Do Spiders Make Clicking Noises? Solved!


Convinced you’ve just heard a spider make a clicking noise!? Well, you might be right.

We all know spiders are quiet, solitary creatures, but do spiders make a noise?

While most spiders don’t produce any sounds, some arachnid species can make various noises for different reasons, including clicking sounds. These noises are made through what is known as stridulation, the action of rubbing two body parts together.

In this post I’ll look at exactly which species of spiders can create sounds, how they do it, and why they make them.

Spiders make noise through stridulation
Some species of spider make noises through a process called stridulation

Do Some Spiders Make Clicking Noises?

Yes, you’re not going mad! There are some species of spiders that make a clicking noise, although they are quite rare.

Spiders also make other types of noises, such as hisses and purrs. Of course, all of these noises are quite quiet.

So, which type of species of spiders make these sounds?

Which Species of Spiders Make Sounds?

It isn’t easy to name every species of spider that can create sounds as there are more than 45,000 in the world!

But we know that the wolf spider and large tarantula species are both capable of making noise.

The wolf spider makes more of a purring sound, whereas a tarantula is more likely to hiss.

Many of these noises are made through what is known as stridulation.

What is Stridulation?

Stridulation is the act of producing sound and vibrations by rubbing two body parts together, usually the legs, and often associated with insects, especially grasshoppers and crickets.

Some creatures are also capable of rubbing their thorax and abdomen together.

Not only is stridulation common in insects, but in other creatures that include crabs and lobsters, fish, snakes, and some species of spiders.

These creatures use stridulation either as a defence mechanism or to find a potential mating partner.

Stridulation in Spiders (Making Clicking Noises)

The type of noise produced by a spider during stridulation depends on the species.

Some make a clicking sound, whereas others produce a hissing or purring sound.

A spider lacks vocal cords, so it cannot use its mouth to produce sound like most other animals.

Instead, a spider uses its first two legs and pedipalps, two small appendages situated at the front of the spider’s head, and which emit noise when rubbed together.

How do Spiders Create Noise?

Small, feathery bristles on the spider’s body parts create noise when rubbed together.

Each bristle carries a series of tiny hooks, while the shaft of each bristle is covered with thin filaments.

These features create vibrations that produce unique sounds when the spider rubs its legs and pedipalps together.

The series of hooks on the bristles of one appendage becomes entangled with the intermediate filaments on the other, creating noise when they pull apart.

Biologists have likened it to the sound of Velcro being torn apart.

Usually, only a spider of the same species can hear these sounds.

That said, humans can hear stridulation noises created by large species of tarantulas up to 15 feet away and can also hear the purring sounds made by wolf spiders.

Is It Common For Spiders In Our Homes To Make Clicking Noises?

It is highly unlikely you have ever experienced a spider making any sort of sound, especially from the domestic spiders you find lurking in your home.

On the other hand, if you spot a spider crawling up the wall, it’s more than likely you could be the one creating a noise!

When most living creatures produce sounds, there is usually a good reason behind it, such as communicating to others or expressing fear or excitement.

Spiders are straightforward creatures, and any sounds they make are not as expressive or meaningful as what you might find from other animals.

Many of the sounds a spider does make are not audible to the human ear.

Not all spiders make noises, but some species make sounds that humans can hear.

Can Spiders Make Purring Sounds?

Scientists have known for a while that wolf spiders can create noise heard by humans and have even made recordings of these harmonious sounds. (Source)

The male wolf spider uses an elaborate communication system to woo a female of the same species by using its environment to make low purring sounds.

As we have found out, spiders don’t have any vocal cords, so how do they create these sounds, especially purring?

Common house spider doesn't make a noise
Common house spiders like this one will almost certainly make no noise

How Do Spiders Make Purring Sounds?

Spiders produce vibrations to create sound by tapping their legs on a suitable surface, such as dried leaves, and rubbing their legs and pedipalps together.

The vibrations hit the dried leaves and produce a low purring sound that can also sound like a click. The rustling sound of the leaves helps create even more noise.

A female wolf spider must also be on a suitable surface to pick up these vibrations through her legs and decide whether or not she wants to mate with the male.

The male has to work hard to let the female know he is the right one for her as it could be a matter of life or death. She won’t just reject him; she could end up eating him!

In fact, one in every five males is eaten by a female they are trying to woo!

Can Spiders Make Hissing Sounds?

Some tarantulas make a hissing sound when provoked or if they feel threatened. This hissing sound is similar to running water. (Source)

Although these spiders come across as tough, they prefer to avoid confrontation instead of getting embroiled in a deadly fight.

If the spider makes a hissing sound while walking, it is more of a soft warning.

However, if the tarantula rear ups it is getting ready to attack and may throw urticating hairs from their abdomen at their attacker or may bite.

A tarantula in Australia is nicknamed the “whistling” or “barking” spider as these make a distinct hissing sound when threatened.

Can Spiders Hear Sounds?

Now we know that some spiders can create noise, but you may wonder if spiders can hear sound.

However, these eight-legged creatures do not have ears, so they cannot hear sound the conventional way like we do as it travels through the air.

Instead, spiders feel vibrations that travel through surfaces to the vibration-sensing hairs on their legs. They can even hear a human in a room talking up to five meters away using these sensitive hairs.

Although spiders can perceive noise, it will sound different to them as it does to us because their brains process it differently.

Do Domestic Spiders Make Sounds?

You may be wondering if the spiders you find in your home make any noise.

Although there is not much research, it is generally believed that domestic spiders do not make any noise at all.

The reason being is that these small, eight-legged creatures just want to be left alone, hidden away from potential predators.

Do Female Spiders Make Sounds?

We know that male wolf spiders create sound in the hope of wooing a partner, but what about the ladies?

Some female spiders make low-frequency squeaks while mating to let males know what they should be doing. These cries sound like squeaky leather.

The female scrapes part of their pedipalp against their fangs to create these sounds.

These cries become more frequent if the male spider fails to loosen the squeeze while mating in response to a previous plea. If the male is too forceful, he risks damaging the female physically.

Female spiders can store sperm from different male spiders in her body, but the male most obedient to her demands is more likely to fertilize her eggs.

Do Spiders Make Noise for Other Reasons?

Spiders make noise mainly to fend off predators or woo a potential mate.

Spiders lead a simple, uncomplicated life, and there is no reason for them to make noise for any other purpose.

Summary

Most spiders cannot create sound, but some species can make noise through stridulation, which is rubbing body parts against one another.

Despite spiders not having any vocal cords, they communicate with one another through different vibrations, known as seismic communication.

Generally, spiders are quiet, solitary creatures who only make noise for specific purposes; either to find a companion for mating or to warn off predators.

If you own a tarantula, be careful if it hisses at you as you may be doing something to upset them. Too much stridulation can affect your pet’s long-term health and well-being.

Brigitte Cave

Bridgitte grew up on a farm and eventually spent 5 years on Mahe Island in the Seychelles during her teen years. Her time living on a farm was spent mostly around animals including dogs, cats, cows, horses, and all sorts of fowl (chickens, ducks, and geese included). You can find out more about Bridgitte at https://mercurypets.com/our-writers/ Bridgitte is a keen horse rider and has competed in many showjumping competitions. She loves writing about pretty much all animals, and particularly dogs, cats, small mammals, horses and reptiles.

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