Questions for “Spiders can take down and feast on surprisingly big snakes”

a scarlet snake caught in a black widow web

In Georgia, this brown widow spider (Latrodectus geometricus) snared a juvenile scarlet snake (Cemophora coccinea) in its web.

Daniel R. Crook

To accompany “Spiders can take down and feast on surprisingly big snakes


Before Reading:

1.  What is a spider and on what do these animals usually feed?

During Reading:

1.  What is an Australian redback and what especially dangerous snake has it been documented to take down? How does this spider get and kill a snake-y meal?

2.  How many separate accounts of snake eaters did Martin Nyffeler and Whit Gibbons track down for their new analysis? On which continents were the snake-eating spiders found?

3.  How many families of spiders have been shown to eat snakes?

4.  What type of spiders are the most successful snake slayers, according to the new report?

5.  How much bigger than the spider can its snake prey be?

6.  What other unusual spider diets has Nyffeler uncovered?

After Reading:

1.  The idea of a small spider taking down a big snake is surprising. But why? Describe all aspects of this phenomenon that contribute to making it surprising.