely on their fangs to kill and catch their animals of prey.

do spiders have teeth or fangs

Spiders are carnivores so if they don’t have teeth, how do they eat or chew their prey?

The answer is that they’ll induce venom into the victim to liquify it, making it easier for the spider to eat the animal whole.

The venom contains enzymatic proteins which are used to break down muscle tissue, enabling the spider to eat the prey without having to use teeth.

Do Spiders Have Teeth?

No, spiders don’t have teeth. Their mouths are shaped like a straw, which makes it easier for them to eat the liquified animals they’ve just caught. To liquify the animal, spiders will use their venom to break down the animal of prey.

On the front of their heads, spiders have fangs which are followed by the chelicerae, which is essentially the spider’s jaws.

The purpose of the fangs and the jaws is to hold down the animal of prey as the spider injects the venom. With its hollow fangs, the spider will insert the venom into their victim, causing the victim to get liquified.

After the victim has been liquified, the eating can start. Thanks to this simple and effective procedure, spiders don’t have the need to have teeth to chew down their victims.


Wolf Spiders have Fangs, not Teeth. Photo: Pixabay

Using their fangs, the chelicerae and some venom, spiders are able to digest the animals they catch without exerting too much force.

Some people mistake the spider’s fangs for its teeth, but these fangs are not the same as the teeth we know. They are located at the tips of the chelicerae, which have a lot of internal muscles that help the spider pin down its target.

The fangs are made from a tough and hard material as they act like pincers, which also enables the spider to insert the fangs into its victim with ease.

The main role of the fangs is to induce venom into the target. The venom is meant to kill off the animal if it’s still alive, and then help the spider consume the animal without having to use or have teeth.

Read Also: Do Spiders have Tongues? and Do Spiders Make Noise?

How Many Teeth Do Spiders Have?

Spiders have no teeth, but they have two fangs, which are sometimes confused for teeth.

Instead of using teeth, spiders use their fangs to insert venom into their target. Even though they don’t have teeth, they’re able to survive quite comfortably in the wild.

Their two fangs appear on the front of the spider’s body. The main purpose of the fangs is for catching their prey and stinging the prey with its poison. With their fangs, they effectively replace their teeth and make it easier for themselves to consume their targets.

In addition, they will use their venom to break down the target’s tissue, which makes the target liquid and easier to consume. This means they don’t need teeth to eat the meat of their victims, as they will consume them as a liquid.

Does a Spider Have a Mouth?

To consume the food they liquify using their venom, spiders also have a tube-shaped mouth. 

After the food has been liquified, the process of eating the animal they’ve caught becomes much easier. It will enable them to consume the animal in its liquid form by inducing it into its mouth.

The spider’s mouth is shaped like a thin, long tube – essentially like a straw. The purpose of this shape is to enable the spider to digest the animal easily as it’s broken down into a liquid form. Because of that, the spider doesn’t need to have teeth, as the rest of the body of their victims will be digested in the spider’s stomach.

The front of the spider’s mouth is covered by the fangs and the chelicerae, which actively pin the target down before the spider can insert the venom into the target.

After the venom is inserted, the spider will use its mouth to consume what’s left of the animal they’ve caught.

Related: Are there Blood Sucking Spiders?

Do All Spiders Have Fangs?

All spiders will have two fangs mounted at the tip of their chelicerae.

The majority of spiders are also venomous, which means that they’ll use their fangs to inject the venom into the animals they catch or animals that attack them.

Apart from a few spiders from the venomless Uboloridae family, the vast majority of spiders are venomous, although these venoms are mostly not enough to harm a human being.

However, that does not mean that the venomless spiders are not able to catch other animals.

To compensate for their lack of venom, they have stronger fangs which allow them to grip the target stronger and suffocate it to death. They’re also exceptional strategists, as they’re able to devise the right strategies to capture their targets.

Another role of the fangs, in addition to inserting the venom into the target, is the role of pinning down the target and disabling it.

The fangs are powered by the muscles inside the chelicerae, which allow the fangs to hold on tight. Sometimes, spiders will also use their fangs to kill off the target.

Now, an interesting fact about the spider’s fangs is that if the spider loses its fang, another one will grow in its place. This might sometimes happen during molting, but the ability to grow another fang back allows the spider to recover relatively quickly.

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Conclusion

Spiders are carnivores, but they don’t have teeth, which means they’ll have to use another way to consume the animals they catch.

In the absence of teeth, spiders rely on their fangs to insert the poison into the victim. Thanks to this mechanism, the food they ingest turns into liquid, making it possible for them to eat animals larger than them without having teeth.

Most spiders don’t have teeth, and they have a tube-shaped mouth instead, which is meant to easily consume the liquids they create as they catch their animals of prey.