HomeOutdoorsViralLOOK: Yellow Garden Spider Catches Helpless Snake in Its Web

LOOK: Yellow Garden Spider Catches Helpless Snake in Its Web

by Caitlin Berard
Yellow Garden Spider in Its Web
(Photo by AwakenedEye via Getty Images)

The brutality of nature is a well-known truth, but something we as humans don’t often witness firsthand. Except when it comes to spiders, that is, who regularly enjoy their meals inches from our homes, their prey trapped helplessly among the near-transparent threads of their delicate web. This yellow garden spider, for instance, is a fantastic example of the savage nature of the animal kingdom, an entire snake immobilized by the arachnid’s homemade death trap.

Now, yellow garden spiders don’t have the strongest webs in the spider world. That unsettling title belongs to the Darwin’s bark spider, an arachnid that weaves a web 10 times stronger than Kevlar and twice as tough as any other spider’s silk. Don’t let that fool you, though, the web of the brightly colored garden spider is plenty strong enough.

This species of spider produces a web strong enough to capture small and large prey alike. For a spider, that might mean anything from a fly to a relatively heavy critter like a grasshopper or praying mantis. And, every so often, a small snake, should the unlucky reptile find itself caught in the cunning spider’s tangle of silk threads dangling toward the ground.

The intricate web woven by yellow garden spiders contains a unique zigzagging pattern called a stabilimentum. This is a web decoration whose exact function largely remains a mystery. Scientists believe, however, that it’s likely to alert birds to the presence of the web. While a spider can easily catch flies, bees, and other insects in its sticky silk, a bird would simply crash right through it, destroying many hours of hard work.

How Did the Snake Get Into the Yellow Garden Spider’s Web?

While snakes have been known to catch air now and then, they’re typically earthbound creatures. Meanwhile, spiders (with the exception of tarantulas and other ground-dwelling arachnids) make their homes high above the earth, spinning their webs in trees or on homes.

So – how did the yellow garden spider manage to draw the snake several feet into the air to claim the reptile for its next meal? Well, as alarming as the fact may be, it’s not all that uncommon. In fact, some spiders are capable of overpowering snakes 10-30 times their size.

To do this, they leave a series of silk strands hanging loosely below the main web, touching the ground. When an unfortunate snake becomes tangled, the spider drops down from its hiding place nearby, injecting the snake with toxic venom and making it easy prey.

Luckily for us, however, the venom of a yellow garden spider isn’t nearly potent enough to harm a human. While they can bring down insects and small snakes with ease, a vicious bite from a yellow garden spider would feel similar to a bee sting for a human, causing no permanent damage or injury.