Love them or hate them, one thing is for sure; spiders are some of the most interesting creatures in the world. If you come across any type of spider, you’ll quickly reveal two personality types in humans. One being ‘turn-tail and run’, the other being ‘lean-in and study’.
We decided to place ourselves into the second category as we aimed to find the most interesting facts about spiders. And best believe we succeeded. So sit back, or rather lean in closely, and fact-find your way through the world of arachnids.
33 Interesting Facts About Spiders
In this list, we’ll cover a variety of other facts about spiders. By the end of it, you might just end up falling in love with these eight-legged oddities or stick to hating them.
1. There are More Spiders Than You Think
To date, scientists have studied and discovered roughly 40,000 different species of spiders. And while this number is incredibly large, it is estimated that we have just about found half of all spider species.
2. Spiders can’t Eat Solids
For a spider to actually eat anything, from tiny insects to larger prey, the spider needs to inject a fluid into the body of its prey. This fluid basically turns the insides of its prey into a mushy pulp that the spider then sucks out for nourishment.
3. Spiders Bleed Blue
Technically, a spider’s body doesn’t have any blood inside it. Our blood is based on a molecule called Haemoglobin. A spider’s “blood” consists of Hemocyanin – a protein filled with copper. When this protein comes into contact with oxygen, it turns dark blue.
4. They Love Teamwork
While many spider species are solitary creatures, scientists have found communities of spiders working together when observed in nature. In fact, such communities have the potential to include up to 50,000 spiders – sharing a common aim to catch larger prey.
5. Spiders can Control Their Blood Pressure
Spiders don’t use their muscles to aid them in moving around. Instead, their bodies contract and increase the blood pressure in their joints to cause movement. Some spiders also use this technique to allow them to jump due to increased pressure.
6. All of Them are Carnivorous (Except for One)
Every spider species is carnivorous and is an integral part of our ecosystem. Due to their love for eating live prey, they keep insects from overrunning the planet. So far, there is only one type of spider, the Bagheera Kiplingi, that eats mostly small plants, although it often also snacks on ant larvae.
7. Some Spiders are as Old as Dinosaurs
Okay, we’re not talking about actual age. Rather a species age, some spider species have been around for as long as 300 million years. One such species is the Ctenizidae, more commonly called the trapdoor spider.
8. They do Come in Every Shape and Size
Spiders come in an incredible variety of shapes and sizes. Their body shapes follow a particular structure, and all of them have eight legs, but their physical size differs between species. The largest species is the Goliath Birdeater at 11 inches wide. The tiniest species, Patu Marplesi, is so small that about 10 of them can fit on the end of a pencil.
9. Tarantulas get a Lot of Hate for No Reason
Tarantulas are some of the most docile spider species on the planet. When threatened, their appearance and ferocity gained them a reputation for being the worst. Even their venom is comparatively very gentle, and as long as you stay away from them, they’ll stay away from you.
10. All Spiders Produce Silk, But Not All Spiders Create Webs
Silk starts its life as a watery gel that gets funneled by spiders into webs. But, not all spiders create webs. For example, the Brazilian Wandering spider spends its entire life roaming forest floors, never creating a web, although still producing silk.
11. Some Spiders are Crazy Fast
If Usain Bolt were a spider, he would be a Wolf Spider. This spider species have been observed running as fast as 2 feet per second. Also, they are very solitary spiders and are found mostly in Australia. They hunt by pouncing on their prey or simply running them down, thanks to their incredible speed.
12. Jumping Spiders Should be in The Olympics
Beyond just their amazing speed, certain spider species are excellent jumpers. Using the ability to control fluid pressure in their bodies, these jumping spiders can leap up to 40 times their body length. If we could do that, we could reach up to 230 feet.
13. Spiders Like to Recycle
Spiders are some of the most eco-friendly critters on the planet. Mostly in reference to spiderwebs, at least. Spiders will often eat old dried-up webs and replace them with new ones or choose to move to another location, leaving no trace behind.
14. Drugs Affect Spiders
When exposed to certain mind-altering substances, spiders create different webs depending on the substance. Spiders exposed to LSD, for example, create intricate and eye-catching webs while spiders exposed to caffeine struggle to build webs, and those that they do make end up being flimsy and confusing.
15. Spiderwebs are a Scientific Marvel
Spiders are the only mammals on Earth to create webs. In fact, throughout history, mathematicians and scientists have used spiderwebs as inspiration. Even in 2022, we are still unable to replicate the cellular structure of the golden orb spiderweb and silk, which could be used in bulletproofing and more.
16. Some Spiders Enjoy Hunting, While Others do Not
Like most other significant predators found worldwide, certain spider species actively hunt while others wait for their prey. However, some species of spiders get a thrill out of hunting – for example, the funnel-web spider will hunt and kill simply for pleasure.
17. Not All Spiders can Climb a Wall
Factually not all spiders are wall climbers. Due to tiny hairs that grow from the legs of certain spider species, they can grip most surfaces and thus climb. Other species have claws attached to their legs, giving them the ability to latch onto surfaces.
18. Spiderwebs are Great Bandaids
Hundreds of years ago, people used spiderwebs to cover minor wounds, and it was believed the webs would speed up the healing process. Scientists now know that spiderwebs contain vitamin K, which reduces bleeding and thus can help heal.
19. Female Spiders have Massive Appetites
Although spiders, in general, have large appetites, female spiders are especially insatiable. A typical female spider consumes up to 10 percent of its body weight in food daily. For reference, Swiss researchers found that spiders consume up to 800 million tons of prey per year.
20. Spiders have Inspired Dances
During the 16th and 17th centuries, among the people of Italy, it was believed that the bite from a specific species of Tarantula would be fatal. However, if the victim danced in a frantic manner to a certain song, they would be healed – no evidence has been found to support this. The dance, aptly named ‘tarantella’, remains.
21. Different Spiders have Different Sets of Eyes
It is widely believed that all spiders have eight eyes. This, however, is untrue, as some species have six, four, or two. And no, there are no cyclops in the spider world as their eyes are always an even pair.
22. Some Male Spiders are Suicidal
Yes, that’s right, some male spiders, specifically belonging to the widow spider family, have no love for their own existence. Male red-widow spiders will force-feed themselves to their mates without ever giving up until they are entirely eaten. Scientists are still not sure exactly why they do it – suicide seems to be the best explanation.
23. Jumping Spiders Have Incredible Eyesight
Jumping spiders, belonging to the Salticid family, possess extremely well-developed eyes. They are able to see spectrums of light that even we can’t. Amongst these are UVA and UVB light spectrums.
24. Spiders are Masters of Disguise
Some spiders, especially ones that actively hunt their prey, have evolved to disguise themselves in their surroundings. Others have even evolved to mimic other critters. The Myrmarachne is a type of spider that looks almost exactly like ants and even have similar pheromones.
25. It Can Sometimes Rain Spiders
As terrifying as it sounds, it has happened quite a few times that it literally rains thousands of spiders. This occurs when spiders ‘balloon’ themselves into the air using their silk glands. Basically, they get swept up and carried by gusts of wind and conveniently get dropped at another location.
26. Space Travel Works Well for Spiders
Observed by NASA during multiple missions to space, spiders adapt very well to the environment on space stations. Although most of them do perish after some time, they do outlive numerous other creatures studied in the same conditions.
27. Most Spider Bites Don’t End in Death
Let’s just be clear on one thing, almost every type of spider is venomous. Ranging from small bumps and rashes to paralysis and death – the threat is real. However, due to medical advancement, very few potentially fatal spider bites end in death.
28. Spiders Collectively Eat More than We Do
As a species, humans consume about 400 million tons of food per year on average. That is an incredible amount of food. On the other hand, Spiders outdo us here as they collectively eat more than double that per year.
29. No Prey is too Big for a Spider
When it comes to their prey, spiders fear nothing. Some species of spiders, including the tarantula and huntsman, hunt prey far larger than they are. A single tarantula can paralyze and digest a fully grown moose in just under two days.
30. A Spiders Brain is Massive
Although far smaller than humans, a spider’s brain is comparatively massive for its body. Their brains in fact, can sometimes grow so big it oozes into the rest of their bodies as they age. A spider’s body can potentially house nearly 80% of its central nervous system.
31. They Can Hear you From a Mile Away
As if spiders weren’t the ultimate predator already, they have evolved incredible hearing. A specific species, Phidippus Audax, effectively has no ears yet and uses specialized hairs on their bodies. This way, they ‘sense’ particle movement. This is where the famous ‘spider-sense’ comes from.
32. Most Spiders You Find Indoors won’t Survive Outside
Spiders have the unique ability to adapt to their surroundings exceptionally well. So well, in fact, scientists have suggested that most spiders you’ll find inside your home won’t be able to survive in the wild.
33. One Specific Spider’s Bite Works Better than Viagra
The Brazilian Wandering spider sits at the top of the list of most vicious spiders found in nature. They are seemingly fearless and actively hunt on forest floors, sometimes in packs of several spiders.
And not only does their venom cause extreme pain throughout the body of its victim, but it also causes an erection that can last for extended periods of time. And yes, the venom is currently being studied for its potential to be used in humans with erectile dysfunction.