The titanic battle between venomous snakes and massive spiders in nature

Spiders taking down and feasting on snakes is more common than researchers thought. Scientists have found more than 300 reported cases of 30 spider species preying on dozens of species of snakes . Some of these snakes are hundreds of times heavier than the arachnid preying on them, researchers found. Here’s a look at some of the gruesome spider-on-snake feasting. The research, and photos, come from the following publication: Martin Nyffeler and J. Whitfield Gibbons (2021). Spiders feeding on snakes. Journal of Arachnology 49, 1-27.

A black widow spider enjoys a meal of juvenile scarlet snake in Georgia. Black widow venom contains a toxin called α-latrotoxin, which targets the nervous system of vertebrates, allowing these spiders to kill prey many times their size.

A very venomous eyelash viper gets trapped in the web of a golden silk orb-weaver spider in Costa Rica. The snake is 15.7 inches (40 centimeters) long. Its venom will likely do little good in this situation; there are no recorded instances of a snake successfully biting and injecting venom into a spider.

A young Eastern garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) finds itself in a bad situation in Douglas, Georgia. A brown widow (Latrodectus geometricus), meanwhile, prepares for the meal of a lifetime.

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