A recent study featured earlier this month in the journal The Science of Nature revealed that the world's spiders cumulatively devour between 400 million and 800 million tons of insects, lizard, birds, and small mammals each year.
Oddly enough, many spiders were even reported to have developed a taste for fish.
According to the paper — authored by Martin Nyffeler, from the University of Basel, and Klaus Birkhofer, from the Lund University — spiders can ingest annually up to double the amount of meat eaten by all humans combined, which is no more than 400 million tons of meat and fish per year.
Other research points to the voraciousness of spiders, indicating they typically gobble up each day around 10 percent of their body weight in food -— the equivalent of a 200-pound man feasting on 20 pounds of meat on a daily basis.
Merely A Mouthful
It's a proven fact that spiders are avid hunters, and so, in a disturbing bout of curiosity, The Washington Post staff felt the impulse to investigate how long it would take for the arachnids to consume the entire human population on the planet.
Considering the data from National Center for Biotechnology Information, the total biomass of the adult population at around 287 million tons, the journalists did the math and discovered we would only be a snack for the eight-legged rapacious eaters.
Supposing we add to the equation another 70 million tons representing the weight of all the children on Earth, it still wouldn't match the quantity of food the arachnids can swallow yearly.
"In other words, spiders could eat all of us and still be hungry," conclude the reporters.
Spiders Are Everywhere Around Us
An entomological study published a year ago surveyed spider diversity in North Carolina homes, uncovering the insects are widespread in every household. The research showed spiders invade lavatories and bedchambers, dwelling in 68 percent of bathrooms and leaving unclaimed only under one quarter of bedrooms.
Other analysis assessed the median spider density at a global level and found it to be roughly 131 spiders per square meter.
To add to your anxiety, another paper noted city life agrees with the arachnids since urban spiders grow even bigger than their rural counterparts.
As Nyffeler and Birkhofer explain, the amassed spider population worldwide tips the scale at around 25 million tons. To get an idea of this concept, the Titanic reportedly weighed approximately 52,000 tons, which means the collective mass of all the spiders is comparable to 478 Titanics.
Nevertheless, spiders present some undeniable advantages to humans.
Moreover, spiders are among the most effective predators of plant insects, their voracious nature turns into an excellent means of pest control.
Spiders also dispatch unwanted flies in the house and since they particularly prey of mosquitoes, some studies suggest they could be used to curb malaria cases.