You might have heard or even seen it already but spiders don´t have ears. Interestingly enough, they still seem to be able to hear or at least sense sounds. In this article, I will tell you exactly how spiders sense sound and how they react to different sounds like screams and music.
As a whole, spiders can hear even though they don´t have ears. Spiders can sense vibrations such as sound waves with the very sensitive hairs on their body. But not every spider can hear only the ones that have these sensory hairs such as jumping spiders and tarantulas for example.
Spiders can also not hear very well. They can detect low frequencies at about 80 to 130 Hz the best. High frequencies can be sensed by the spider but not very well.
The hearing sense of the spider is generally very underwhelming. While it is impressive that they can detect sound with hairs on their body it will not be as clear as we humans hear. It probably all sounds very unclear and muffled to them.
How Do Spiders Hear?
But how are they actually able to sense these vibrations?
Spiders have tiny vibration sensing receptors that can sense vibrations on the ground as well as sound waves that travel through the air. Spiders can sense sound from up to 5 meters away and other kinds of vibrations probably from even farther away.
Spiders are able to sense frequencies between 100 hertz and 10000 hertz. Although most spiders can sense frequencies that their prey produces the best.
The ogre-faces spider also called the net-casting spider, reacts best to frequencies that would resemble the noise of a flying bug that they usually hunt.
While most jumping spiders reacted especially well to frequencies that would match the sound of the wings of a parasitoid wasp, which is a predator of jumping spiders.
Spiders Can Hear You Scream
A lot of people with arachnophobia are wondering if spiders can hear them scream and if they react in a bad way when screamed at. If you have arachnophobia then you will know that you can´t help but scream or react in other irrational ways when you see a spider. So is it bad to scream when you see a spider?
As a whole, most spiders can hear screams. Spiders like the jumping spider or the tarantula that have vibration-sensing hairs on their body are able to sense sound waves. Spiders that don´t have hairs are not capable of hearing. Spiders are also quite bad at hearing high-pitched sounds.
Even if a spider hears you scream they don´t tend to be aggressive. They will most likely just run away from you when they hear your scream.
So if you encounter a spider and you scream out of fear then try to move away from the spider to make sure that you don´t accidentally cut off its escape route. Then the spider will most likely run away and search for a hiding spot.
If you cut off its escape route then you might force the spider to run towards you in order to escape, which isn´t pleasant for either of you.
Spiders Can Hear You Talk
You might be wondering how well spiders are able to hear and you might be surprised by the answer.
As a whole, spiders can hear people talking at normal volume from around 3 to 5 meters away. They are able to hear low-frequency male voices better than higher frequency female voices. They usually don´t react to human voices as they are usually neither a threat to them nor are they prey.
Spiders that live in the wild, in the tropics, for example, are known to avoid humans when they hear them which is why scientists that were trying to find new spider species in the wild started doing so-called silent walks where they would go into the forest without saying a word to each other.
This helped them encounter a lot more wild spiders than usual.
What Spiders Think About Noise
Now we know that spiders don´t like human voices and try to avoid us in the wild but how do spiders generally react to different noises?
Spiders hate loud aggressive-sounding noises like techno music, hard rock, and construction sounds. But studies also showed that they like calm sounds like relaxing classical music, meditation music, and natural sounds.
So I guess if you want to get rid of the spiders in your home then you should better start listening to heavy metal or hard rock.
And vice versa, if you have a pet spider, like a tarantula for example, then you should maybe avoid listening to metal music too loudly or you might end up stressing your pet spider.
Valentin is one of the two founders of Animal-Knowledge.com, a website dedicated to teaching people about pets and wild animals alike. He is the grandchild of a former pet store owner, so it is no wonder that he loves animals and is fascinated by them and he loves to share his passion and knowledge with others.