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fluthernutter's avatar

Can a spider have a heart attack?

Asked by fluthernutter (6291points) June 4th, 2014 from iPhone

A spider set up shop just on the other side of my living room window. The window itself didn’t get opened that much, since it’s one of those older windows that push outward (without a screen). For that reason, it seemed like a good spot for its web.

But every time I opened up the shades in the morning, it would spaz and shake so much that the first time I saw it happen I thought two spiders were fighting one another.

Two days ago, I opened up my shades and the spider wasn’t there anymore. I realize it could have just moved on, got eaten by a predator or keeled over from old age. But it did get me wondering if spiders could even die from a heart attack. Or stress/high blood pressure?

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13 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

I don’t know, but probably what happened is that each time you opened the shades in the morning, it would pull on its web (and probably destroy it). That’s what made it “spaz and shake”. The spider may have moved on to greener pastures, or another predator could have eaten it.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Nope, old age.

wildpotato's avatar

Some spiders shake as a defense mechanism.

Also, most spiders move house every other day or so – sometimes re-ingesting their webs – so it is common to see a big elaborate web and spider one day and nothing at all the next.

So that explains your observations – but I don’t know if a spider can have a heart attack. Interesting question.

Seek's avatar

Spiders do have hearts (a tube, no chambers), and aortas, but not a closed circulatory system.

So, it would be difficult to cause one to have a heart attack (that is, close off part of the circulatory system to deprive the heart of the respiratory fluid – spiders don’t have blood) and they definitely could not have a stroke.

gailcalled's avatar

Maybe they have motion sickness issues.

Blondesjon's avatar

^ cheeky cat

gailcalled's avatar

(Too bad that they are not nearlhy as tasty as moths.)

Adagio's avatar

Not heart attacks but they can suffer from gout, extremely painful when it affects all 8 feet simultaneously.

CWOTUS's avatar

I generally get along well with spiders, but because of our relative size difference, and the fact that I’m sometimes too distracted to look for them, I don’t always spot them in time, and… I have been known to step on them. I suppose you could technically say that what has happened is an extreme form of high blood pressure issue. (Or maybe they really do have an instantaneous heart attack out of fright when I walk over one of them.)

wildpotato's avatar

@Seek Source, please? On the heart attack thing specifically, that is. I have encountered lots of info on the open circulatiry system, but opinion among arachno-enthusiasts seems divided on whether spiders can have heart attacks or even on what actually defines an open circulatory system type heart attack. It may not be hinge on whether respitatory fluid interruption can occur, I’m thinking, because as that thread points out spiders don’t use their blood/haemolymph for moving oxygen around so much as for maintaining internal pressure.

Seek's avatar

The heart attack part of my statement was conjecture based on what I remember of arthropod anatomy from high school biology class. I have no source.

Coloma's avatar

Any animal, humans too, can have a sudden, stress related death. Stress and subsequent shock are the number one killers of wildlife that get caught and rescued by wildlife rehabbers. I’m sure a spider could have a shock related seizure/sudden death. Certain animals are highly prone to shock related deaths, especially smaller rodents, rabbits, and birds.
Any living thing can easily die of shock even if their injuries are relatively mild.

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