spiders spiders Spiders may be able to hear predators coming toward them. (Photo: 3Dalia / Shutterstock)

Shhh! That spider can hear you from across the room

A new study found that spiders can hear up to 10 feet away.

Your room may look empty, but before you start telling secrets or playing embarrassing music, check around for spiders ... because they can hear you, apparently.

Scientists long thought spiders operated primarily on sight and touch. Perhaps they could sense sounds very close to their bodies. But researchers recently found that some spiders can hear sounds from relatively far away.

Scientists from Cornell University in New York, Harvard University in Massachusetts and Hebrew University in Jerusalem conducted what must have been a pretty silly-looking set of hearing tests on a species of jumping spiders. They found the spiders could hear sounds from 10 feet away, a conclusion that's either creepy or cool (we think that the Israeli girl who started a bat hospital would probably find it cool).


"These animals that we've lived with for the entire existence of humanity, there's now this new thing that we didn't know that they could do," Paul Shamble, one of the researchers, told the Christian Science Monitor. "Now when you see one of these creatures in your house or in your garden, just know that they can hear you."

What's weird is that spiders don't actually have ears. They hear using tiny sensory hairs on their bodies.

"We haven't rewritten any textbooks or anything like that," Shamble said. "But it seems like the underlying assumptions that a lot of biologists were using for guessing at how well these animals could hear don't apply."

Kind of makes you wonder how many more of our assumptions about animals don't apply. We only recently found out that bats can work in teams and that starlings swarm without a leader. Can dolphins do calculus? Can bees give out psychological advice?


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Shhh! That spider can hear you from across the room
A new study by U.S. and Israeli scientists found that spiders can hear up to 10 feet away.