6 March 2024

Snake vs Spider: Who will win? A Riverina family has discovered the answer

| Chris Roe
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This little brown snake did not last long in the orb-weaver's web.

This little brown snake did not last long in the orb-weaver’s web. Photo: Evie Lord.

It’s one of those classic questions: Which would win in a battle between a shark and a crocodile? Or, between a snake and a spider? While the former remains open to debate, a family in Junee now has the answer to the latter.

Australia is famous the world over for its vast array of dangerous creatures and the internet is awash with non-Aussies freaking out about our critters.

The fact that many of them can fit in your shoe is something that tourists seem to find particularly terrifying.

For Greg and Evie Lord, keeping an eye out for creepy crawlies and snakes is part of life on the land.

“We’ve got a toddler so we are aware of snakes and spiders and things and you don’t really want them around the house,” Greg said.

“We see a couple of snakes every summer. They’re not uncommon, but it’s not like you see them every day.”

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So, it was with some surprise that Greg read the text from his wife on Tuesday (5 March), describing her close encounter with both a snake and spider near the front door.

“There’s a brown snake caught in a spiderweb,” laughed Greg, reading the message that accompanied a pic of a small snake struggling against the sticky threads while a large orb-weaver watches on.

“The web is between two trees just on the entrance to our veranda, which is normally where we would walk through to get into our front door,” he explained.

“It’s right about head height so she took the photo while I was out and about and it was still there when I got home.”

Snake vs spider in Junee.

Snake vs spider in Junee. Photo: Evie Lord.

While the little snake appears to be very much alive in the first photo, Greg said it was not moving much by the time he returned.

A second photo shows the spider busily entwining the snake in its webbing and Greg said it seemed pretty clear who had won the battle.

“I didn’t get close enough to really see, but I would imagine that if it was still enough to be wrapped up, it’s probably lunch,” he mused.

“I was gonna see who won and then dispose of the winner.

“With the toddler around I probably can’t really leave it there.”

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While clearly the orb-weaver has enough venom to take care of the occasional snake once ensnared, they are generally not harmful to humans and rarely bite.

According to a 2021 study from the University of Basel, spiders eating snakes is not uncommon with venomous spiders like the redback and orb-weaver able to prey on snakes up to 100 times their size.

And how do they eat them, you ask?

Well, slowly. The spider spews out digestive enzymes which break down the snake’s tissues into a liquid that they can then slurp up.


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