What Do Black Widow Spiders Eat

What Do Black Widow Spiders Eat

If you are interested in getting straight to the answer click here to learn what they eat or continue reading below to get a bit more details about the black widow spider and what they eat.

Before we can answer the question what do black widow spiders eat we should discuss what they looks like and where do they live.

A Black Widow is a type of spider that is shiny and black.  On its back it usually has a shape that looks like an hourglass that is either red or orange in color.  The abdomen has the shape of a sphere and also has an hourglass mark on the bottom.

Often these spiders have two red or orange marks on their body separated by black.

A female black widow spider will often have an hourglass shape on the top of the body right above the spinnerets which is the silk-spinning organs.

Compared to their male counterpart a female black widow spider usually has a leg span of 1 – 1/2 inch longer.

If you were to glance at this type of spider from afar it would look like a shiny black or red grape.

Where Do They Live?

This type of spider often lives where grapes grow but this spans across most of the world. In particular they live in Southern Europe, North America and South America. Additionally they can be found in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

In particular the Western Black Widows live in western Canada, Mexico and Pacific Northwest of the United States.

In the United States the Latrodectus genus of Black Widow spiders are found throughout the United States mainly in the southern states.

They like to hide in sheltered and dark places such as rock piles, fallen branches and piles of wood.

What Do Black Widow Spiders Eat

Some of the things that Black Widow spiders enjoy to eat include:

  • grasshoppers
  • mosquitoes
  • beetles
  • Other small insects

Some other types of food they sometimes eat include:

  • snakes (caught in a web)
  • mice
  • lizards

In particular climates such as hot dry places a Black Widow spider will adapt its diet and eat things such as scorpions.

The way the Black Widow spider subdues its prey is by biting their prey and releasing venom into them.

At this point the prey will be bathed in a digestive fluid which makes the softer parts dissolve to liquid which are sucked in the spiders stomach.

To get other juices from hard-bodied insects the pincer-like appendages can be used to puncture the exoskeleton of the prey. The shell itself id discarded later.

In order for a Black Widow to catch its prey they will make a “tangle” web.

This web consists of 3 unique parts which are the:

  • Supporting threads at the top
  • Tangle threads in the middle
  • Vertical trap threads at the bottom

The threads will be coated in sticky droplets to catch the prey and once the prey gets stuck the spider will bite the prey and wrap it in silk.

Informational Video