What Do Spiders Eat? How Do They Eat Without Teeth?

What do spiders eat? How do spiders eat, Spider eating

As tiny as they are, spiders eat an estimated 400 to 800 million metric tons of prey annually.

That’s ALOT if you ask me. I wonder what they actually eat!

Out of curiosity, I have done some digging around to understand exactly what these tiny creatures feed on hence the subject of this article:

What Do Spiders Eat?

Spiders primarily eat insects such as mosquitoes, flies, moths, and collembolas. Larger spiders occasionally prey on snails, slugs, earthworms, and small vertebrates.

Spiders sometimes supplement their animal diet by feeding on plant materials and other species feed on fellow spiders when things get thick.

Here is a summary of what spiders eat by species;

Type of SpiderWhat they eat
House spiders      Flies, ants, mosquitoes, crickets, grasshoppers, wasps, other spiders, and cockroaches.
Wolf spidersAnts, flies, beetles, worms, millipedes, other spiders, centipedes, small frogs, lizards, and toads
Jumping spidersFlies, mealworms, other spiders, grasshoppers, wasps, bees, ants, moths, crickets, and plants.
Camel spidersBeetles, termites, gerbils, snakes, rodents, lizards, and small birds
Banana spidersGrasshoppers, mosquitoes, butterflies, bees, flies, wasps, moths, beetles, dragonflies, and stinkbugs
Huntsman spiderMoths, cockroaches, crickets, flies, small lizards, and frogs
Black widow spidersFlies, mosquitoes, beetles, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and other spiders.
Cellar spidersMosquitoes, flies, moths, other spiders,
Grass spidersCrickets, moths, grasshoppers, Grass bugs, ants, aphids, and smaller spiders
Garden spidersGrasshoppers, aphids, bees, mosquitoes, flies, and wasps.
Joro spidersFlies, mosquitoes, stink bugs, and other spiders,
Green lynxCorn earworms, moths, flies ,and insect larvae
Sac spidersCockroaches, insect eggs, other spiders, and plant nectar
Golden orbFlies, gnats, bees, mosquitoes, birds, reptiles, wasps, small moths, and butterflies.
Crab SpidersGrasshoppers, crickets, wasps, aphids, bees, butterflies, flies, caterpillars, beetles, nectar, and pollen from flowers.

Now, with that summary out of the door, let’s analyze each of these spiders’ diet and the mechanism they use to capture and feed on their prey.

What Do House Spiders Eat?

House spiders eat flies, ants, mosquitoes, crickets, grasshoppers, wasps, other spiders, and cockroaches.

They spin their webs, trapping flying insects then injecting them with venom to paralyze the prey. Most house spiders will keep their prey in the webs and eat later.

House spiders can live for 4 to 8 weeks without food and can only survive for 3 weeks without water. They usually have food reserves and also get protein from eating their webs.

House spiders have yellow to brown carapace and sternum, legs are yellow to brown with darker rings.

Their abdomen is gray with black and white pigment and has a white spot behind the highest point, surrounded anteriorly by black with dark lines running down the sides and black chevrons behind.

What Do Wolf Spiders Eat?

Wolf Spider, What do wolf spiders eat?

Wolf spiders are also known as ground or hunting spider because of their the wolf like habits of chasing and hunting their prey.

They feed on ants, flies, beetles, worms, millipedes, other spiders, centipedes, small frogs, lizards, and toads.

Some wolf spiders chase down and grab their prey. Others wait for it to walk by and ambush it.

A wolf spider will jump on its prey, hold it between its legs after which it will roll over on its back and trap the prey with their limbs before biting.

They will then inject venom onto their prey, which liquefies the meal to make it ready for consumption.

Wolf spiders can go up to one week without food. However, pet wolf spiders should be fed once in two days.

Jumping Spiders

Jumping spiders belong to the family Salticidae. This is a large diverse group of spiders of about 4,000 species worldwide. [1]

Jumping spiders feed on flies, ants, mealworms, crickets, moths, bees, grasshoppers, and worms. However, they occasionally feed on other spiders.

There is a species of jumping spider known as Bagheera kiplingi that feeds primarily on plants.

Jumping spiders have excellent vision to track their prey. They usually spool out a string of silk and attach it to something solid.

The silk is used as an anchor as the jumping spider leaps into the air, lands on its prey, and delivers a venomous bite that quickly incapacitates the victim. 

They will then finish their meal in style by liquefying it with enzymes then consuming the prey.

Jumping spiders can go for 4 to 8 weeks without food. As pets, they should be fed every 2 to 3 days.

Related article: How long do spiders live?

Brown Recluse Spiders

Brown Recluse Spider, what do Brown Recluse Spiders eat, spider eating

Brown recluse spiders feed on grasshoppers, moths, crickets, and flies. They are not picky eaters and can even gobble other spiders. [2]

These spiders search for prey at night. Like most spiders they will bite their prey injecting venom to paralyze the creature.

They may eat immediately or leave it and come back later. Brown recluse spiders are scavengers, that can eat organisms that have been dead for a while.

They can live for up to 6 months without food and water.

What Do Camel Spiders Eat?

Camel spiders are also known as wind scorpions, Egyptian Giant sulpugid, or the Sun spiders. These spiders can grow up to 6 inches in length and weigh about 2 ounces (0.125 pounds).

Camel spiders feed on beetles, termites, gerbils, snakes, rodents, lizards, and small birds. These spiders have a powerful chelicerae (mouth parts) that makes one-third of their body length.

They will seize their prey with these jaws, and chop or saw them into tiny pieces.

Then they liquefy the prey with digestive enzymes, making it easy to suck the liquid prey into their stomachs.

What Do Huntsman Spiders Eat?

What Do Huntsman Spiders Eat?

Huntsman spiders are grey to brown and they have long legs that are sometimes banded.

Their diet consists of moths, cockroaches, crickets, flies, small lizards, and frogs.

They are patient spiders that wait for their prey and pounce on it swiftly. Huntsman spiders have large and powerful chelicerae to hold onto prey.

They usually paralyze their victims with venom before devouring them in liquid form.

These spiders can survive without food or water for 4 to 8 weeks. Huntsman spiders kept as pets should be every 2 to 3 times a week.

What Do Baby Spiders eat?

Baby spiders diet is the same as adult spiders but in smaller quantities. They will feed on pollen, small crickets, flies, unfertilized eggs, and even their siblings.

For some species such as the African social spider, baby spiders are known to eat their mothers.

How Do Spiders Eat?

Most hunting spiders and some web-building spiders have serrated mouthparts which are used for tearing and shredding the prey while on the ground.

Spiders will then eat their prey by spitting venom to paralyze and liquefy the prey which makes it easy to consume as they do not have teeth.  

See how a California Turret Spider, an ambush hunter, catches its prey.

Spider venom affects the nervous system of their prey by interfering with the nerve-muscle transmission hence paralyzing them and chemically breaking down the prey’s muscles.

The liquified prey is then sucked through the spider’s tube-like mouth, leaving the hard parts of the prey behind.

Spiders use various techniques to capture prey. Some spin webs, others actively hunt while some lie in wait in burrows, or on bushes to pounce when a potential victim passes by.

Web building spiders, wrap their prey in the web and inject it with venom. They will let the prey liquefy in the cocoon to be eaten later.


  • Most spider eat insects such as mosquitoes, flies, moths. They also occasionally dine on their fellow spiders for survival.
  • As they do not have teeth, spiders will spit venom to paralyze and liquefy their prey before eating it
  • Spiders are very hardy as they can survive for 4 to 8 weeks without food and water.  

Recent Posts