How Long Do Spiders Live? Exploring the Average Life Cycle
By: Rita Stadler
Common house spiders, on average, live for about one year. This all depends on the species, though, as some can live to be around 7 years old. There are even some types that can live up to 30 years!
Below, we explore the lifespan of a common household spider. We discuss their different stages of life, what spiderlings are, how long they live, how long they can live without food, and more. This information could help prepare you for the next time you see one in your home.
The Spider Life Cycle Stages
Baby spiders hatch from a spider egg sac and are called spiderlings. An egg sac may contain as many as 1,000 spider eggs! Since they lay eggs, you will never see a pregnant spider, but you may see one carrying her egg sac on her back. In other instances, mothers will attach their egg sacs in crevices or sheltered areas.
The eggs can hatch in just a few weeks if conditions are favorable (such as during spring or summer, when temperatures are warm and moisture is plentiful). Spider egg sacs may also “overwinter” or wait out the cooler weather in a dormant state before hatching.
When spiderlings hatch, they look like miniature adult spiders with eight legs, a head, and a body. They are usually black, brown, or grey and don’t have any distinctive colors or markings. Spiderlings are not dependent on their mothers and will often start life alone. As soon as they hatch, they leave their siblings, looking for a home to call their own.
For most species, nearly all of the eggs spiders lay will hatch into spiderlings, including hobo spiders and orb weavers. But some species don’t fare so well. The Giant House Spider, for example, will only hatch 1% of around 50 eggs per sac.
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The average lifespan of spiders is about a year but it depends on the species. For example, the common barn funnel weaver has a life expectancy of up to 7 years, black widow spiders can live for up to 3 years, wolf spiders can live up to a year, and tarantulas can live anywhere from 10-30 years! Gender is another factor. Females tend to live longer than males. People are probably their biggest threat. Curious cats and dogs can also bring an abrupt end to their life.
Spider life is a solitary life. Adults do not live in groups or colonies. House spiders are not territorial or aggressive, but living alone gives them better chances of catching enough food without needing to share. They don’t need to eat daily and can survive long periods of time without food, but they will eat often if food is abundant. Spiders do need to drink water, though. They often drink from dew drops, condensation, or other sources like a dripping faucet, leaky appliance, or pet bowl.
Most of their time is spent waiting. They wait patiently in their webs for a meal. Spinning a web does not take much time or effort for the common house spider, so they will abandon a web that isn’t catching many bugs, moving on to another location. Ideal locations for spider webs are areas where other insects may be found such as in attics and basements near a light, door, window, food, or water source.
How Long Can They Live Without Food?
The amount of time that spiders can live without food varies between different species of spiders. Larger species tend to live longer without food than smaller species, but in general, they can go anywhere from 30-60 days without food. Even baby spiders can go without food for nearly the same amount of time as their adult counterparts. They don’t have a daily eating routine and will eat whenever they’re hungry or whenever they manage to catch prey.
Spiders are mostly carnivores and prefer to eat live or recently killed prey. The arachnids you find in and around your home usually eat insects. Common foods include flies, mosquitos, gnats, ants, and moths, but they will eat most insects caught in their webs, such as earwigs, crickets, cockroaches, centipedes, and even spiders of different species. Hunting spiders that don’t make webs will often hunt down larger insects such as grasshoppers, beetles, and crickets.
Access to water can also impact the amount of time a spider can live without food. If water is easily accessible, they can survive for longer periods of time.
In cases of food shortages, it’s possible for female spiders to even eat their babies after they’ve hatched and for siblings to eat their newborn family members.
You can take steps to prevent these pests from coming into your home, but if you do find one, you may not want to try waiting to outlive it. Your best bet is either to keep learning more about household spiders and how to get rid of them, or start using a kinder form of pest prevention that is guaranteed to work.