Can A Spider Beat A Human In A Foot Race?

Well, no.

What a spider vs human foot race might look like. Getty / Michael Steele

Ever gone to kill a spider (or humanely cup it to bring outside or whatever hippies do), and it zips away at insanely fast speed? It seems definitely way faster than a human, right?

What if you took the fastest spider’s top speed running away from a rolled up newspaper, and measured it against a human’s running speed. I’m not talking Usain Bolt top speed, just like, you or me. Can a spider outrun us?

The fastest spider is the giant house spider [warning: link goes to a photo of a gross spider], which can reach speeds of 1.73 feet per second. That’s only about 1 mile per hour. We humans can easily run faster than that.



I asked spider expert J. Chad Johnson, associate professor of behavioral ecology at Arizona State University West, if a spider could beat a human in a foot race. He raised an entirely new and frightening prospect:

Spider running speed is a bit silly. I see no way to construe it to match a human’s running speed. Spiders disperse more readily by air (ballooning) than by land. As such, they are documented traveling hundreds of miles, and while I know of no data documenting the speed of ballooning, it is entirely dependent on air currents, which perhaps can be shown to be faster than us little ol’ humans.


Anyway, enjoy your life!

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