Study Finds Spiders Are Victorious in Battles Against Snakes

Orb-weaver spider on web.
Orb-weaver spider on web. / eyfoto/iStock via Getty Images

Snakes and spiders are two of the most phobia-inducing creatures on Earth. As for which is more terrifying, a new scientific study may have the answer. Research shows that spiders are more likely to be the victors in deadly battles with snakes—even when the snakes are several times their size.

As Live Science reports, a recent study published in the Journal of Arachnology examined 319 records of spiders killing and eating snakes. The eight-legged hunters used diverse methods to take down their reptilian prey. Though they measure about a centimeter long, widow spiders like black widows are some of the most successful killers in the arachnid class. Thanks to their potent venom, they accounted for roughly half of the snake deaths studied.

The much larger tarantula—which hunts from the ground or up in trees—executed 10 percent of the kills. The large orb-weaver spider was the culprit in 8.5 percent of the incidents. Using its strong webs, the spider famously catches small vertebrates like birds and bats for dinner.

Based on the size difference between the two creatures, the results of the study may come as a surprise. Though most of the snakes the spiders went after were young and small, a few of them outsized their attackers. The biggest snakes that fell victim to spiders measured up to 3.25 feet long.

You can see images of spiders bringing down snakes in the video below. Here are more creepy tactics spiders use to get the best of their prey.

[h/t Live Science]