What do you feed a tarantula? A difficult question, at first look. But luckily for us, tarantulas are not picky eaters. Nonetheless, this does not mean they will eat just about anything.
Tarantulas have their natural diet, and we need to keep to it as much as possible. Tarantulas eat bigs, insects, and other small animals, but often owners will wonder if they can give their tarantula vegetables and if doing this is dangerous.
Do tarantulas eat vegetables? Tarantulas can eat vegetables, however, this is not their primary food, and they may not be able to digest them properly. Tarantulas can eat vegetables if they are dehydrated or need more nutrients in their diet. However, tarantulas’ natural diet does not involve vegetables since they are carnivores.
So how often can you feed your tarantula veggies? Well, maybe not as often as one may think. Read on if you want to find more about tarantulas and whether or not giving them veggies is a good idea.
Are Vegetables Part of a Tarantula’s Natural Diet?
When it comes to their natural diet, animals are separated into a few categories. Animals can be:
- Carnivores: Carnivores are animals that eat meat or animal flesh.
- Herbivores: Herbivores are animals that eat vegetation, plant matter, roots, fruits, vegetables, etc.
- Omnivores: Omnivores are animals that eat meat, plants, fruits, and vegetables.
The reason why animals are separated into these categories is that their digestive system is not the same. For example, a carnivore may not have the same digestive enzymes and the ability to digest vegetation the same way a herbivore or even an omnivore can and vice versa.
Putting an animal on a diet that is not suitable for its physiology is not recommended as it can severely compromise their health.
So what do tarantulas prefer to eat, and what does their natural diet really look like?
Tarantulas are carnivores. They will eat crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, silkworms, king worms, hornworms, beetles, roaches, other spiders, and even smaller vertebrae like pinky mice.
The natural diet of a tarantula consists of mostly other animals. As carnivores, tarantulas will feel best by getting their nutrients from gut-loaded insects and other small prey.
The big majority of spiders are predominantly carnivorous. You can expect them to eat anything from insects, to small vertebra, and even fish, frogs, and small mice.
However, both spiders and tarantulas can also sometimes consume their webs. Often spiders will consume their webs in order to “recycle” it as it still contains small amounts of proteins the spider can use if there is a severe lack of food.
However, much to many people’s surprise, there are many instances of spiders eating different types of floral matter.
Although some do eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and plant matter, there are no strictly vegetarian spiders.
For example, there is evidence that spiders can eat fruits, vegetables, floral and extrafloral nectar, plant sap, leaves, pollen, and seeds. Some spiders can even eat fungal spores.
But not all spiders are created equal. And this brings us nicely to the next question of whether tarantulas actually will eat vegetables.
Can You Feed Tarantulas Vegetables?
Tarantulas can eat vegetables. However, this is a very rarely observed activity simply because vegetables are not part of the tarantula’s natural diet and do not supply them with the much-needed nutrients they require to survive.
That being said, this does not mean tarantulas will never eat a vegetable.
In fact, there have been instances of tarantulas eating various types of vegetables and even fruit. For example, a tarantula can eat fruits like grapes, oranges, apples, and vegetables like cucumbers, peppers, radishes, celery, lettuce, and more.
This means that tarantulas are not strict carnivores and will opt for eating other types of food if they need to. So why would a tarantula need to eat vegetables if this isn’t the best food for it? Let’s take a look.
When Would a Tarantula Eat Vegetables?
Owners will often leave a cricket in the tarantula’s enclosure for it to munch on. Sometimes, they will also leave a small vegetable like a carrot or some fruit for the cricket to eat in the meantime.
After the tarantula eats the cricket, it is possible to eat the small vegetable or fruit as well.
However, there may be other reasons why a tarantula will seek out and eat vegetables.
However, besides food, tarantulas also need plenty of water to survive. In fact, some tarantulas can survive a lot of time without food as long as they have access to plenty of water.
And this is when we can see the first reason why some tarantulas will eat vegetables—because of their high water content.
Tarantulas can drink water directly from water sources, but they will also get a large portion of their water needs from the prey they consume.
So if a tarantula does not have access to enough fresh water or food or lives in a particularly dry environment, it can get dehydrated extremely fast. And dehydration is a lot worse than hunger in a tarantulas book.
As a result, tarantulas will seek out new ways to get some water. And vegetables are just one readily available type of food that also happens to be very high in water content. Often vegetables contain more than 90% water.
Tarantulas will usually slowly munch on it, slowly eating it over the span of several hours.
Lack of Food
This is a situation most tarantulas kept in captivity should not have to face. However, tarantulas in the wild may happen to go through extended periods of time when food is very limited.
In such cases, tarantulas may choose to eat some of the vegetables that may be locally available to them. Although vegetables will not be the first choice of food for a tarantula, vegetables can still provide them with some small amounts of nutrients that can keep them alive until they find proper prey.
Is Feeding a Tarantula With Vegetables Bad?
Although tarantulas can and sometimes would eat different kinds of vegetables and fruits, this does not mean that they can only live off vegetables and fruits.
And just because tarantulas can eat something does not mean they should.
In most cases, tarantulas will eat vegetables if they do not get enough food or water. Of course, this is not always true as sometimes the tarantula may simply decide to munch on a readily available vegetable or piece of fruit.
That being said, the vegetables should never be considered the tarantula’s main meal. Tarantulas cannot really survive on vegetables alone as this will cost them their health in the long term.
Let’s not forget that often tarantulas will be introduced to various veggies through eating the prey you give them. Usually, owners will feed the feeders with various types of veggies and fruits like carrots, spinach, lettuce, and so much more. While consuming the feeders, the tarantula will stumble upon the food you have been feeding them.
To a certain degree, this also means that you do not necessarily need to go out of your way to introduce vegetables into your tarantula’s diet.
Vegetables are not something that tarantulas cannot stumble upon in the wild and that they will not eat if need be. So it is not bad if a tarantula eats a vegetable. However, it is worth knowing that some vegetables can, in fact, be harmful to the health of your tarantula.
The same thing applies when it comes to what you give your feeders. Some store-bought vegetables can contain traces of pesticides, so make sure you wash them thoroughly. The vegetables should not be seasoned too. It is usually recommended to avoid giving your feeders onions, peppers, or garlic, and many owners will even avoid giving them lettuce or cabbage too.