Crab Spider Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Crab spiders are one of many kinds of spiders in the world. Come learn about crab spiders, how they got their name, where they live, what they eat, and some other cool facts about these spiders.

What are Crab Spiders?

Imagine walking through your living room when you see a small spider sitting in the corner. You decide to get a better look so you walk closer. When you get closer, you notice something very interesting about this spider. It looks a lot like a crab! You've just found a crab spider!

Crab spiders are spiders that are similar in shape to a crab and can walk forward, backward, and sideways like the crabs you see on the beach, which is how they got their name.

Crab spiders have flat, wide bodies and 8 legs. The first and second pairs of legs in the front are longer than their other legs and are used to grab snacks.

Crab spider with two sets of long front legs
Crab spider with two sets of long front legs

And though you only have 2 eyes that see straight ahead, crab spiders have 8 eyes so they can see in every direction and spot a meal or an enemy!

Crab spiders don't enjoy spending time with other crab spiders and prefer to live and hunt by themselves.

What Do Crab Spiders Eat?

Crab spiders are carnivores, which means they eat meat. But crab spiders don't spin webs to trap food. Some sit still in one place and wait for a tasty insect to walk by so they can pounce, and others go hunting for their dinner.

Crab spider eating an insect
Crab spider eating an insect

Most crab spiders are diurnal, which means they are most active during the day and are out looking for food, just like most people. They blend in to their surroundings so that they are hard to see and can surprise their snack.

Once they catch an insect, they bite it with their fangs and inject venom. Compared to other spiders, their fangs aren't very big, but their venom works fast.

However, they aren't typically dangerous to people and are actually helpful. A lot of the insects and mites they eat are considered pests by people, so crab spiders help control them when they chow down!

What Eats Crab Spiders?

Although crab spiders can be great hunters, they also have to keep an eye out for insects and animals that want to make a meal out of them. Depending on their habitat, some of their enemies are:

  • Birds
  • Lizards
  • Wasps
  • Ants
  • Other kinds of spiders

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