Much like humans, spiders have to drink water, which explains why they might hang out in your bath or shower stall. But unfortunately for those spiders, spending time in the bathroom might also mean being washed down the drain whenever you decide to take a shower (after you scream your lungs out first, of course).
But what actually happens to these eight-legged shower hangers when they wash down the drain? Will they climb back up after clinging on for dear life? Will they crawl up the beach to frighten an unsuspecting sunbather after being washed into the ocean? Do they bounce along in an adorable little spider bubble?
Unfortunately for spiders round the world, the reality is much grimmer.
“Flushed spiders will drown if they end up submerged in the sewer,” Jerome Rovner, a member of the American Arachnological Society, told Real Clear Science. “However, the drowning process for a spider can take an hour or more, as they have an extremely low metabolic rate and thus a very low rate of oxygen consumption.”
Some spiders, like the diving bell spider, won’t be so easily exterminated, though. These underwater arachnids build underwater webs that they fill with air, which allows them to come up for air only once per day (an ability that would almost certainly allow them to withstand being washed down the drain).
But when dealing with spiders who aren’t so aquatically adept, maybe consider placing them outside with the help of a handy upturned glass and a postcard, rather than sentencing them to death by lengthy drowning. Most of the known spider species aren’t even dangerous to humans, instead predating upon genuinely pesky household insects like mosquitoes. In fact, one species of spider in East Africa even prefers to kill mosquitoes carrying malaria, a disease which kills up to one million humans each year.
Put succinctly, “spiderbro” seems like an apt name for our frightening, but apparently helpful little friends, who may very well not deserve being slowly drowned in an underground toilet-river.