Arachnophobes stop reading now because scientists have worked out some particularly terrifying maths, spider maths to be specific.
One of the most terrifying things about spiders is the sheer number of them, there are literally billions of them – in fact a recent entomological survey of North Carolina homes revealed that 100 per cent of homes contained spiders.
For the record they also found that 68 per cent of bathrooms and over 75 per cent of bedrooms had an eight-legged occupant, so chances are as you read this you’re currently being stalked by a spider.
So given the sheer number of spiders two European biologists, Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer, recently wondered to themselves: “How much do all the spiders on Earth eat?”
As reported by The Independent, Nyffeler and Birkhofer published their estimate in the journal Science of Nature earlier this month and estimated that all of the planet’s spiders eat between 400 million and 800 million tonnes of prey in any given year.
To put that in context the total biomass of all adult humans on Earth is estimated to be 287 million tonnes. And even accounting for the 70 million tonnes of kids about, it still falls short of the total amount spiders eat.
Theoretically that means that if the spiders ever decided to form a spider army and attacked humanity they could eat all seven billion of us – if we just sat there and let them eat us that is.
To work out their terrifying spider math Nyffler and Birkhofer used estimates based on existing research into how many spiders live in a square meter of land for all the main habitat types on Earth, and the average amount of food consumed by different spiders in a year.
Thankfully most spiders are too small to eat anything more than small insects, although a few have been known to snack on snakes, birds and mammals.