We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Effective Are Spiders at Eating Insects?

Spiders are known to eat approximately 10 percent of their body weight every day. That is equal to a 200-pound (91-kg) man wolfing down 20 pounds (9.1 kg) of meat each day, which would be awfully hard to do. In a 2017 study published in the journal Science of Nature, scientists Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer estimated that the world's spiders gobble up between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey every year -- equal to the weight of the meat and fish eaten annually by the planet's 7 billion humans.

Itsy-bitsy spiders, big appetites:

  • Spiders eat insects almost exclusively, although some of the larger arachnid species sometimes dine on lizards, birds, and even small mammals.
  • There are more than 45,000 spider species in the world, and Nyffler and Birkhofer estimate that, weighed together, the total spider population would tip the scales at 25 million tons.
  • Hungry spiders are a benefit, keeping garden pests and mosquitoes in check. Their appetite is on par with the world's whales, which collectively eat an estimated 280 million to 500 million tons of prey a year.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.