Tarantulas are entirely carnivorous, which means they only consume animal material (primarily insects), and do not ingest vegetation of any kind. I feed my tarantulas crickets, waxworms, mealworms, superworms, and sometimes roaches—although roaches have a slightly tougher chitin (exoskeleton) to pierce. The biggest tarantulas can even be fed baby mice (pinkies), and even sub-adult mice.
Variety is the spice of life, and various insects have different vitamin and mineral compositions, so mixing up the feeder items is always appreciated by your pet tarantula.
Tarantulas generally prefer live food, being ambush predators (sitting and waiting for prey to walk by) but will also usually accept freshly pre-killed food as well (freshly dispatched crickets, etc). If you have a small tarantula and large feeder insects, just pre-kill the feeder insect and the tarantula will often feed on it.
The general rule is not to offer a food item longer than your tarantula’s abdomen. They can take down larger animals like mice, which are of course longer than their abdomen, but this would only apply to large tarantulas such as the Goliath Bird-eaters.
Tarantulas only need to be fed once or twice per week—you definitely don’t want to feed every day. In fact, some tarantulas can go for several weeks or even months without food! Yet another reason these fascinating animals are so easy to maintain.Pet tarantula checklist
Here is a quick summary of what your pet tarantula needs to thrive:
- Secure enclosure 3-4 times the legspan of the tarantula
- Small water dish
- Hide spot
- Slightly damp substrate 2-4 inches deep (usually peat moss or cypress mulch)
That’s it! Go forth and enjoy your pet tarantula! We hope our tarantula care sheet has helped prepare you for the exciting journey you’re about to begin.
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