Just like your canine and feline pals, your pet tarantula needs proper nutrition to ensure she gets the necessary minerals and vitamins. That doesn't mean you have to go out looking for an insect-shaped, chewable multi-vitamin, however. If you take care to feed you tarantula properly, the vitamins and minerals will take care of themselves.
Variety of Foods
Crickets are a main staple in the typical pet tarantula diet. However, it is good to add a variety of other live insects to imitate the diversity a tarantula would encounter in the wild. Be cautious about using grasshoppers, as many have consumed pesticides that are harmful to your pet spider. You can feed her a variety of insects, beetles and worms. For larger tarantulas, pink (newborn) mice, small lizards and even small geckos can provide enjoyable and challenging meals. Prey size should be proportional to spider size, a quarter or half of her length.
Frequency of Feeding
Feed your spider once a week, and give her as many crickets as she'll eat within several hours. Remove any uneaten food from the terrarium after she's fed. The typical tarantula will consume two to three crickets per week. Don't worry if your spider goes longer without being interested in eating. It's not uncommon for tarantulas to devour a large amount of food, and then fast for several weeks or months, especially prior to molting.
Gut Loading Prey
You can "gut load" the live creatures you feed to your tarantula to increase the nutrition she'll get. Gut loading is the process of feeding your spider's prey nutritious foods shortly before you give them to her. You can purchase special gut-loading foods at your local pet store that are specifically designed for a tarantula's optimum health. To save costs, you can also do it yourself by simply feeding the prey a healthy mixture of fresh fruits, grains and veggies, and by keeping it well watered. You can also use tropical fish food flakes. Gut load the prey 24 hours before you feed your tarantula.
Provide Clean Water
It's important to water your pet tarantula adequately. Tarantulas consume the bodily fluids of their prey, so they generally do not need much water to thrive. Keep fresh water in a dish that is shallow enough to ensure your tarantula does not drown, but deep enough that she will be able to sense the water. Place a rock in the dish to help her with footing. Don't use a water-soaked sponge or cotton ball for hydration, as they can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
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