Tarantulas are fussy eaters. If you are a person who likes to work on a schedule and want to have control over it, you are in for surprise. Tarantulas will not only refuse to eat at your timetable but also refuse to eat what you deem fit for it. So, can tarantulas eat earthworms?
Yes, tarantulas can eat earthworms. Earthworms have enough proteins and fat that will give nourishment to your tarantula. But earthworms shouldn’t be the whole and sole diet for your tarantula. You can add crickets, roaches, locust, and other insects for variety.
But what about mice and other bigger prey? Some are capable of eating them as well. But when is it safe to feed them bigger prey? We will get to it and more about the dietary needs of a tarantula further in the article.
Understanding Your Tarantula’s Appetite
Tarantulas cannot eat just about any prey. The thing they can ‘stomach’ is what their abdomen can handle.
Their abdomen is a very sensitive part of their whole body. Tarantulas will coat their prey with digestive juices and venom to liquefy their prey and ‘suck’ them into their stomach. Their stomach has different sections and pockets that store away food to be used as fuel later.
This is one of the main reasons why a tarantula can go without food for long periods of time. Some can refuse to eat for as long as a year as well.
Also, when they are in the pre-molt phase, they will refuse to eat food and maintain low activity. This will help them to preserve energy from whatever food is left in the pockets of their stomach.
This becomes a reason for them to become picky eaters. We will never have a clue if they are ‘full’ or need more food. You will have to keep dangling prey in front of them and wait for them to consume it.
If they do not show interest, they are not hungry. You will have to try every month to see if they are in the mood to eat or not. Keep this decision in the hands of your tarantula.
Pros And Cons Of Feeding Earthworms To Tarantula
Earthworms have 60-70% of protein content in them and it acts as a good source of nutrients for your tarantulas to feed on. The rest of the content in earthworm is fat.
This is compatible with your tarantula’s diet, as they can have as many as 300-500 digestive enzymes suited to ‘suck’ everything out of an earthworm.
But, as a tarantula owner, you might find feeding earthworms to your tarantula a little disgusting. Many come with complain of it being too foul-smelling when they melt away.
It is not the best and sustainable type of food to store away for tarantula owners. Moreover, cleaning up the remains of an eaten up earthworm is repulsive to many.
This is one of the reasons why tarantula owners might not frequently want to feed their tarantula with earthworms. They would rather prefer feeding them other insects, as they are easy to handle and clean up afterward.
While earthworms can be termed as ‘fast food’ for your tarantula with respect to availability and less hassle in procuring it, it is not the most preferred choice for many tarantula owners due to its foul smell.
When The Hunter Becomes The Prey
Tarantulas do not spin a web to trap their prey as an initial move as other spiders do. They will ambush their prey and initiate vampire mode on them – injecting their venom with some amount of digestive fluid in them to fasten the process.
They are pretty good at hunting like this and can eat preys big and small.
But there are times when this hunter is vulnerable to becoming prey. When the time is wrong, the tables might turn. This is especially true during pre-molting and molting time.
This is the time when they grow the most sensitive. A harmless cricket can become a predator.
While your tarantula may be able to hide from it in its burrow, it may have another prey waiting – earthworms. This is one of the biggest cons of having earthworms or any kind of worms in general.
Earthworms can not only burrow a hole in the soil/substrate but also into your beloved tarantula. This can fatally injure the tarantula.
Earthworms, if left unsupervised, can breed in the tank and attack your tarantula when it is in its most sensitive phase. When the tarantula is not molting, it might enjoy a good hunt. But other times, it is a dangerous situation for them.
On top of it, it can get quite unsanitary for the tarantula’s habitat.
Another thing to note would be to not feed slings any prey that is bigger than them and can harm them. It is better to stick to smaller prey, which is dead, until they grow old enough to hunt on its own.
Problems With Bigger Prey
Tarantulas are capable of eating bigger prey like mice, lizards, toads, bats, and other rodents. Goliath Birdeater, as the name suggests, can also include small birds in its diet.
Not all species have the same capability but those who can will not stop at anything to hunt their prey. Whether they are in captivity or in the wild, bigger prey always poses risks.
Bigger prey can fight back and injure your tarantula. It is better to offer bigger prey when they are dead to eliminate any chances of commotion and injury to your tarantula. Things can turn ugly pretty quickly if you are not vigilant enough.
As a rule of thumb, always provide your tarantula with prey that they can overpower. If your tarantula is hiding away from its prey and becoming defensive, remove the prey. The ideal maximum size of the prey should be a tad smaller than the size of your tarantula’s abdomen.
How To Feed Your Tarantula The Right Way
Slings might prefer to scavenge food whereas adult tarantula loves to hunt live prey. You can choose to procure their prey from the market or from places where they organically breed and farm prey like locust, grasshoppers, crickets, etc., especially for tarantulas and the likes.
If you have the enthusiasm and time for it, you can create your own produce at home as well.
These are the things that you need to remember while feeding your tarantula.
- If you are feeding your tarantula a small prey, you might either want to feed it by placing it one by one or freeing a couple of them inside the tank. Your tarantula might love the thrill of the chase.
- When it comes to sling, it is best to stick to smaller dead prey. Make sure to feed them more frequently as their appetite would demand frequent nutrition for growing up.
- Make sure that you pick away any prey that has not been eaten away by your tarantula. Small prey can irritate the tarantula when it is not in the mood to hunt.
- The prey or its remains shouldn’t be in the tank for more than 24 hours. The remains can cause molds in the substrate and prove to be unhygienic for the tarantula.
- When you are feeding your tarantula a bigger prey, be watchful over the interaction. It is best to give them dead prey than a live one, especially if they are not fully capable of hunting it. Dangle the dead prey over to make the tarantula think that the prey is alive.