11 Animals That Eat Their Mates after Breeding

The first thing you think of the praying mantis is that it eats its partner after mating. However, this mantis is not the only animal doing this. This behavior has been observed in a variety of different species, from insects to amphibians to sea slugs. Here are the top 11 animals that eat their mate you may want to know!

1. Octopus

The octopus is one of the smartest creatures in the world. They are also one of the few animals that eat their mates after copulation. However, not all male octopus species have this risk when breeding.

To mate, the male octopus will put one of its arms, known as a hectocotylus, into the female’s body to fertilize her eggs and deposit the packet of sperm. After finishing, he can be consumed by his partner.

The female will warp her arms around his body and starts to squeeze. After that, she takes the body back to her den and eats it. This often happens in octopus species with lengthy arms, such as the coconut octopus.

To protect themselves from the risk, numerous long-armed males choose to insert their sperm packets from the distance. They do everything they can to reduce the risk. Some stay away from the females at arm’s length, the others do this when standing outside the female’s den.

Not only the adults, but the hatchlings are also cannibalistic. They eat each other after hatching. To know more details, you may see our “Octopus facts” article.

2. Pacman frog

Pacman frogs are among the animals that eat their mates. This species is famous for the way it eats food. With a big mouth, it will eat anything that fits its mouth, from insects to snakes, and its own kind.

The female Pacman frog is way much larger than the male. This means the males fit its mouth and he is delicious food. So, why not? With a bigger size, the female can easily consume him. That’s why you cannot keep this exotic pet with any species in the same tank. To know more about the popular Pacman frog, you can follow our guide.

3. Praying Mantis

Speaking of female animals that eat their mates, people usually think of the praying mantis. To woo males, females emit pheromones. If the male tries to breed with the female, he accepts the risk of being dead.

With a substantially larger and stronger body, the female can effortlessly swallow her partner’s head or other body parts when they are mating. Even after losing his head, the male can still mate because nerves in his abdomen regulate the body.

Consuming the male provides the female with the nutrition and energy she needs to lay up to 100 eggs. It’s easy to understand why females do this.

However, this’s not common in the breeding season, about 13–28%. The females are more likely to eat their partners when they are particularly agitated or starving.



4. Orb-weaving spiders

Another male victim in our list of animals that eat their mates is the orb-weaving spider. When engaging in mating, he only has 20% chance of surviving.

Orb-weaving spiders are animals that eat their mates

Because the species may only have one chance of creating their own generation, the male is very selective when picking a partner. A chubby and young female is gonna be his favorite because she could give him many good offspring.

5. Jumping spider

The next species that eat its mate is the jumping spider. These spiders have a fun mating ritual. The males will dance to attract the females. When it comes to picking a partner, the male of this species is not choosy. The male will try to entice every female they come across with a unique dance move, even if she belongs to a different species or is dead.

On the other hand, female jumping spiders only have one chance to mate. That’s why they’re pretty picky when choosing a mate that has an impressive dance.

The male will leap about and wave his limbs around. The male is permitted to breed if the female is delighted. Otherwise, he’ll be consumed. Even if the female accepts the male, she will usually try to consume their mates after they have mated.

6. Green Anacondas

The green anaconda also earns a spot in the list of creatures that eat their mates. These species have an unusual mating behavior that could result in the consumption of more than a male. Female green anacondas will mate with numerous males in a breeding ball. With a size that is five times bigger than the male, the female can easily strangle their mates to devour them.

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She will not eat anything for the next 7 months when she gets pregnant. As a result, consuming one or multiple males after breeding gives her enough nutrition they require at the last minute. This will help her healthily give birth.

7. Black widow

According to popular belief, male black widows always end up being cannibalized after mating. However, this is not true. The majority of species do not engage in sexual cannibalism in the wild. You can see the research here.

Among many black widow species in the US, only the Latrodectus mactans females (or the southern black widow) has this behavior.

The female spins a web that is filled with pheromones. An interested male then cuts sections of the web and covers the female’s smell with its own. Like other males in this list of animals that eat their mates, the male black widow is substantially smaller than the female.

To breed with the female, the male must put a portion of his body between the female’s fangs. The male clearly offers his body to the female to be eaten.

8. Sagebrush Crickets

The sagebrush cricket is one of the animals that kill their mates. When mating, the female sagebrush crickets will eat the back wings of the males and sips the secretions that drip out. Because only a portion of the wings is consumed, the males can survive and have a chance to mate again.

However, they are now less appealing to females. Their incomplete wings mean they can give them a full meal. Obviously, they’re just backup plans. Virgin males are always better for females sagebrush cricket.

9. Scorpion

Next on the list of animals that eat their mates is the scorpion. The female spends a lot of energy and time giving birth. They can have up to 100 offspring in one brood.

Scorpion is one of animals that eat their mates
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As a result, males who linger near females after courting are occasionally slaughtered and consumed. This helps them have more nutrition and energy. To survive, scorpion mothers may even consume their young as a final option.

10. Horned Nudibranch

Nudibranchs belong to the sea slug family. They have jelloid bodies that are colored by the food they eat. Despite their lack of teeth, they are vicious predators. They feed by projecting a proboscis-like device into their food and swallowing it whole.

These species are cannibalistic. They can eat their own kind when needed. And they usually do this after mating with a partner.

11. Redback spiders

Last but not least – the redblack spiders. Unlike other species, the male redback spiders voluntarily devote themselves to the females, as long as they can pass on their DNA.

The male spiders do not build their own webs. Instead, they frequently hover around the edge of the web of the females. They stay there and make sexual approaches to see whether the females are ready to mate or not. Then they summersault into a position where their abdomen is over the fangs of the females.

The males that are eaten have more chances to increase their fertility than the males that are not cannibalized.

The offspring of this spider species are cannibalistic as well. The spider mother can lay up to 300 eggs, however, there are very few young spiders that can make it to adulthood. They eat each other.


Those are the animals that eat their mates after breeding. They do this to ensure their reproductive success. This often occurs after copulation but can also be done before or after fertilization. It is an instinctive behavior that must be performed in order to continue the animal’s generations.


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