The Washington Post declared today that “spiders could theoretically eat every human on Earth in one year.” Depending on your view of current events, this could actually be good news! The supporters of this change.org petition to Senator Al Franken titled, “Give Spiders All the Help They Need to Eat Every Human on Earth Within One Year” are certainly in favor of it.
Biologists Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer bravely did the math that no one would, and published their findings in The Science of Nature that an estimated 400–800 million tons of prey are eaten annually by the global spider community. I enjoy the use of the phrasing “spider community” here because it lets me imagine the world’s spiders having a giant potluck to eat a shitload of insects. BYOB (bugs)!
For comparison, there are 7 billion humans on the planet who eat a combined total of 400 million tons of meat and fish each year. According to this study, the total biomass of adult humans is 287 million tons, which means that spiders could feast on us at their spider potluck and there would still be some stragglers who’d be like, “I didn’t get to eat, this party is lame and I’m leaving.”
Here are some other spider facts related to this horrifying yet oddly comforting news:
- A survey of urban and suburban homes declared that spiders live in 100 percent of North Carolina homes. They were found in 68 percent of bathrooms and more than three-quarters of bedrooms, so I will be sleeping in the backyard tonight.
- If you’re a total sicko and you combine all of the world’s spiders, they’d weigh 25 million tons.
- The Titanic weighed about 52,000 tons.
- Every spider on Earth combined weighs as much as 478 Titanics.
- Every spider on Earth, combined, could kill Leonardo DiCaprio 478 times.
- Spiders eat about 10 percent of their body weight every day. That's about equivalent to a 200-pound man eating 20 pounds of meat each day, which sounds like an average day for The Rock.
- Based on the above, it would take 2,000 pounds of spiders to eat a 200-pound man in a day. We have to protect The Rock at all costs.
We fret about the number of spiders we consume in our sleep, yet have you ever stopped to think about how many of us they could consume? It’s spiders vs. humans in this spider-eat-human world, and we’re outnumbered, baby.