Creepy Crawlies: Are Spiders Nocturnal? Do Spiders Sleep At Night?

Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Jan 30, 2023 By Rajnandini Roychoudhury
Originally Published on Oct 27, 2021
Fact-checked by Nishtha Dixit
A beautiful Macro-photo of a beautiful female spider.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 9.2 Min

Spiders belong to the class Arachnida, an order of Araneae that also includes ticks, mites, and scorpions.

There are almost 49,623 known species of spiders found across the world. Each species is different from the others in several ways; there is a spider species that can jump on demand and a cannibal spider species that looks like a pelican.

Most species of spiders are nocturnal and will usually run off if alarmed unless they are protecting their young or eggs. During the day, spiders tend to conceal in their web or crevices or wall cracks. Spiders do not bite unless they are provoked. These creatures help in controlling the population of insects, playing a very important part in balancing nature. However, species such as the garden orb-weaver or the jumping spider are among some of the diurnal spiders.

Few species have changed to a diurnal lifestyle from a nocturnal lifestyle. During the day, diurnal spider species use their excellent sight to hunt for food due to their strong vision. On the other hand, nocturnal spider species rely on their webs to hunt for food. Spiders can sense the heat of their prey, and the vibration on the web from the movement of their prey. Their eyes contain tapeta, which is an eye layer found in nocturnal creatures.

Why are spiders nocturnal?

Spiders are both diurnal and nocturnal, however, the activities of spiders mostly depend on their habitat.

There are many reasons behind why most of the species of spiders are active at night and the first among them is to avoid their predators, which is a result of the evolutionary process. This evolutionary process has also helped these animals to avoid the danger of being exposed to the ultraviolet rays coming from the sunlight, which affect their web weaving capabilities.

Spiders can switch their eyesight with other senses that help them to hunt during the night. Other senses, such as motion and smell are used to identify the surrounding environment and hunt. Nocturnal spiders, depend on captivating methods to catch their prey and have the ability to become motionless for hours.

Though many spiders are nocturnal, they have a rest and active pattern. Similar to humans and animals, spiders also need to rest their bodies but do not sleep. The ability to do so is crucial for many spiders that hunt for food using webs because spiders need to stay still for hours in a single location, waiting for their prey to get trapped in the web.

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How many species of spiders are nocturnal?

Most species of spiders are nocturnal and are more active during the night.

One of the nocturnal spider species that is quite well known is the orb-weaver that is active mostly during the nighttime. Orb-weaver spiders hunt with patience as you can find these spiders sitting away from their web and sitting patiently until they sense the shaking of their web, which is caused by their prey getting trapped. Orb-weaver spiders build a new web every single day and usually, during the evening, they then consume the old web. After resting for an hour, the orb-weaver starts weaving a fresh web on the same site.

Common spider bites look similar to any other insect bite. If a spider bites you, you may notice a tiny, itchy red spot on your skin, which might irritate your skin, but it will clear up in a matter of days.

In North America, there are two spider species whose venomous bites can be serious and do damage to humans, which can be even deadly in some cases.

The brown recluse spider is another species that is only active at night and it is one of the venomous North American spiders. Brown recluse spiders prefer to build their webs in dark, remote areas where no one can disturb them and will only bite animals or humans if provoked.

Wolf spiders are also nocturnal and are mostly active at night, these spiders are burrow-dwellers, instead of the normal web dwellers where they hunt for their prey. The diet of wolf spiders comprises other small spider species and various insects and they often wait for a long period for their prey. These nocturnal spiders can be easily found foraging for food in the early morning hours.

Diurnal spiders are active during the day with the sole purpose of hunting, and never hurt a human unless it feels susceptible to danger. Nocturnal spiders usually do not move much at night and depend on their webs to trap their prey. So, there are very few chances for you to likely run into a spider at night unless you come across its web.

Are house spiders nocturnal?

Most house spiders are nocturnal, these spiders are most active at night. You can find these spiders active during daytime only if they are in danger or protecting their young ones from predators.

House spiders are predators and paralyze their prey before killing them with their venom. These spiders have two body regions, the head with eight eyes and the abdomen with 4-6 pairs of limbs. All spiders are venomous, but only a few of them are harmful to humans. Female house spiders lay 20 eggs in a single sac or more than a few hundred eggs in several sacs after mating for a week or more. These eggs get hatch within a few weeks and they are taken care of by the females.

Spider and spider web in dew.

Are black widow spiders nocturnal or diurnal?

Black widow spiders are nocturnal and usually build their nests in out-of-the-way places where no one can disturb them. These spiders are solitary and are seen together only during the breeding period.

The most important characteristic of these spiders is their comb foot, which is used by these spiders to glitch silk over the captured prey. Male black widow spiders are usually smaller than a female but their legs are considerably longer when compared. A male spider manifests red and white stripes on its abdomen whereas, a female has orange and brown markings on its joints. The spiders use their webs to trap their prey and sometimes you can find a female spider hanging a cocoon from the side of their webs which contains hundreds of eggs.

The false black widow spider is about the same size as a black widow and does not have the red hourglass pattern on its belly like the true black widow. These spiders are more oval-shaped and have vague, light colors on their bodies.

The bites from false back widow spiders can be painful and have similar symptoms to the black widows, though much more mellow. A victim of a false black widow may see the bite begin to swell and it may become gravely painful for the first hour. Some people experience a sickness such as exhaustion, nausea, malaise, and headache for a few days. 

Facts About Various Spider Species

Huntsmen spiders are not dangerous at all since they run away if they notice a human approaching them. This spider is quite useful at home since it preys on small insects and helps in keeping the house free from small insects.

Cobweb spiders are the most common spiders you can find. These spiders can be found in an open garden, damp basements, and caves. These spiders weave cobwebs with their fine silk and wait in nearby vents to trap their prey. Cobweb spiders have an elongated abdomen and are yellowish-brown.

Jumping spiders are small and dark with short legs. This spider has the best vision among all the other spider species and can see up to 18 inches away from them. They weave short webs to retreat into. They are diurnal spiders and love to spend their time outside during the day. These spiders are non-poisonous.

Long-bodied cellar spiders are pale yellow to light brown and they have small bodies with long and thin legs. These spiders are found in humid spaces and they are venomous but not for humans, as they can't bite into human flesh, hence, these spiders are not dangerous for humans.

Tarantula spiders live in warm climates and are considered the most venomous spider of all. These spiders belong to the Theraphosidae family and are generally hairy and large. The bite of a tarantula is similar to a bee sting, and if you get bitten by them and if there is any physical discomfort, you should immediately seek medical attention. Due to their obedient and unconventional character, tarantulas are regarded as pets.

Camel spiders belong to the Arachnida family, order Solifugae, they are not true spiders. These spiders have a pair of sensory pedipalps and eight legs, they are large, hairy, and tan-colored and reach up to 6 in (15.2 cm) in length. camel spiders are carnivores and feed on rodents, small birds, and lizards. They are quick runners and are habituated to living in desert conditions.

Hobo spiders are outdoor creatures found near construction sites, railroads, or warehouses, hiding under ledges, rocks, and caves. They have long legs, a brown body, and a grey abdomen with yellowish markings. These spiders weave tube-shaped or funnel-shaped webs to hide. They can run very well on the ground but cannot climb as they are terrestrial creatures.

Golden silk spiders are giant spiders that are brownish and orange-colored and are found mostly in woods and forests. These spiders produce sticky webs among trees and shrubs and have clumps of bristles on their legs. They feed mostly on insects such as moths, flies, and wasps.

Redback spiders are also known as Australian black widows and are considered very poisonous. These spiders can be found living near human settlements in untidy silk webs. Redback spiders feed on insects by trapping them in their webs and stinging them repeatedly. Redback spider bites on humans are painful and can lead to headaches, nausea, and soreness.

Goliath birdeater spiders are the largest spider species and they belong to the tarantula family. Going against the nature of their names, these spiders rarely eat birds. Male goliath birdeaters can survive up to six years only, whereas a female can live up to 25 years because females cannibalize on the male spider's body after mating.

Brazilian wandering spiders, also known as armed spiders, are large and brown with black spots on the underside of the abdomen. Unlike a vast number of diurnal species of spiders, these spiders have nocturnal habits that carry on until the morning as they forage for insects and other food sources to. These species are considered to be the most dangerous spiders in the world and can kill a human if it happens to come across them in their natural environment.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for creepy crawlies: are spiders nocturnal? Do spiders sleep at night? Then why not take a look at revealing the truth: are spider plants toxic to cats? Or have you ever asked yourself, how is holy water made?

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Written by Rajnandini Roychoudhury

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

Rajnandini Roychoudhury picture

Rajnandini RoychoudhuryBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Master of Arts specializing in English

With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature. 

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