If you have a pet spider or plan to get it yourself, you might wonder about their poop habits. A lot of spider lovers have different questions about the behavior of a spider to its physiological features.
In case you are wondering, do spiders poop? Then, you have landed in the right place. Here you can find the answer to this fun question and some interesting facts that you will love to know.
Do spiders poop? Well, a spider poops. It is a living being, just like any animal. Hence, scientifically they also need to clear their digestive system and get nutrition. Like all other living beings, a spider also removes all the water from its body after digestion.
But, scientists have a different name for the poop of a spider. It is called “Frass“. In general, the solid excreta of an insect is called frass. Hence, your spider excretes frass, not poop. But it poops!
How often does a spider poop?
A spider has a different frequency of excreting. They do not frequently poop like many other animals. A spider has lower metabolic heat and conserves as much energy as possible. A spider may rest and lower its metabolic rate till it catches another prey to eat.
Hence, they don’t defecate a lot. In this case, the frequency of defecating is proportional to the frequency of eating. So, for example, if a spider does not eat for days, it will not poop for those days and conserve energy.
For example, a tarantula spider may not defecate for a whole week as it may not eat during this time. Hence, your pet spider has its own body clock for excreting the waste. So you need to relax and wait till the spider has the right time to do nature’s call.
This unique habit is the reason for the diet a spider follows. A spider, in general, goes for a liquid diet. It may hunt down prey, but it does not eat it piece by piece. Instead, a spider at first paralyses its prey. After that, it kills the prey with the help of its fang and the venom from its glands.
These venoms often contain neurotoxins and kill the prey instantly. It then sprays the enzyme juices and digestive enzymes on the prey to liquefy the flesh. After the prey’s flesh starts to become liquid, the spider sucks it through its tubular mouth.
A spider does not have a digestive system capable of digesting any solid food. Hence, it has to liquefy the food for easy digestion.
Appearance of spider’s poop
Humans are unable to notice the spiders’ poops because these are not openly and explicitly visible. Spider’s frass generally looks identical to bird’s poop but is smaller in quantity.
It is because spiders eat liquid food. Usually, spider poop are white liquids that become small dots after drying up. There are also spots in different colors like cream, grey, black or even brown. The grass droplets vary according to the size of the spider’s leg.
An average-sized spider with a leg length of 3 inches will have droplets of 0.1 inches in diameter. But, it can be larger in larger species.
In the case of larger spiders, they produce more frass. Some tarantulas may even produce a notable amount of white colored or cream colored grass during a single time. Such poops from a tarantula are more watery and less dense in nature. But, it dries up fast and solidifies in an instant.
Spiders also pee while they poop
A spider also has a unique habit. It also pees in solid form. Hence, what you assume as the spider’s face, can be its pee in reality. Well, the truth is a spider’s fur is a mixture of poop and urine.
It happens because spiders only produce uric acid instead of liquid urine. It is insoluble in water. This happens to ensure a spider does it loses water and can remain hydrated for a long time.
A spider usually produces the uric acid inside its “Malpighian tubules“. After that, the solid substance comes into the digestive tract pouch. Then, finally, there is a combination of solid waste or poop.
This unique habit of a spider is also similar to a bird. Hence, it is hard to distinguish the pee and poop of a spider with the naked eye. The insoluble part is the uric acid, and the soluble part is the frass.
How do spiders use their poop?
Spiders have an interesting way of using their frass. They can throw or spray the poop for a long distance up to a foot in larger species. Some spiders like pink toe tarantula or the Avicularia avicularia use its poop as a way to protect themselves. Other spiders use their poops as signals.
Where can you find spider poop?
If you want to find a spider’s poop, you have to follow their frequent paths. It will become easier to spot by their method.
A web-weaving spider usually poops near its nest or web. Hence you can find the poop under their webs. For non-weaving spiders, you can find their poop in the place where they spend a lot of time. In general, the barks of trees, the corners and darker paths under stones are where you have higher chances of finding spider poop.
Is it harmful to humans?
There is a little debate over this factor. In general, spider poop may or may not be toxic. It may be safe while it is fresh. But, after the frass solidifies, the poop becomes harmful.
There is little research on the chances of a spider’s poop being harmful. Even though a spider may host multiple pathogens like the Salmonella Sp., Enterococcus Sp., or Streptococcus Sp., the poop may not be filled with these. A poop of a spider does not contain these pathogens. Researchers deduced that the antimicrobial properties of the spider venom might be responsible for killing the pathogens. Despite that, you should always be safe from frass as it contains harmful uric acid.
Spiders do execute their body waste. But, a spider poops and pees at the same time. It combines the uric acid and the digestive waste together inside its body and excretes the combined waste. As a result, spider poop looks like small droplets of white, cream, black or brown color.