Most people think of spiders as scary, creepy critters that are best left alone. While it’s true that some spiders can be dangerous, the vast majority of them are actually harmless to humans. In fact, spiders can be beneficial to have around because they help control the population of other pests in your home, like flies and mosquitoes. So, what do these helpful little creatures eat?
Spiders are predators and most of them feast on insects and other small arthropods. Some spiders, however, are known to eat larger prey, including lizards, frogs, birds, and bats. In fact, the Goliath birdeater spider, which is native to parts of South America, is the largest spider in the world and is capable of eating animals as large as rabbits!
Most spiders build webs to help them capture their meals, these spiders will commonly consume flying insects. Couple of examples: mosquitoes, flies, moths and even butterflies. The web serves as a sort of net that catches the prey while it’s struggling to escape. Once the prey is ensnared, the spider will quickly move in to deliver a fatal bite with its venomous fangs. This venom paralyzes the prey so that it can’t struggle or fight back while the spider drinks its fill. After the spider is done feeding, it will discard the empty husk of its meal.
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While most people are grossed out by the idea of spiders drinking the blood of their prey, it’s important to remember that these creatures play an important role in our ecosystem. Spiders help keep populations of harmful insects in check, which in turn helps to protect our food sources from being destroyed by pests. You might not want them inside your home, but they are beneficial out in our landscape.
Spiders might not be everyone’s favorite creature but there’s no denying that they play an important role in our ecosystem. These eight-legged predators help keep populations of harmful insects in check, which protects our food sources from being destroyed by pests. So next time you see a spider in your home, try to appreciate it for the hard work it’s doing—even if it is a little creepy!