If I throw a really large spider out of my window (first floor) into my neighbours' back garden, will the spider survive?

Last edited by Alistair McGowan (23rd Apr 2007 12:06:42)

Charlie,

Not that we here at Ask a Biologist would condone the launching of spiders (or anything else) out of windows, even in the name of science, I have to say the spider would almost certainly survive.

This is related to the fact that spiders are not heavy (even large ones), so even though, all thing being equal, everything will accelerate at G (the gravitational constant 9.8m/sec/sec), they are much less likely to go splat than a heavier object. Secondly, if thrown onto a garden, the grass will provide a much softer landing platform than, say, concrete.

Third, and most importantly, spiders (and most other leggy terrestrial inverts), have a high surface area against volume. This means that they have a large surface to act as an aerofoil and thus slow descent (much as cats spread their legs when falling from heights, or think of a feather floating down) against a small volume (and in this case we can think of this as equating to mass). So, low weight in addition to high aerofoil properties means that a spider ejected from your premises in such a manner will (should) survive.

Hope this answers your question.

Dave.