Spiders are eight-legged arthropods that are a matter of fascination for many and a nightmare for some. There are about 43,000 identified species of spiders in the world, and they are found in almost every nuke and corner of this planet.
There can’t possibly be a house without spider infestation because they are everywhere. Look closely, and you can find cobwebs somewhere in your home.
Though spiders are uninvited guests, they aren’t considered to be an invasive pest. One of the many reasons why they aren’t considered a threat is because they always keep a distance from humans and do not cause us any trouble. Some spiders are even known to be beneficial as they act as a natural insecticide.
You might have seen spiders trapping its prey on the web, and the way spiders eat their prey, but have you ever spotted their droppings? Or do they ever poop? If they do, what does spider poop look like?
Spiders do poop like every other animal, it’s just that we don’t get to see them relieving themselves.
So, what does spider poop look like? Spider droppings are more like highly viscous liquids with a dark appearance. Look closely on skirting boards or walls of your house to see if there is anything unusual resembling a paint splatter. If you find any, you are looking at the spider poop.
Spider droppings aren’t solid as one would imagine them to be considering the food they eat.
Though spider droppings aren’t as toxic as the droppings of other invasive pests, they pose another challenge. Spider droppings can seriously stain your furniture, upholstery, fabric, and walls. These stains can be pretty hard to be removed.
In this article, we will look at the spider droppings, the easiest way to identify them, and other interesting things about spiders and their droppings.
- Do spiders poop?
- What does spider poop look like?
- Why do spider droppings create stains?
- Do spiders urinate?
- Where to look for spider poop?
- Is spider poop toxic?
- How to safely remove spider poop?
- Are spiders beneficial? Should they be considered to be invasive pests?
- How to keep spiders away?
Do spiders poop?
Yes, spiders do poop. Similar to all other living organisms that consume food, spiders too have to excrete waste from their body. But still, there is a myth surrounding spiders that they don’t poop. The origin of this myth is due to the fact that you don’t always get to see the spiders in action.
If you didn’t know, a spider could survive for days without food. For instance, big tarantulas can easily survive for a week without food. They frequently eat only when there is plenty of food available.
Spiders have a very low metabolic rate that ingestion, digestion, and excretion is an extremely slow process.
In short, being an arthropod with a low metabolic rate, spiders don’t eat much. This means that whether you see spider droppings or not depends entirely on how much food they get.
What does spider poop look like?
Spider droppings, in general, are dark, semi-liquid, and squishy that it resembles a paint splatter. Considering the omnivorous diet of a spider, its poop can have shades of black, brown, white, or grey.
The exact shade of its poop may vary with respect to the spider species, but in general, you can expect dark splats or drips.
Spider droppings are mostly found on surfaces that are right under the spider web. You can find spider feces on the interior wall, beneath furniture, under the tables (Surfaces that are off the ground are favorite spots for spiders), and so on.
Why do spider droppings create stains?
To clearly understand why a spider’s dropping causes tough stains, we must understand the process of digestion in spiders.
Most of you might have thought that spiders consume solid food. Well, it is quite obvious considering the small insects they trap in their web and consume, right? But that isn’t the case.
Spiders are not capable of ingesting or digesting solid food because they lack teeth to chew or bite their food.
There are even a couple of filters in the spider’s gut that ensure that no solid food reaches its stomach.
Once a prey has been trapped in the web, the spider paralyzes the prey with its venom. And once the prey has been paralyzed, they wrap it up in its silk.
Spiders, in general, consume their prey in 2 different ways.
1. Some spiders expel their digestive enzymes on to their prey, and the digestion takes place outside its body. These enzymes are powerful enough to liquefy the tissues of the prey.
Once the prey has been properly disintegrated, the spider sucks it up like a juice. It is this partially digested food in the liquid form that reaches the spider’s stomach.
The spider’s stomach acts as a pump and sends these partially digested foods deeper into their gut for complete digestion.
2. Another means of digestion is when the spiders after paralyzing its prey, use its fangs to inject the prey with its digestive enzymes.
By doing this, everything, including the internal organs of the prey, is digested and liquefied. It is this juicy substance the spider sucks in and digests.
Either way, the food that reaches a spider’s stomach would be in liquid form, with a lot of enzymes acting on it.
These powerful digestive enzymes are present on their droppings, which causes tough stains on the surfaces where the droppings fall.
Do spiders urinate?
Most people have this doubt whether spider urinates or not because of the highly viscous state of its poop. And some even believe that spiders urinate along with their poop, owing to the semi-liquid state of the poop. But this isn’t true.
Urine is a liquid waste product that mainly contains urea and nitrogenous wastes. When it comes to spiders, water is a luxury for them. Have you ever seen a spider drinking water?
Unlike others, spiders retain most of the water and moisture in its body. Spiders have specially designed structures known as the Malpighian tubes to get rid of the nitrogenous waste from its body.
These Malpighian tubes, instead of converting the nitrogenous wastes into liquid form, convert them into uric acid. Uric acid is solid, and it doesn’t dissolve in water. So a spider excretes these solid wastes along with its digestive wastes.
Some spiders are also capable of converting the nitrogenous waste into dry guanine (One of the bases of nucleic acids). Guanine is a white powdery substance that is excreted along with the food waste. In some cases, spiders can be seen depositing guanine on their body as effective camouflage.
It is important to note that the spider’s ability to convert the nitrogenous wastes into solid uric acid is an evolutionary advantage possessed by several arthropods. It is this adaptation that helps them survive far away from water.
Where to look for spider poop?
As said earlier, spiders have an extremely slow metabolic rate and can survive for days without food. So chances of spotting a spider relieving itself are rare.
But yeah, there are places where you can spot spider droppings. Spiders aren’t arthropods that choose a latrine site; rather, they poop wherever they are.
The best place to look for spider dropping is near their webs that are most commonly found in places away from human contact. The ideal places to look for spider poop are in basements, attics, and corners of rooms where there are cobwebs.
Is spider poop toxic?
No, spider poop isn’t toxic as one would imagine feces to be. It is, in fact, interesting to note that though spiders consume insects that can potentially be carrying deadly pathogens and microbes, their droppings remain free of any such pathogens or microbes.
For instance, the filth flies that are found to carry around 100 deadly pathogens that can make a person sick is the favorite snack of a spider. Technically these pathogens have to be present in the spider droppings, right? But they don’t, and it has been a matter of fascination for biologists.
Recently, a study was conducted on the black widow spider’s droppings to identify its potential as a pathogen carrier. The droppings from these spiders were placed in a growth medium to increase the bacterial load in the droppings.
It was surprising to note that even after keeping the droppings in a growth medium, the researchers couldn’t identify the presence of any pathogens.
It is believed there is the presence of microbial inhibitors in spider droppings, and a lot of research has been happening on learning more about them. It isn’t clear as to whether every spider has this ability or not.
So yeah, spider poop isn’t toxic, but we would still recommend you to be careful while cleaning spider poop.
How to safely remove spider poop?
As said earlier, spider poop isn’t toxic. But to be on the safer side, it is better that you wear a glove, boot, and mask. Since bacteria and other microbes are not found in spider poop, you can clean the poop by simply spraying some water or wiping it off with a wet cloth.
Spider poop being in a semi-liquid state would easily wash away, but the stain that it leaves behind won’t. Now let us have a look into how to remove these tough stains.
1. If the poop is lying outdoors or in places where you can use water, clear of the dried up and loose droppings by spraying water with a hose. Use a pressure pipe, if you have one at your disposal.
2. Make some bleach solution by dissolving bleach in water. Make sure that you use oxygen bleach instead of chlorine bleach as the former is environmentally friendly. You can also add some stain removers to the solution.
3. Using a hard brush and the prepared bleach solution thoroughly scrub the stained areas. Leave the mixture on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes and let it dry. Clean it using water from a hose or a pressure pump. Repeat the process until the stain is completely removed.
Star Brite Spider and Bird Stain Remover is one great product for easy removal of spider droppings.
Are spiders beneficial? Should they be considered to be invasive pests?
Spiders are a matter of fascination for some and a nightmare for others. If you aren’t afraid of spiders, you should let them live in your house.
Spiders are, in fact, highly beneficial to us that they shouldn’t be considered to be an invasive pest. Let us have a look at how spiders can be of help to us.
They can keep the other pests at bay
If you know the diet of a spider, you will understand how they could keep the other pests at bay. Spiders are mainly found to feed on the common household pests such as mosquitos, roaches, flies, and so on.
These insects are the primary carriers of deadly diseases, and the spiders will take care of them for you.
Spiders show cannibalism
This might sound bizarre, but yeah, spiders show cannibalistic nature. This means that if you have one big spider living in your basement, you don’t have to worry about the smaller ones.
How to keep spiders away?
If you can’t handle spiders dangling from your roof and want to keep them away, you can follow any of these remedies.
1. Use vinegar-water mixture: Spiders have a strong aversion towards the smell of vinegar. Spray this mixture on windows, cracks, and crevices and on dark corners on the roof to keep the spiders away. Make sure that you don’t spray the mixture directly on the spider as it can kill them. Instead of vinegar, you can also use a few drops of different essential oils.
2. Rub orange and lemon peel: The scent of citrus fruits can be an effective deterrent against spiders. Be careful while you rub or spray these on to surfaces as it can damage the paint job.
That being said, the most effective deterrent against spiders is to keep your home clean. Spiders thrive in dark and dusty places, so make sure that you don’t give them any such places to thrive!