Food Consumption: Arachnids vs Humans

Did you know that arachnids, aka spiders, collectively weight 25 million tonnes and consume approximately 400 to 800 million tonnes of animal prey every year.

This puts them in a league with “humans as a species, and whales as a group. Each of these consumes, on an annual basis, in the region of 400m tonnes of other animals.” (Economist, 2017, p82).

Interestingly, it is estimated that the total mass of humans on earth is somewhere between 400 to 500 million tonnes.

Not really anything to do with the military, but nonetheless interesting, and a good pub question/answer – if it ever comes up!


The Economist (2017) Spider Bites. The Economist. 18th March 2017.

Nyffeler, M. & Birkhofer, K. (2017) An estimated 400–800 million tons of prey are annually killed by the global spider community. The Science of Nature. 104(30). doi:10.1007/s00114-017-1440-1.


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