A Brief History Of Unexpected Things Spiders Have Been Caught Eating

A recently documented case of a tarantula eating a snake. Leandro Malta Borges/Herpetology Notes

Like them or loathe them, there’s no denying that arachnids would make a very unfussy dinner guest.

Recently, a tarantula was spotted in the wild by scientists munching down on a snake, in behavior that had never been documented before (and we have kindly shared with you above). You can read more about the extraordinary case here

But this isn’t the only case of spiders, both great and small, being ambitious hunters. Whether it’s through injecting venom, web trapping, or just old-fashioned biting, arachnids are remarkably indiscriminate about what they eat.

Here’s a brief (and by no means exhaustive) history of crazy things that arachnids have been caught filling their fluffy little bodies with.

"Prawn Cocktail"

You might assume that crunchy crustaceans have the perfect armor against spiders, but their exoskeletons are no match for some species of eight-legged creepy crawlies.

In 2016, the journal Southeastern Naturalist described the first documented study of a spider devouring a crustacean. The study explains how a striped fishing spider was spotted eating a spiny stream crayfish, the largest freshwater arthropod in North America.

Typically, this spider preys on small fish by wrapping its legs around their body and finishing it off with a venomous bite. Since the spider was already half-way through its crayfish meal when they came across it, the researchers can only assume that this crustacean suffered a similar fate.

Zachary J Loughman et al/Southeastern Naturalist

Golden Orb Weaver, Bird Eater

There is a spider that exists called the “Goliath birdeater”, but in reality, its diet mainly consists of insects and small mammals. However, a few years ago in Australia (a land this article will have to revisit many times), someone walked out into their garden to see a Golden Orb Weaver mid-way through a meal of a Chestnut-breasted mannikin bird. Which isn't terrifying at all. 

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Look out! Here Comes The Suburban Mouse-Hunting Spiderman

Back to Australia in Queensland where a man caught a huntsman spider dragging a mouse up the side of his refrigerator. While spiders eating rodents is hardly surprising, it's unnerving to see how easily it can hoist prey larger than itself up a slippery vertical surface.

“We have named him Hermie, we have adopted him and he is now running his own extermination business out of our town Coppabella. Oh and he is now paying rent,” Jason Womal, who filmed the video, posted on Facebook.

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