An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Spider Winter Survival Tactics

Spiders are cold-blooded, or ectotherms. Their body temperature is regulated by external sources and can vary with the environment without doing them any harm. When cold weather comes spiders that overwinter as adults adapt in several ways. Their metabolism slows down and they become less active. Eventually they become dormant, entering diapause, a hibernation-like state.  At the same time, they start producing glycol and protein compounds which act as antifreeze and lower the temperature at which their cells will start freezing.  A spider has to get to at least 23 degrees F. to freeze, and sometimes considerably lower.

Where a spider spends the winter depends in large part on the species. Some seek shelter in places where temperatures remain a little warmer than outdoors, such as in leaf litter, rock piles, building cracks and under loose bark. To help block cold wind, some will even build themselves a little pod with their silk, enclosing themselves until it is warm enough to become active again.  (Photo:  spider in silk pod behind loose bark)

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3 responses

  1. kathiefive

    Sometimes it amazes me how closely you look, Mary.

    November 11, 2019 at 9:19 am

    • Kathie, at this time of year I am working extra hard to find anything of interest enough to post about it! Includes looking behind bark! Hoping the coming snow will mean some interesting track stories!

      November 11, 2019 at 12:37 pm

  2. Alice

    Another amazing, adaptive species. Hibernate well, Spiders, 💤💤 I’ll look forward to seeing you in the Spring.

    November 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm

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