How Much Can A Spider Lift

How Much Can A Spider Lift

Spiders, like ants, can easily lift things many times their own weight. For example, the Tangleweb spider can lift fifty times its weight with its silk, but other species may be able to carry even more.

Calculating the exact muscle of spiders is incredibly difficult, and there are different answers depending on size and species. How much can a spider lift?

A spider can lift at least 8 times its body weight. Proportionally, spiders are around 250 times stronger than humans, so we’re lucky they are so small. Still, some spiders can lift 170 times their own body weight when handling insects for their meals and moving them around within their webs.

How Much Can Spiders Lift

How much weight spiders can lift depends on their size and species. It’s important to note that spiders don’t typically carry things the way we would by cradling them in the arms because they don’t have any.

Instead, spiders tend to wrap things in their silk and lift them with their legs. Spider silk is incredibly strong on its own.

According to Scientific American, “…prodigious as compared with even the strength of metals. A bar of iron one inch in diameter will sustain a weight of 28 tons; a bar of steel 58 tons, and, according to computation based upon the fact that a fiber only one four-thousandth of an inch in diameter will sustain 54 grains, a bar of spiders’ silk an inch in diameter would support a weight of 74 tons.”

How Much Weight Can A Spider Hold

The average spider can hold anywhere from 8 to 170 times its body weight. Unfortunately, while a few calculations have been done, there’s minimal real-world, practical testing on spider strength.

The math is there, but science to back it up is rare or nonexistent, so most of this is based on a highly educated best guess.

Jumping spiders have been observed gripping onto surfaces with a hundred and seventy times their weight without falling.

More weight than that makes them lose hold. Unfortunately, a spider can’t work out to get stronger muscles because doing so wouldn’t necessarily help them and might make it harder to move.

Intriguingly, spiders use more than muscle for lifting and movement. Their legs work on an ingenious hydraulic system.

According to Infinite Spider, “Each leg’s outward movement is controlled through the cephalothorax, which regulates the hydraulic movement and pressure of the hemolymph. Spiders don’t need extensor muscles because they can use fluid movement (aka hydraulics) to push out the legs… flexor muscles in the spider’s legs naturally want to contract, but the hydraulic pressure allows the legs to move outward and resist this contraction.”

How Many Times Can A Spider Lift Its Own Weight

Spiders spend all day lifting their own weight. When a spider climbs a wall or a silk line, it carries its weight with every forward movement.

The act of spinning a web involves lifting themselves, and so does pulling yourself up a line of silk to escape from a curious human or animal.

In short, spiders can lift their weight all day, every day, for their entire lives. No scientist I could find has ever counted.

How Much Can A Tarantula Lift

Tarantulas are known for their strong jaws rather than their ability to lift weights. As one of the largest spiders in the world, you might expect this species also to be one of the best weightlifting spiders, but you’d be surprised.

Based on what has been observed both in captivity and the wild, a tarantula can lift about eight times its weight. These big spiders are ‘weak’ by the standards of their family.

For a human, that would be a massive amount of lift. Imagine a 50 pound child lifting 400 pounds and you’d have the equivalent power for a small, weak spider.

At 170 times their weight, that same 50 pound kid could lift half-ton trucks (which despite their deceptive name weigh 8500 pounds or less).

For the comparison to be close to accurate, they’d have to lift that much in one hand while scaling a wall or climbing a rope with their other hand.

How Much Can A Black Widow Spider Lift

I searched everywhere for information on how strong black widows are and how much they can lift, but none has studied it.

However, there’s one thing black widows do that is incredibly, even ridiculously strong. A black widow produces venom that is as much as fifteen times stronger than rattlesnake venom.

Widows incapacitate prey with their venom and drag it back to their web, but no one knows what the upward limit is for prey weight.

How Much Can A Female Spider Lift

Although the exact amount a spider can lift still varies by species, it is safe to infer that all or nearly all female spiders pull more than the males of the same type.

The female has more body mass, hemolymph, and muscle. For example, female black widows are about an inch and a half long, but the males are only around half that size.

Spiders aren’t the only species with smaller males. However, typically all the male spiders are smaller than the females of the same type.

Unsurprisingly, this happens all the time in nature as the females lay eggs or give birth to young and are often physically stronger out of necessity.

How Strong Is The Strongest Spider

The strongest spider is the jumping spider, with an estimated ‘grip’ strength of a hundred seventy times its body weight.

However, the grip isn’t everything, especially when your species holds and carries things with silk. Darwin’s bark spider has the strongest silk at a tensile strength of up to 520 megajoules per cubic meter.

Plus, Darwin’s bark spiders weave one of the most extensive webs, even though these diminutive spiders are only about an inch long.

Helpful Tips To Know About How Much A Spider Can Lift

However you look at it, regardless of the size, gender, or species of spider, these are powerful creatures. Ants get all the credit, but spiders can lift incredible amounts as well.

Here are a few more helpful tips to know about how much a spider can lift.

  • Spiders are stronger than ants proportionally. While an ant can lift ten to a hundred times its weight, spiders lift eight to a hundred seventy times its weight. However, the grand prize for insect strength goes to the humble dung beetle. According to, “the horned dung beetle (Onthophagus Taurus) takes the gold. A mere 10 millimeters long, the beetle can pull up to 1141 times its own body weight-the equivalent of an average man lifting two fully-loaded 18-wheeler trucks.”
  • The calculations for a spider’s strength are based on the grip because there’s no other logical option. Jumping spiders are considered the strongest because they can hold a hundred seventy times their weight before falling off the surface they’re gripping.
  • Because spiders can’t lift weights for us, everything we know about how much a spider can carry is based on observation, estimates, and math rather than real-world muscle tests. Plus, it’s challenging to measure the muscle output when a creature uses hydraulic hemolymph to flex its limbs.

Final Thoughts

The powerlifters of the bug world certainly include super-strong spiders. Although they aren’t quite the strongest insects alive proportionally, it’s still an impressive amount and far more than a human of the same size could lift.

Ants may get all the fame, but in a fair contest, spiders would win, at least until the dung beetles showed up. Thanks to its diminutive size, we are more in danger from a spider’s venom than its strength.

Ted Smith

My name is Ted Smith and I’m the creator of I have a passion for educating people about animals and wildlife. I have been working with the National Wildlife Federation for the past 10 years and I became a wildlife blogger to help people become excited about animals and encouraged to care for these wonderful creatures.

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