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Snail Shell Spider

Macro of spider web with a snail shell in the background
ninitta/Getty Images/iStockphoto
snail spider

Animals around the world have evolved with many different strategies for survival. How to get food. How to attract a mate. And how to protect themselves from the elements and potential predators.

Spiders are no different. In terms of finding a safe place to live they might dig a burrow, reside underneath a rock, hide within thick vegetation, or take residence near or in your house.

But when it comes to finding the perfect place to call home, there’s one spider from Madagascar that takes its strategy to new heights …literally.

Called the “Snail Shell Spider”, this species of huntsman spider has devised a unique strategy to secure a room with a view.

For protection, our eight-legged friend searches for an empty snail shell to use as a home. But a snail shell sitting on the ground does not provide much protection from Madagascar’s heat …not to mention the threat of ground dwelling predators. What’s a spider to do?

Rappelling from an overhanging branch, the spider anchors a single strand of silk to the shell. Attaching a second strand, the spider climbs back up to the branch and winches the shell skyward ever so slightly.

The spider continues to make repetitive trips from the branch, to the shell, and back, hoisting the shell higher with each trip – despite the fact that the shell weighs up to twenty times more than the spider itself.

With the shell successfully elevated up to a foot and a half above the ground, the spider adds a few additional strands of silk from different angles for stability. Elevated above the hot ground and safe from predators, its arachnid penthouse is now complete.

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