Most spiders are carnivores, and as such, they do eat meat. But it’s not the type of meat that humans eat. Instead of hamburgers and steaks, their “meat” sources include protein sources such as bugs, insects, and even other spiders. With the exception of one type of spider found in Central America, which eats mostly leaves and shrubs, most other spiders eat only protein.
Most spiders weave a web and wait for their prey to get stuck there. Then they bite the prey to inject it with venom, which paralyzes it and turns it into liquid so the spider can just suck it up and “drink” it.
Spiders don’t necessarily look for a particular insect to eat, but they prefer most types of bugs and insects. Different spiders are different sizes, so if they find something that is the right size to consume, that animal automatically becomes the spider’s next meal or snack.
The most common bugs and animals for spiders to eat include the following:
- Other spiders
Regardless of the species or size of the spider, its diet is going to consist mostly of insects and bugs. It is estimated that one spider is able to eat up to 2,000 insects every year, which benefits society as a whole.
Spiders eat mostly protein sources, and most of them will eat any animals they can fit into their “mouths.” This means that the bigger the spider, the bigger its prey usually is. Bigger spiders can eat other spiders, mice, lizards, and even birds.
The Goliath bird-eating spider, for example, can eat many types of birds, as does the huntsman spider, which has legs up to 12 inches long. Both of these spiders have venom that paralyzes their prey.
Larger spiders have also been known to eat frogs, worms, termites, and occasionally bigger animals that include snakes. Because most of these spiders have venom that can paralyze their prey, it is easy for them to consume even animals that are larger in size than they are. Of course, this usually happens only with spiders found outdoors since the spiders found in a person’s home are limited by prey that is small enough to get into the home.
Spiders eat protein and “meat,” such as insects and bugs, as the main parts of their diets. They don’t specifically seek out a particular insect or bug, but it’s the protein they’re looking for most.
Most experts estimate that spiders can eat anywhere between 300 and nearly 900 million tons of insects and bugs every year. This number includes everything they eat, including all types of bugs and insects.
Occasionally, spiders will eat leaves and nectar from fruit, but they only do this to get hydrated. The bodies of spiders need constant moisture, so while they don’t usually eat leaves and won’t eat fruit, they do utilize these foods just to get the moisture they need to survive.
If it’s close to summertime and you uncover your barbecue grill to enjoy some grilled burgers or hot dogs, you might notice some spiders tucked away inside of the grill.
No need to panic, though, because there are things you can do to make this occurrence less frequent. Spiders can be found right after the grill has been covered and in hiding for a while, as well as throughout the grilling season when the grill is frequently in use. Soon, you’ll know just what to do about it.
First of all, before you put away your grill for the cooler months, make sure it’s as clean as possible, then place crushed-up cloves of garlic in the bottom of the grill where the charcoal is usually kept.
Spiders hate the smell of garlic and will do anything to get away from it. Make sure you cover the grill as well because this makes it harder for the spiders to get into it in the first place.
Throughout the grilling season, check your grill on a regular basis to make sure no spiders are there. If there are only a few spiders, you can sweep them away or remove them by hand. You can also light the grill for a while and get rid of spiders if there are a lot of them.
Spiders do indeed eat meat in the form of protein, which they get by eating mostly bugs and insects. They do not eat meat such as beef, chicken, or pork. But they do eat an awful lot of bugs and insects—nearly 900 million tons annually.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.