I thought you might want to know that Spiders feeding on vertebrates is more common and widespread than previously thought, geographically and taxonomically. Not that I want you to worry or anything, but you should know that vertebrates like you are prey to certain spiders. (Not you, personally, of course — just your smaller, weaker cousins.)
You might be wondering who the killer spiders are, and you’re in luck: here’s a table of the spider families that will kill your relatives.
See? No worries. You probably don’t even recognize most of those names.
I’m here to inform you that the number one culprit, the Theridiidae, also known as the tangle-web spiders or comb-footed spiders, are also among the most common house spiders. The spiders I raise in large numbers in the lab, the Steatodas and Parasteatodas and Latrodectus, all belong to this family, and I’ve long noted their ability to bring down animals much larger than themselves with their potent venom and most excellent cobwebs.
Not you, of course. You can continue to sleep well at night, knowing that the spiders living in your attic and basement are not going to eat you. Not unless they grow significantly larger, or form significant and numerous cooperative colonies.
My spiders do get along well with each other, so there are possibilities…
If you doubt me, here are some spiders eating birds, bats, frogs, fish, and snakes. Yum.
But don’t worry, they aren’t eating people yet!
Nyffeler M, Gibbons JW (2022) Spiders feeding on vertebrates is more common and widespread than previously thought, geographically and taxonomically. Journal of Arachnology 50:121–134.