If you're thinking about getting your first pet spider, you may be wondering what spiders eat. Nutrition can be tricky, considering there are so many species, all with their habits and needs. But have no fear; we're here to let you know what to feed your spider!
Most spiders are carnivorous, meaning they eat all kinds of insects. Common pet spiders like tarantulas eat live crickets and worms, among other bugs. They can not only live but thrive on a diet consisting of two crickets per week for years.
But how often should you feed your pet spider? How do you know if your multi-legged friend is hungry? We have all the answers to your questions below!
Like we said earlier, almost all spiders are carnivorous. These arachnids feed on other kinds of insects and can even eat each other, which is why most spiders are loners.
What varies is how they hunt their prey to get their nutrients. Some spiders produce webs to catch their "food," while others can run after speedy bugs and take them down.
Knowing their habits is essential to understand the diet of a spider pet.
Web-producing spiders, for example, tend to eat flying bugs like mosquitoes. Tarantulas, the most common pet spiders, prefer gut-loaded (recently fed) worms and crickets. There are also bigger arachnids like Camel Spiders that can even eat lizards and rodents.
You can get these little treats at any pet store, but if you prefer it, you can also try catching insects for your spider. Your pet will be fine as long as the bugs are alive when you feed it.
Oh! And avoid wasps or any poisonous kind of prey. You may think that, because some spiders are venomous, they can have any insect. But that's not true.
Likewise, to keep your spider hydrated, please provide it with fresh, chlorine-free water.
Although they get most of the moisture they need from what they eat, water is still necessary for spiders. But please make sure the water dish is not too deep to prevent your spider from drowning.
Now that we've covered the basics, it's time to answer the FAQ about a spider's diet for your comfort.
1. How Many Times a Week Should I Feed a Spider Pet?
A spider can survive weeks without eating, so you don't have to worry if you forget to feed it one day. Yet, you should aim to provide food for your pet every day if it’s a juvenile spider and every other day if it’s an adult one. Once or twice a week is fine, too, for real.
A word of advice? Try to feed your spider at night since they are nocturnal species.
You could increase the frequency, and your spider may keep eating at first, but this is not a good idea. A spider eats according to its own particular needs. If it's not hungry, it will leave the live insects in its tank, which could cause damage.
This brings us to…
2. What Do I Do if My Spider Is not eating?
As we mentioned before, some arachnids can spend weeks without food. So, if your spider pet is not eating, take the prey out of the tank or cage. But you should wait for about 24 hours to give your spider a chance to decide whether to eat or not.
Note: It is important to take out the insects your spider's not eating. These insects can chew on a resting spider and even kill it.
3. Is it Possible to Over-Feed a Spider?
Luckily, there's no risk of over-feeding a spider; it will completely ignore its food when full.
4. Why Is My Spider Not Drinking Water?
Spiders get most of the moisture they need from what they eat, so there may be days when they will not be drinking much. There's no need to worry; spiders are very tough!
5. How Deep Should My Spider's Water Dish Be?
Your spider's water bowl should never be more than half an inch deep. Otherwise, your pet is in danger of drowning. You can ask your pet store for an appropriate size for your kind of spider.
6. How Do I Know if My Spider Is Hungry or Thirsty?
For the most part, we recommend you stay on schedule. But, if your spider's abdomen seems shriveled, that's a clear sign of hunger or dehydration. Thus, you should provide your spider with fresh, chlorine-free water and food.
7. Can I Hunt Insects and Feed Them to My Spider?
Yes, you can, as long as you make sure they're the perfect size for your spider. We’re sure this is obvious, but a tarantula can eat many things a smaller spider can’t.
This is great because one of the advantages of spiders is that they get rid of insects you don’t want in your household.
The prey also needs to be still alive when you place it in your pet's tank or cage.
8. Can I Feed My Spider Things That Are not Insects?
It depends on the species, but, for the most part, no. Common house spiders are not even big enough to eat things that aren't insects.
Yet, tarantulas can eat frozen "pinky" mice as a treat now and then. But we would still encourage you to keep your spider pet healthy with a diet of gut-loaded insects.
Contrary to popular belief, species like the Australian "bird-eating" Tarantula don't eat birds. Try to stick to insects, and your spider is likely to live for longer!
9. How Does a Spider Eat?
A common saying about spiders is that they eat their prey with their teeth, but that's not true. Spiders don't have teeth per se.
Instead, a spider will use its pedipalps to hold prey still and inject it with its venomous fangs. The venom will dissolve its victim's insides, and the spider will then be able to drain the life of the other insect.
10. How Long Can a Spider Pet Live?
The lifespan of a spider pet will depend not only on how well you take care of it but also on other factors. Even the species and gender of your spider will affect how long it lives.
Tarantulas can live longer in captivity than in the wild due to a lack of predators. A well-fed female tarantula can stay alive for as long as 40 years, while a male will only live from two to ten years. Girl power!
But, of course, a spider doesn't only rely on a good diet to survive. You'll need to take into account the kind of habitat and temperature they need.
You'll also have to keep an eye on your spider to make sure it's not getting parasites. Cleaning your pet's tank often is another must.
11. Do Spider Eat Humans?
Last but not least: No. A spider diet doesn't and will never include humans, regardless of what horror movies show.
Arachnids are poisonous carnivores, but your spider pet will turn on you and plot to eat you one day. It will only bite you if it feels threatened as a defense mechanism.
We do believe that spiders should hire a better publicist, though.