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Bat Eating Spiders Everywhere Except for Antartica [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 17, 2013 07:13 PM EDT
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Bat eating spiders? That might sound like something taken out of a science fiction book, but a recent report says they are more common than you might imagine.

Bat eating spiders live on every continent on the world expect for Antarctica, making it quite hard for bats to flee these dangerous spiders. According to a study published March 13 in PLoS ONE, researchers reported on 52 cases of spiders eating bats.

"The dominant group of bat-catching spiders are giant orb-weavers of the genus Nephila," the report states. These forest-dwelling spiders have a leg span of 4 to 6 inches and can weigh as much as 7 grams. "Feeding was found to be most intense in the time between sundown and midnight."

Approximately 90 percent of known bat-catching spiders live in the warmer areas of the globe, in the third of the Earth surrounding the equator. About 40 percent live in the neotropics - the whole of South America, and the tropical regions of North America - while nearly a third live in Asia and more than a sixth live in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

There are two types of bat eating spiders. The first one, forest-dwelling bat-eating spiders, have a leg span of 10 to 15 cm (about 4 to 6 inches) and weigh 1 to 7 grams. Bat hunting was found to be most intense in the time between sundown and midnight when nocturnal bats are most active. There is also a minority of spiders, like huntsman and tarantulas, forage for prey without a web, and have been spotted munching on bats on forest floors. Bats other natural enemies include owls, hawks and snakes.

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