Bats vs Spiders

Since the dawn of evolution*, two species have vied for one niche in the ecosystem of metal. Today, we settle it. Using rigor.

On the one hand, there is, and will always be this:


On the other hand, there is also this:


Ozzy killed a bat. Spiders tried to kill Jeff Hanneman, but failed.

Spiders, not looking good, but let’s consider the other criteria.

We can probably end this pretty quickly by finding out if either spiders or bats are adorable. Some adorable things are also metal, but if spiders are more adorable than bats, they are clearly less metal. Let’s see.


Hm. Both kind of adorable. Well, let’s see who’s more menacing. Menacing is always metal.


I don’t know about you, but I feel kind of menaced either way. Does it depend on whom you menace?


It’s close. So close. On all of the common indicators, it is almost impossible to determine who is more metal, bats or spiders.

Except one.


Martin Nyffeler and Miriam Knörnschild are real scientists who want to tell you all about how spiders eat bats. The metal detector doesn’t tell us what’s right or wrong. It just tells us what’s metal. And here’s what it says:

bats vs spiders

Eating your enemies is metal.

Fellow bat fanatics, take solace. This was a very marginal call. As Nyffeler and Knörnschild point out, although spiders do eat bats, they kind of suck at it. Actually, spiders have an only slightly higher success rate at eating bats as compared to eating Jeff Hannemans. One of the reasons is that bats are really good at hearing spider webs, with the exception of some bat species living in equatorial regions. The attendant issue there is that equatorial regions also have really big spiders who like to weave their webs into orbs. To be specific, Nyffeler and Knörnschild state that “the majority of the identifiable bats (65% of reports) that accidentally crashed into spider webs echolocate at frequencies of only ~36–72 kHz,” which apparently is a bad frequency range for picking up orb-shaped spider webs. That’s probably the same reason equatorial bats don’t like mp3s (Williams 51-55).

If you feel bad about bats losing this metal-off, just watch these videos, and you’ll feel better. Actually, if you feel bad about anything right now, just watch these videos, and you’ll feel better.


*Both spiders and bats believe in evolution, but both of them are really bad at telling time.


Thanks to John Kratz for suggesting this post.

Jason mask spider by 211 org.

Cats and loathing by Michael Coté.

Adorable bats by Josh Henderson.

Adorable spider by Thomas Shahan.

Small spider by Thomas Quine.

Big bat by Anton Croos.

Menacing bats by Davehi1.

Menacing spider by Ton Rulkens.

All images listed above used under Creative Commons license.

For credits on the bloodcurdling mosaic of spiders devouring bats, follow this link.


Nyffeler M., Knörnschild M. (2013). Bat Predation by Spiders. PLoS ONE, 8(3): e58120. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058120

Williams, D. (2015). Tracking timbral changes in metal productions from 1990 to 2013. Metal Music Studies, 1(1), pp. 39-68. doi: 10.1386/mms.1.1.39_1


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