Spiders are eight-legged arthropods that fascinate certain people and serve as nightmares to others. Spiders are eight-legged and live in almost every corner of the world with about 43,000 identified species.
Spiders are everywhere. There is hardly a house without a spider infestation. If you search your home properly, you are bound to find cobwebs around.
Despite being uninvited guests in homes, spiders are not considered invasive pests. They are not seen as a threat because mostly, they keep away from humans and do not cause any harm or trouble. They are beneficial as they serve as a natural insecticide.
You may have watched a spider trap its prey in a web and eventually eat it. But have you ever seen its droppings? Do they even poop? If yes, what does spider poop look like?
Spiders poop, just like every other animal. We simply do not catch them relieving themselves.
So what does spider poop look like? The droppings of a spider are similar to a highly viscous liquid with a dark appearance.
If you take a close look at the walls or skirting boards of your house, you may find an unusual stain that resembles a paint splatter. That is a spider poop.
Most people imagine spider droppings to be solid because of the food they eat. But this is false.
Spider droppings pose a serious challenge to humans, although they are not as toxic as other droppings from invasive pests. These droppings can stain upholstery, furniture, walls and fabric. The stains are usually difficult to remove.
This article will explore spider droppings, how to identify them and other interesting facts about spiders and their poop.
Do spiders poop?
Yes, Spiders poop. All living organisms that eat have to excrete waste and spiders are not an exception. The myth that suggests that spiders do not poop developed because it is rare to see a spider in action.
Spiders can survive for days without food. Big tarantulas, for example, can survive a week with no food. They eat only when food is abundant.
These arthropods have a low metabolic rate, and as a result, ingestion, digestion, and excretion become a prolonged process.
Due to the low metabolic rate, spiders do not have to eat much. This implies that the sighting of spider droppings depends on how much food is available.
What does spider poop look like?
Spider droppings resemble a paint splatter in that they are semi-liquid, squishy and dark in color. However, this color may have shades of black, brown, grey or white due to its omnivorous diet.
Generally, spider droppings are dark splats, but the shades vary based on the specie of spider.
You can find droppings on surfaces that are above the ground area with droppings seen underneath the spider web. On the walls and under furniture are the best places to find spider droppings.
Why do spider droppings leave tough stains?
If you want to understand why the stains of spider droppings are difficult to clean, you must first understand the digestion process they undergo.
A look at the small insect’s spiders trap in their web creates the impression that spiders feed on solid food. But this is not so.
Spiders cannot ingest or digest solid food, and this is because they do not have teeth used in chewing or biting food.
What’s more, spiders have filters in their guts to ensure no solid food reaches their stomach.
Instead, when the prey gets trapped in a spider web, the spider paralyzes the insect with its venom then wraps it up in its silk.
There are two different ways that spiders consume prey:
1. Certain spiders expel digestive enzymes on their prey and digestion occurs, outside the body of the spider.
The enzymes these spiders expel are strong enough to liquefy the tissues of the insect.
Once the enzymes disintegrate the insect, the spider goes ahead to suck it in like juice. Only this partially digested food reaches the spider’s stomach, and it is usually in liquid form.
The stomach, in turn, pushes this partially digested food deeper into the gut of the spider for further digestion.
2. A different way that spiders digest prey is using their fangs to inject digestive enzymes into the prey.
When the ingestion process is complete, the prey is entirely liquefied, including its internal organs. The spider then sucks in the juice and digests it.
In either of the consumption tactics, only the liquid form of the food reaches the stomach, and it always has a lot of enzymes acting on it.
Strong digestive enzymes can be found in spider droppings, and this is what causes the tough stains on surfaces.
Do spiders urinate?
Some people wonder if spiders urinate or not and this is because of how viscous spider poop is. Several people believe spiders pass out urine along with their poop due to the semi-liquid nature of the poop, but this is false.
Urine is a liquid waste that contains mostly urea and nitrogen. Water, however, is a luxury to spiders. Have you ever come across a spider drinking water?
Spiders retain a lot of water and moisture in their body. They have special structures called the Malpighian tubes, which aid in removing nitrogenous waste from the spider’s body.
Instead of converting the nitrogenous waste to liquid, the Malpighian tubules convert the waste into uric acid. Uric acid comes in solid form and does not dissolve in water. Thus, spiders excrete this waste alongside their digestive wastes.
Certain spiders can convert nitrogenous waste into a different substance known as dry guanine. Guanine is a base of nucleic acid that is white and powdery and is excreted alongside digestive waste. Sometimes, spiders deposit guanine on their body as a form of camouflage.
Is spider poop toxic?
Even though most feces are toxic, spider droppings are not toxic. Spiders are known to consume insects that carry deadly pathogens or microbes. Spider poop, however, does not contain any of these microbes or pathogens.
For example, the favorite snack of spiders is the filth flies. These flies are known to carry about a hundred deadly pathogens, capable of making a person sick. Scientifically, these pathogens should be present in spider poop, but they are not. This phenomenon has fascinated biologists.
Recently, a study was carried out on the black widow spider’s poop to find out its possibilities as a pathogen carrier. Thus spider droppings were kept in a growth medium to multiply the bacterial load in the poop.
Despite keeping the spider poop in a growth medium, the researchers were surprised to not find any pathogens in the droppings.
A lot of research has been ongoing to identify the presence of microbial inhibitors in spider poop, and on learning more about them. Researchers are still unsure if all spiders possess this ability or not.
Spider droppings are not toxic. However, it would be best if you still exercise caution while cleaning these spider droppings.
How to safely remove spider poop?
As earlier mentioned, spider droppings are not toxic. To be safe, however, you should wear gloves, boots, and a mask. With the absence of bacteria and other microbes in spider droppings, you can clean the droppings by merely sprinkling water or wiping it down with a wet cloth.
The semi-liquid nature of spider poop means it can easily wash away. The stain leaves behind, however, won’t wash out so quickly. Below are steps you can take to wipe off these tough stains:
1. If the poop is outside or in spots where water is available, then you should get rid of the dried up or loose poop by spraying water on it. You can use a pressure pipe or a hose to spray the water.
2. Create a bleach solution by dissolving bleach in water. Make sure to use oxygen bleach and not chlorine bleach as oxygen bleach is environmentally friendly. Feel free to add stain removers to your solution.
3. Next, use a hard brush and your bleach solution to scrub the stain thoroughly. Let the mixture stay on the stain for 10 to 15 minutes. After that, wash it off with water using a hose or a pressure pump. You can repeat this step until the stain is entirely off.
Are spiders beneficial? Should they be considered to be invasive pests?
If spiders do not scare you, then you can allow them to live in your house.
Spiders can be highly beneficial to humans and thus should not be considered invasive pests. Below are ways spiders can be beneficial to human beings.
Spiders can keep the other pests at bay
If you know what spiders feed on, you will understand that they help keep other pests at bay. Spiders are known to feed on household pests such as roaches, mosquitos, flies, etc.
These pests are primary carriers of deadly diseases. Spiders will get rid of them for you.
Spiders show cannibalism
Strange, but it is true! Spiders show cannibalistic tendencies, and this implies that if you have a big spider in your basement, it can feed on all the other smaller ones.
How to keep spiders away?
If you cannot stand the sight of spiders dangling from your furniture or rooftop and want to keep them away, you can use any of these remedies.
1. vinegar-water mixture: Spiders hate the smell of vinegar. Make a vinegar-water mixture and spray it on windows, cracks, and on the roof to keep spiders away. Ensure not to spray the mixture directly on a spider because this can kill it. If you do not have vinegar, you can use any essential oil.
2. Rub orange and lemon peel: The scent of citrus fruits is effective in deterring spiders. Take precautions while rubbing or spraying these surfaces as it can damage the paint.
Finally, keeping a clean home is the most effective way to keep spiders away. Dusty and dark places are great spots for spiders to thrive. Ensure you do not allow them to thrive!