When you’re walking outside and you suddenly feel something brush across your arm, do you immediately fear the worst? The worst is a spider, of course.
Well, arachnids are about to get a little more terrifying.
Spiders consume anywhere from 400-800 million tons of prey during a given year, according to a new study published earlier this month in the journal The Science of Nature.
Humans, on the other hand, eat an estimated 400 million tons of meat and fish each year. That means spiders eat as much or more meat than all 7 billion humans on Earth.
The authors of the study, Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer, reached this number by estimating the food needs of a spider based on its biomass and by looking at how many spiders live in a square meter of land in each type of major habitat.
Although spiders don’t eat humans (whew), if they decided to take over the world, they theoretically could eat the estimated 287-millon ton weight of the human population.
There is hardly any terrestrial area on this globe where spiders would be missing.
—Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer
If you aren’t freaking out yet, just wait.
Scientists found that there are about 131 spiders per square meter of land worldwide.
A. L. Turnbull noted in his 1973 article Ecology of the True Spiders, that spiders have been found from “the most northern islands of the Artic, the hottest and most arid of deserts, at the highest altitudes of any living organisms, in the depths of caves, in the intertidal zone of ocean shores, in bogs and ponds, on high, arid moorlands, sand dunes and flood plains.”
Oh, and they are probably lurking in your bedroom too.