How Long Can House Spiders Live Without Food?

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How long can spiders survive without food?


We always hang a spare towel over the side of the bath for any spiders that have fallen in. They walk around the bath and must eventually find it and then they are up and away (thank goodness as I don’t want to meet any!)
Wendy (Wales)

I had a spider couple in my bathtub a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t notice them until the water had already begun splashing into the tub: I learned that spiders can swim.

Unfortunately, they had problems climbing up the sides of the tube. I drained the tub of water; put a piece of cardboard where the spiders could climb on it; waited until both were onboard; and carried the cardboard and spiders outside where they belonged.

Blessed be all sentient beings!

I have a shower but no bath, however, that doesn’t stop the spiders. I once had a dirty big huntsman in the shower with me. I didn’t see her at first and when I did. well, picture me naked, dripping water and screaming my head off!

Spiders (our British varieties at least) are harmless beasties so there is no need to scream at them.

You could swill them gently down the plughole. Usually, like nick, I’d entice them onto some paper and then carry them to an open window and put them out. Sometimes, if already naked and shower-ready I’d pick one gently up by one of its antenna and pop it in the hand-basin out of the way while I showered.

I don’t mind spiders :0)

you could make a little ladder ;0)

It’s not that I dislike spiders as such. I just have this fear, if I get him to walk on a piece of card so I can set him free, that he will run off the card, up my arm and down my neck. It’s the thought of leaping around screaming with a spider SOMEWHERE on me that stops me being brave. I certainly don’t wish him ill.

A little ladder, hmm .

It seems to me they can find a way to crawl out of that bathtub Liz. they can crawl out of almost anywhere. I don’t like the little critters either; and I’m constantly disposing of their little eight-legged bodies when I see them. YUCK!

ha ha
i cant say i like spiders, but i dont think ive seen any as big as these ones!

I just left a comment and something went wrong! If it comes out duplicate, perhaps you’d delete it for me.

That’s a tegenaria domestica — harmless, unless you fall downstairs running away from her! Likely it’s female because it’s quite large, and the ‘antennae’ are her palps, and yes, she’s supposed to have them!

They can go a long time without food, so no problem waiting till hubby gets home, but you can remove her by placing a glass upside down over her, and sliding a postcard underneath — giving her time to walk onto it as you go. Then you can lift the whole thing, take it outside, put it down and remove the glass.

There. Aren’t you glad I popped in? LOL!

They can last a long time without food 😉

My husband just lets them float down the plug hole and puts the stopper in and that’s it! LOL. *shiver*. I’m not a fan of spiders. I can handle almost any other insects but nope, not spiders!

Never fear! Leslie’s here!

Not skeered o’ spiders so I’m the designated spider remover in this family.

Now slithery things — watch me run nekkid down the street.

I put a normal house spider in a jar and left it there for like months and when i let it out it was still alive. uhh gross and creepy they can live for years without food or water.

i found a spider my room so i put it in a jar and kept it as a pet. they only need to eat once every few days.

i have a spider in my room a big black british house spider im terrified of them and i cant find it is there anything i can use to lure it out and put it outside i really cant sleep in my bed knowing i could wake up with it on my face!

See also:  How Does It Look When A Spider Bites You?

Kay, there is little you can do other than keep an eye out for it unless it happens to feel hunger then find some living bugs to lure it out? I’ve currently got one trapped in the gap between my window frame and my opening window.. not sure how to get to the not so little house spider.. Was hoping it’d just eventually die as I really dislike handling house spiders, they crawl so very quickly and erratically. Funnel web’s (common garden spiders with often very large abdomens) are lovely and make the palm of my hands tickle when I carry them occasionally out the house.
Hope I was of some help.

I trapped a spider under my daughters favorite cup. im terrified of spiders and so is everyone i know, problem is we are moving next week and my daughter will never forgive me if we leave the cup behind (she’s pretty pissed that i used it to trap it lol) anywayz will it really survive without food and water?

Once i had one on my wall so I tried getting it to leave by putting one of those nuts they don’t like near it. It was working until he got mad at me and jumped. I was so terrified that I ran out of the room and spidey hasn’t been found yet.

I have a spider living in the gaps of a shelf directly on top of my table and it survived for months without food and water you see, how incredible spiders are, living longer without food even longer than human beings. If a see a spider in my bedroom, I usually just leave it. It makes circular spider webs (the ones that im feared of most, than spiders) when i see dead insects like flies and moths, i take them and throw it onto the spider web and the next that happens,all you see is the spider just runs out at a great speed and takes it in its hole. Well spiders are my favorite of all the insect kingdom 🙂

I HATE spiders. I live in Florida where they get HUGE, especially wolf spiders, which is what I’m dealing with now. I would call the one in the picture a medium size. There is one slightly bigger than that currently hiding in my daughter’s room. She has slept on the couch the past two nights. I was hoping it would die from no food or water, or our cat would kill it, but who knows if she will ever find it.

Oh, and spiders aren’t insects — they are arachnids, more closely related to crabs than bugs. All spiders are venomous, it is just a matter of how venomous. Wolf spiders won’t kill a person, but it will leave a painful, necrotic bite that requires medical attention.

All of you need to get a life and stop caring about spiders that don’t care about you!!

Repeat after me. «Spiders don’t eat people. Spiders don’t eat people!»

«Spiders don’t eat people»
Yeah, try telling my wife that after she got bit by a black widow while sleeping. When you or someone you love goes through that kind of pain, you lose all sympathy for spiders. I have no problem with them, as long as they aren’t endangering myself or my loved ones. If they’re in/on/around my house, they’re endangering.

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they can survive 3 weeks ish without food, but only days without water. hence why you found in the bath.

if you put a jar over it and do the postacard trick, flip the jar up and put lid on jar. get hubby to put it out when he gets home, or just leave it.

thse spiders are goodluck and will NOT harm you. unlike funnelwebs, which is total crap about the poster above letting one tickle their hand.

anyway we have those spiders in our house and they take care of bugs we dont remove them ones, only wolf spiders (cause they carry HUNDREDS of young on their back/belly)and we dont usually allow the redbacks and funnel webs to survive because we have too many kids and really need to know where the deadly ones are. they arent so deadly to adults, but to our babies they can be life threatening out here in the country, too far from hospital.

See also:  What Is A Brown Recluse Spider Look Like?

(above poster) my mum has been bitten by a black widow and its really not that bad, your wife needs to harden up a little.

I know many people (including myself) that have been bitten by a spider at some stage (and more than once sometimes), and i can confirm they dont «eat» people. they defend themseves from you and 99% of the time its not a dangerous problem and rarely needs anything more than a little first aid.

google how many people have died from an actual spider bite and you will see, its more hype than anything and people like yourself just spur it on.

Symptoms of a Black Widow Spider Bite
If you are bitten by a black widow spider you may experience one or more of the symptoms listed below. Poison injected by the spider at the time of the bite causes the symptoms, not the bite itself.
Small children and the elderly are often more symptomatic and can have a more severe reaction to the venom of the black widow spider.
If you are not sure if you were bitten by a black widow spider, you should know that the following symptoms can be caused by or resemble other medical conditions. Always consult a physician for a diagnosis.
Symptoms may vary for each individual.
Local pain, redness, burning and swelling at bite site (Some may have minimal pain from the bite itself)
Abdominal pain (pain can be similar to appendicitis) and localized or generalized muscle cramps (stomach, shoulders and back)
Rash and itching
Eyelid swelling
Salivation, tearing of the eyes
Weakness, tremors or paralysis (especially in the legs)
Nausea and/or vomiting
Dizziness and/or fainting
Chest pain (similar to a heart attack)
Respiratory difficulties may follow
High blood pressure

You should try the bath spider remover, since fitting mine I’ve not found a single spider in my bath. Check it out at Good luck!

Nice Post. Do You Know What to do If You’re a Last Minute Prepper? We are constantly telling people to start prepping now, and don’t be a last minute prepper, but not everyone takes heed to.

If I put a cup over a spider, and leave it there for a day, will the spider survive?

Will it travel more slowly since it hasn’t had food for a day?

What if I left the cup there for longer?

2 Answers 2

Just solely in terms of not having food (ignoring the importance of O2 that Ramkryp has pointed out), spiders don’t necessarily have to feed on a daily basis anyway. It’s not the same species of spider as you ask about in your question, but consider:

The metabolic and water evaporation strategies in spiders may be part of a set of physiological adaptations to tolerate low or unpredictable food availability, buffering spiders against environmental fluctuations such as those of the high mountains of the central Andes. The aim of this study is to analyze experimentally the variations in metabolic rate and the rate of evaporative water with food and/or water restriction in a high mountain mygalomorph spider population (Paraphysa sp.). We found that the low metabolism of this spider was not affected by water restriction, but its metabolism was depressed after 3 weeks of food deprivation.

from Canals M, Figueroa D, et al (2011). Effects of diet and water supply on energy intake and water loss in a mygalomorph spider in a fluctuating environment of the central Andes. J. Insect Physiol, 57(11), 1489-94.

The biochemical makeup of the spider may be radically different than most other animals, and breaking down energy stores must take place over a longer timecourse.

To answer the first part of your question: it is extremely unlikely that the spider will die or be weakened after just one day.

Wolf spiders (Lycosids) are all predators. Due to variations in prey populations, and low efficiency of consumption at higher trophic levels, they are subject to inconsistent and unpredictable food supply (Greenstone and Bennett, 1980). They are very well adapted to this lifestyle and consequently, long periods of starvation often yield no behavioural changes (Persons, 1999). It is highly unlikely that the spider will die after just one day: Anderson, (1974) observed no changes in activity after starving Lycosa lenta (a species of wolf spider) for 30 days; and Tanaka and Ito, (1982) observed Pardosa astrigera (another species of wolf spider) living for up to 54 days of starvation. Age and sex of the spider are more likely to affect its behaviour and performance than food or oxygen availability (Persons, 1999).

See also:  What Does A Venomous Spider Bite Look Like? (Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment)

As for oxygen consumption, Greenstone and Bennett, (1980) measure an oxygen consumption of 100µL/hr for wolf spiders. Assuming that your cup is of the size of the unit of volume of the same name, the cup (

0.237L), a small calculation (see figure) shows that there will be enough oxygen for the spider to survive for over 98 days. The oxygen concentration within the cup may decrease as it is used by the spider, however this is likely to have a minimal effect as a cup placed on a surface is unlikely to be hermetically sealed.

In short, oxygen availability is unlikely to have an effect on the spider before other limitations (such as food) are reached. However neither of these effects are likely to cause behavioural changes during the first month.


  • Anderson, J.F., 1974. Responses to Starvation in the Spiders Lycosa Lenta Hentz and Filistata Hibernalis (Hentz). Ecology, 55(3), pp.576-585.
  • Greenstone, M.H. & Bennett, A.F., 1980. Foraging Strategy and Metabolic Rate in Spiders. Ecology, 61(5), pp.1255-1259.
  • Persons, M.H., 1999. Hunger effects on foraging responses to perceptual cues in immature and adult wolf spiders (Lycosidae). Animal Behaviour, 57(1), pp.81-88.
  • Tanaka, K. & Itô, Y., 1982. Decrease in respiratory rate in a wolf spider,Pardosa astrigera (L. Koch), under starvation. Researches on Population Ecology, 24(2), pp.360-374.

Not the answer you’re looking for? Browse other questions tagged zoology or ask your own question.


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How long can a spider live without eating?

Well, I have a spider in my bathroom that has been there for about 2 weeks now. For some odd *** reason, i’ve left it there alive. He’s always in a different spot, and.. I kind of don’t mind. Yeah, it’s weird to because i’m scared of them. Anyways, he’s been here for two weeks, and I suspect he isn’t eating anything.

So how long can a spider live without eating?

7 Answers

Depends on the variety,some will die in a few days while others can last a year or more.

Having developed within the egg a spider ling eventually hatches, not alone however, all the eggs in one egg sac will hatch at roughly the same time. This makes for a crowded web, but at first this is not a problem because the young spiders are still living off yolk-material stored in their abdomens. Eventually however, normally after their first moult, the young spiders need to start finding something to eat. In most species this means it is time to start hunting and that means it is time for the young to disperse, otherwise they will end up eating each other.

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It depends on the species, but Spiders can go a long, long time without eating. Two weeks is nothing. Many could go months if they had to. By not moving around too much, slowing their metabolism, and not expending any unnecessary energy, they can live a long time without food.

Your Spider will not harm you, so don’t worry. He moves at night because he’s resetting his web to try and catch an insect. In fact, he is helping you by guarding your home against unwanted harmful bugs like Cockroaches, Termites, Flies, Gnats, or other pesky insects.

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the spider hanging out in my ceiling brought me here, it made me worry because its not moving, and it has to eat, was thinking of putting it outside so it could eat something but i guess its doing just fine, thanks for the posts.

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They can survive months without food. But it depends on the variety.

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10 months or more.

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yeah let the cool little dude live. he might be eating microscopic little bugs you can’t see somewhere

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Weeks. So BE «patient.» -Cuz you can be Sure- It is !! 🙂

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