There's only one place in the world to escape bat-catching spiders: Antarctica. These arachnids ensnare and pounce on bats everywhere else in the world, researchers say.
Bats rank among the most successful groups of mammals, with the more than 1,200 species of bats comprising about one-fifth of all mammal species. Other than owls, hawks and snakes, bats have few natural enemies.
Still, invertebrates - creatures without backbones - have been known to dine on bats. For instance, giant centipedes in a cave in Venezuela were seen killing and eating bats, and the arachnids known as whip spiders were spotted feeding on dead bats in caves of the Caribbean. Cockroaches have been observed feeding on bat pups that have fallen to the floor of caves.
Accidental deaths of bats in spiderwebs were known as well, but were thought to happen very rarely. Still, spiders are known to occasionally dine on a variety of vertebrates - creatures with backbones. For instance, fishing spiders capture and devour fish and frogs; some species of wolf spiders, huntsman spiders, tarantulas and related spiders have been seen killing and eating frogs and lizards; and tarantulas and comb-footed spiders have apparently fed on snakes and mice. There are also numerous reports of spiders killing other flying vertebrates, snagging birds with large orb webs.