Spiders are terrifying, but what’s scarier is that Australians don’t seem to be afraid of them at all. If I were to describe to you a creature that had eight legs, a fuckload of eyes and a tendency to bite things, you’d probably be shitting bricks, right? Australian’s don’t understand this fear, I’ve often been told that they’d rather see a big spider than a small spider because at least it would be easier to find and kill. Crazy.
Spiders might go up on your list of things to be terrified about because experts are suggesting that spiders consume enough prey that they could theoretically eat every man, woman, and child on the goddamn planet. Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer recently asked themselves the question “If you were to tally up all the food eaten by the world’s entire spider population in a single year, how much would it be?”
The two biologists recently published their findings in the Science of Nature scientific journal earlier this month, and the number they arrived is pretty insane. Apparently, the world’s spiders consume somewhere between 400 million and 800 million tons of prey in any given year. Which means that spiders eat as much meat as all 7 billion of us combined, the authors noted that we consume about 400 million tons of meat and fish each year.
If that wasn’t scary enough for you, the total biomass of all adult humans on earth is estimated to be 287 million tons. Even if you were to add another 70 million to account for the weight of all kids, it’s still not equal to how much spiders eat in a given year, exceeding the total weight of humanity.
Basically, spiders could eat us all and still have room for dessert.
To arrive at this number, Martin and Klaus looked into how many spiders live in a square meter of land for all the main habitat types on Earth, and the average amount of food consumed by spiders of different sizes in a given year.
Of course, spiders don’t eat humans, If they did I’d probably never step foot outside again. However, the research did reveal some interesting facts. For example, one study showed that that global average spider density stands at about 131 spiders per square meter, which is an uncomfortable amount of spiders for such a small vicinity.