Spiders have strong defensive mechanisms that protect them from predators, but they still have some natural threats. Their predators include spider wasps, centipedes, tarantula hawks, scorpions, lizards, ticks, praying mantises, and other spiders.
Larger spiders don’t have many natural predators, while some smaller spiders that you might find in your household might have several. Spiders might use several defensive mechanisms, from using venom to protect themselves to their exoskeleton, while also being able to camouflage themselves to an extent.
Insects and Bugs that Eat Spiders
Here are some of the most common predators of spiders that you might find in nature.
1. Spider Wasps
Spiders are especially prone to attacks from the sky, which is why spider wasps are so effective at hunting spiders.
These wasps are one of the primary predators of spiders, and they’re found particularly in Centra and South America, but also in Africa.
Spider wasps tend to attack medium to large-sized spiders. They have enough venom to kill or paralyze their target.
When they attack, they approach a spider from the sky. It will then jump on the unsuspecting spider, stinging it with its venom. The venom will then fully or partially paralyze the spider, or in some cases, the venom might even kill it.
For spider wasps, spiders are a primary type of food as they are actively looking to hunt spiders throughout the day.
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2. Tarantula Hawks
A tarantula hawk is a subspecies of the spider wasp that will particularly prey on tarantulas.
In many ways, it acts similarly to the other spider wasps, with the exception that it tends to attack tarantulas only.
To hunt a tarantula, it uses a special mechanism and trickery. It does not wait for the tarantula near its burrow – instead, it will trigger the tarantula’s web to alert it and make it seem as though it’s been caught inside the net.
Once the spider is sniffing success, the tarantula hawk strikes, paralyzing the spider with its venom. As the spider is paralyzed, the hawk will take the spider with its to its lair, and create a parasitic relationship where the hawk will feed its offspring with the spider.
Centipedes are carnivorous and will often eat spiders, as well as other smaller insects and bugs.
They’re highly effective at hunting other animals thanks to their far-reaching claws. They’re also quite fast, which makes them good at hunting down spiders and catching them if necessary.
Centipedes also use their venom to paralyze the spider and then consume it whole. A centipede will usually prey on smaller spiders, but might occasionally strike larger spiders if they see the opportunity to do so.
Even though scorpions are not seen as a good type of pest control if you’re looking to protect yourself from spiders, they’re one of the primary predators of spiders in nature, especially in South America and parts of Africa.
A scorpion will hunt down a spider by squeezing it with its pincers, and it might even use its tail to sting the spider and paralyze or kill it. In most cases though, the pincers will do their job at killing the spider and allowing the scorpion to then eat the spider, or feed their offspring with the spider.
Lizards like geckos and chameleons are some of the most common predators for spiders.
They’re found all over America’s south, and they’ll prey on smaller insects as well as on all types of spiders, particularly the smaller ones.
In fact, lizards are some of the most effective types of pest control when it comes to controlling spider populations. Several studies have found that lizards are very effective at reducing spider populations.
Lizards are quite fast, but what makes them especially effective is the fact that they’ll go after the young and the eggs as well. This makes several lizards capable of severely reducing spider populations and on some occasions, completely obliterating the population.
Some ticks will attack spiders and eat them, but the same can be said of the opposite. There are some spiders that eat ticks as well.
Ticks are often smaller than spiders, so they will have to establish a parasitic relationship with the spider, too. It will suck out the blood of the spider and if there are several ticks attacking a spider, it might lead to the death of a spider.
7. Praying Mantises
Praying mantises are very good at hunting animals that are equal to their size or even larger than them. They’ve been known to prey on frogs, lizards, small birds, and especially spiders.
They prefer to eat live animals, so they often catch the animals using their patience. They will wait completely still for a few minutes and even hours if necessary in an attempt to surprise their target and then kill it.
They use their spiked forelegs to grip the animals they catch and kill the target. Spiders often can’t resist this pressure, so they’ll try to run away or strike back with their venom – if they have enough, they might get away.
8. Other Spiders
Lastly, we should mention that also other spiders eat spiders.
There are some reports of cannibalism among spiders, but preying on other spider species is also quite common, especially when larger spiders attack smaller spiders.
For example, even the daddy-long leg spider might feed on the black widow spider, which is beneficial to humans that want to control black widow populations around their home.
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Spiders have strong defensive mechanisms, but in some cases, they just can’t avoid getting eaten by larger or more powerful animals. Several types of wasps, including the spider wasp and the tarantula hawk, prey on spiders as they use their venom to paralyze the spider and then consume it.
Other predators of spiders include scorpions, lizards, centipedes, praying mantises, and other spiders. If you’re looking for a natural way of controlling spider populations around your home, then you might want to consider some of these natural spider predators.
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