How to Feed a Tarantula

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How to Feed a Tarantula. Tarantulas are fascinating to keep. They eat often and heartily, which can be fun to watch. Live insects are the staples of their diet. Tarantula species display different temperaments and behaviors, depending on their native habitats and other factors. Learn to feed them safely and enjoy years of interaction with these impressive arachnids.

Things You'll Need

  • Forceps or tongs
  • Live prey such as crickets, locusts or moths
  • Cage for prey, if holding overnight or longer
  • A ruler or other prodding stick

Get Tarantula Food

Determine what size and type of food is right for your pet at its current age and activity level. Read care sheets for your particular species online or in tarantula care books (see Resources below). One rule of thumb is to feed it prey about 1/4 the size of your spider's abdomen.

Determine when to feed, since you'll want to buy live food on or near feeding time. Adult tarantulas usually eat about once a week, but may fast or binge.

Purchase live crickets, grasshoppers, locusts, mealworms or other insects online or in pet shops that sell spider and reptile supplies. Petbugs.com offers detailed information regarding tarantula diets (see Resources below).

Boost your pet's nutrition. Buy live insects a day or two early and feed them fruit and vegetable scraps. Then feed them to your pet for an easy way to vary its diet.

Give Your Tarantula Food

Locate your spider before opening the lid to its shelter. If it is too close to the lid, be ready with a blunt prodding item to gently push it out of the way.

Grasp a prey item with forceps or tongs and quickly lower it into your pet's shelter.

Close the lid if you have to turn your back in between feeding it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tarantulas are nocturnal. They will probably feed better at night.
  • Depending on their size, adult tarantulas eat between 2 and 6 crickets per week.
  • Watch out when you open the lid to your tarantula's shelter. They can climb and they love to escape.
  • Tarantulas can bite and they have painful hairs. Learn to handle them from a care guide or an experienced owner.
  • Do not handle your tarantula at feeding time.
  • Live prey can harm your pet, especially if that prey gets hungry. Remove uneaten food within 24 hours.

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