Research shows that sneaky snakes sometimes have to face a strong adversary: a spider.
Snakes are on the menu of animals, big cats and livestock. But not just mammals like porridge. From A new study An unexpected animal snake bites meat: spider.
Spiders that eat snakes
Spiders are mainly pesticides. But occasionally they expand their menu by catching and swallowing small snakes. The researchers decided to reach the bottom of this bizarre phenomenon in meta-analysis. It is noteworthy to say that their findings are minimal.
Discoveries show that spiders on every continent – except Antarctica – occasionally feast on a snake. Less than eighty percent of the incidents investigated occurred in the United States and Australia. In contrast, in Europe, this eating behavior of spiders is very rare (less than 1 percent of all reported cases). Also, in some of those cases, European spiders prey on small, non-venomous snakes belonging to the group Diplophyde (Worm tubes) provided. Incidentally, no incident has been reported of a spider eating a snake in Switzerland. One possible explanation for this is that the native snakes and vipers for Swiss spiders are very large and heavy, even when they hatch.
Incidentally, many spider species occasionally eat a snake as a tasty snack. Spiders from less than eleven different families are also guilty of this. “Many groups of spiders sometimes eat snakes, which is a completely new discovery,” said researcher Martin Nieffler.
The most successful snake hunter is the black widow. It is a spider belonging to the ball spider and can grow up to about 3.8 cm (including legs). In half of all the incidents observed, only this spider was able to subdue the undoubted snake. The powerful venom of the black widow especially targets the nervous system of the spines and kills them. In addition, they create interesting nets made of very hard silk, thus allowing them to catch large prey such as lizards, frogs, rats and snakes.
Another interesting new discovery: spiders can eat snakes from seven different families. Not just the little ones. It turns out that spiders can defeat snakes 10 to 30 (!) Times less. The largest snakes caught by spiders are not less than a meter. The smallest is only six centimeters. The average length of the captured snake was 26 cm. Most of them are very young, just models. The ability of spiders to sometimes transform into larger victims is due to their more powerful neurotoxins and stronger, harder webs.
Rattlesnakes and coral snakes
Trapped snakes are nothing but helpless: about 30 percent are venomous. However, spiders in the United States and South America sometimes kill venomous rattlesnakes and even coral snakes. For example, the Australian brown snake – which belongs to the same family as the cobra – often preys on the average redback spider. “Brown snakes are the most venomous in the world,” Knifeler insists. “It’s so fascinating to see them lose battles with spiders.”
When a spider catches a snake, it can often feast on such large prey for hours or even days. Spiders have a very irregular diet. If they get a lot of food, they eat too much, and then sometimes go hungry again for a long time. Incidentally, spiders rarely eat their entire plate. For example, they often eat only a small part of a dead snake. Gardeners such as ants, wasps, flies and fungi then dig up what is left of the victim.