We shouldn’t just assume a headline as insanely terrifying as this couldn’t be possible… but I can confirm it comes verified from peer-reviewed scientific papers, with all the necessary data to back it up. In other words, it wouldn’t take much for a literal Arachno-pocalypse to occur… and if it did, we’d probably be ill-equipped to avoid becoming lunch for billions of ravenous eight-legged carnivores.
One scientific study I’m referring to is a survey done by the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, which analyzed a number of factors regarding the regional spider population. Spiders were found in virtually 100% of human habitations surveyed, and in those homes spiders were found in 68% of bathrooms and 75% of bedrooms. In other words, the old saying “You’re never more than three feet from a spider” may not be an exaggeration after all.
But that’s not the scariest part… not by a long shot.
Based on the survey’s findings, biologists Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer did an interesting thought experiment by calculating how much food (insects, birds, lizards, mice and other small animals) would be consumed on average by the entire spider population of the Earth over the course of one year. Their conclusion: the world’s arachnids eat between 400-800 million tons of animal flesh annually.
So consider this — even if the numbers fall the low side of the scale at 400 tons, that still means the world’s combined spiders eat more food than the entire human population on any given year.
But we’re still not done…
The paper contains an even more blood-chilling hypothesis: The estimated mass of all 7 billion humans on Earth comes to roughly 287 million tons… which means the world’s spiders could eat every last one of us and still have room for dessert.
Nyffeler and Birkhofer’s nightmarish data was published in this month’s journal The Science of Nature, along with a few other equally horrifying concepts — including an estimate of the combined weight of all the living spiders on Earth: roughly 25 million tons. For perspective, the team points out this figure is 478 times the weight of the Titanic.
It’s hard to know what to say in the face of this revelation, other than to suggest that you be extremely nice to your eight-legged roommates… which are very likely watching you while you’re reading this.