Spiders are fascinating creatures that have adapted to live in a wide variety of environments. However, most species of spider prefer warm conditions and will avoid excessively cold areas. In this article, we’ll examine spider behavior and biology to understand whether spiders will stay in a cold room.
Spider Temperature Preferences
Most spiders are ectothermic, meaning they rely on external temperatures to regulate their internal body temperature. As such, they prefer environments with temperatures between approximately 70-90°F. Temperatures below 50°F start becoming too cold for most species of spider.
Colder conditions make spiders more lethargic and slow down their metabolism. Their heart rates decrease, and they’re less able to effectively hunt, catch prey, and digest food. Widow spiders, for example, become dormant below 60°F. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures could even prove fatal for some spider species.
That said, different spider species have varying preferences and levels of tolerance to the cold. Some spiders that live in naturally colder habitats may be better adapted to handle lower temperatures than tropical species.
Spider Cold Tolerance Adaptations
Some spiders have developed adaptations to survive in colder environments. These could allow them to withstand colder indoor temperatures as well:
- Antifreeze compounds in their bodies prevent freezing
- Insulating hairs trap heat close to their bodies
- Slowing metabolism preserves energy reserves
- Burrowing into soil, leaf litter, or crevices shelters them from harsh conditions
For example, some tundra wolf spiders have special proteins that act as antifreeze and allow them to survive temperatures down to -58°F! But most house spiders lack these extreme cold adaptations.
Do Spiders Stay in Cold Rooms?
In general, spiders will try to avoid excessively cold rooms when possible. Most house spiders start getting uncomfortable when indoor temperatures drop below 50°F. Prolonged exposure to temperatures lower than that could be dangerous or even fatal for some spider species. Let’s take a closer look at how different levels of cold affect spider behavior:
Cool Temperatures (50-60°F)
At cool room temperatures, spiders will begin slowing down their activity but can still survive. Their metabolism and hunting ability becomes impaired. You may see them tucked away in corners, under furniture, or inside cracks trying to find shelter. They will likely avoid open spaces in the center of a cold room.
Very Cold Temperatures (40-50°F)
Very cold room temperatures are dangerous for most common house spider species. At these temperatures, spiders enter a dormant state and may be immobile for long periods. While they can survive short exposures, prolonged cold at this level can be deadly. Most spiders will actively seek out warmer hiding spots or try to leave the cold room entirely.
Extreme Temperatures (below 40°F)
At extreme cold temperatures, most spiders will die unless they have specific adaptations for cold. They may be found lying motionless or curled up. Common house spiders lack the ability to survive more than a few days below 40°F. Attempting to ‘hibernate’ just uses up their valuable energy reserves and leads to death.
Other Spider Cold Tolerance Factors
A few other factors influence whether spiders can tolerate cold indoor temperatures:
- Age: Younger spiders are generally more vulnerable to cold compared to adults.
- Health: Cold tolerance decreases if spiders are dehydrated, malnourished, or otherwise stressed.
- Cold exposure time: Spiders fare worse with prolonged cold vs. short-term cold snaps.
- Species: Some spider species have more natural tolerance for the cold.
Preventing Spiders in Cold Rooms
If you want to discourage spiders from entering or staying in colder rooms, here are a few tips:
- Seal cracks along walls, windows, doors, and openings that let spiders enter.
- Remove clutter like boxes that give spiders places to hide.
- Vacuum regularly to eliminate webbing and egg sacs.
- Use insecticides or repellents along baseboards and entry points.
- Raise the temperature when possible. Install insulation if needed.
- Use dehumidifiers to make conditions less welcoming.
Most common house spiders prefer warm conditions between 70-90°F. They become sluggish at temperatures below 50°F and prolonged exposure can be lethal. While some spider species have adaptations to handle cold, most will try to avoid excessively cold indoor rooms when possible. They may temporarily hide in cracks and corners before attempting to leave the cold room. Sealing up entry points, removing clutter, and raising temperatures can help discourage spider presence in cold conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What temperature do spiders stop being active?
Most house spiders will start to slow down and become inactive below temperatures of 50°F. Some species can remain active at slightly cooler temperatures down into the 40s, but activity significantly declines as it gets colder.
Why do spiders come into bedrooms?
Spiders may enter bedrooms searching for food, attracted to the presence of sleeping humans, seeking warmth, or accidentally while wandering. Bedrooms often provide a humid environment with plenty of insects for spiders to eat around bedding, carpet, and clothing storage areas.
Do spiders hibernate in winter?
Some spider species that live outdoors hibernate during winter months by finding shelter in crevices or burrows and entering a dormant state. However, most common house spiders do not truly hibernate and lack the physiological ability to survive long periods of winter cold exposure indoors.
How do spiders survive cold weather?
Outdoor spiders may survive winter through specialized adaptations like antifreeze compounds, insulated hairs, burrowing underground, and finding protected shelters. House spiders don’t have these cold adaptations and instead survive by hiding in warm spots indoors or perish if trapped in the cold.
Can spiders feel cold?
Yes, spiders can detect and react to cold ambient temperatures. While they don’t precisely feel cold like mammals, they sense temperature changes through receptors in their legs. Spiders instinctively know to avoid detrimental cold conditions that could harm their bodies.
- Most house spiders prefer temperatures between 70-90°F and become sluggish below 50°F.
- Prolonged exposure to cold below 40°F is often fatal for indoor spider species.
- Some outdoor spiders have antifreeze proteins and other adaptations to survive winter cold.
- Spiders will attempt to avoid excessively cold indoor rooms by hiding or leaving.
- Sealing up entry points and raising room temperatures can discourage spider presence.