Why Tarantulas Should Not Eat Superworms Too Often

Can tarantulas eat superworms?Can tarantulas eat superworms? You might be asking this question as you are tired of breeding your noisy and smelly crickets and you are wondering if these superworms are better than mealworms. You just might have a point there, because they are not called “super” for nothing, right?

Tarantulas can eat superworms. There is not much of a difference in terms of nutritional value when comparing superworms to mealworms. But, there is a difference when it comes to how your T will react to the superworm. They pose danger to your T, but it is not so serious that you cannot prevent it. 

In this article, we are going to discuss what exactly a superworm is and we will also discuss how they can be beneficial to your T. Further, we will talk about some of the dangers of using this feeder. So read on to get more information!

What Are Superworms?

A superworm is not a worm by default. It is actually a species of a darkling beetle called, Zophobas morio. They are also called Morio worms, King worms, or Zophobas.

They look like huge mealworms and they can reach a size of up to 50-60 mm. Compared with mealworms, they have a dark color (almost black) near the ends of their bodies. Also, they have two rudimentary hind prolegs and they have six small legs.

These superworms are usually confused with giant mealworms. But make no mistake as those giant mealworms are the larvae of a different species which is the Tenebrio molitor and they are sprayed with juvenile hormones.

Technically speaking, superworms are the larvae form of the Zophobos morio. Therefore, once they reach their full adult size, they will eventually pupate and turn into beetles that are light in color. Further, they will turn dark as they continue to grow.

An interesting fact is that their pupation can actually be hindered. Meaning, they can stay in their larva form for a long time. Just as long as they are house with other larvae and there are lots of food.

In short, they should be exposed to a lot of body contact. The opposite is done if you want them to pupate. You need to isolate the larva for at least seven to 10 days and it will eventually reach maturation.

Are Superworms Nutritious?

One might think as they are bigger compared to mealworms, that the superworm is more nutritious. The truth is, they pretty much have the same nutritional value.

The superworm has fewer protein levels (17.4%) compared to a mealworm (20.27%) Superworms also have far more calcium than other feeders in general. They are also a good source of fat which is at 16% in comparison with the mealworm that has 13% only.

In terms of fiber, the disparity between the ratio is huge. Superworms have 6.8% while mealworms only have 1.73%. However, your focus should be on the protein level and the fat ratio as those are the most beneficial for your tarantula.

So if we are just going to base it on those aspects, sure superworms are nutritious. But the thing is, your T also needs other vitamins and minerals which are not abundantly available in superworms. In that regard, we can say that superworms are lacking in that area.

If you want to know what feeder is well-balanced in all regards, you can read our article here. Not only is this feeder easy to breed, but you are also assured that your T will get all the nutrition that he needs.

are superworms healthy for tarantulas?

Can Tarantulas Eat Superworms?

Yes, they surely can!

The question now is, should superworms be their primary feeder? The answer to this is no. As mentioned earlier, they still lack the necessary vitamins and minerals that your tarantula needs.

No amount of gut loading can make up for that, as superworms will simply convert that food into fat. Therefore, you can treat superworms as some sort of a special feeder.

This is good news for those who want to bulk up their Ts or increase their mass faster. As there is a lot of protein and fat in superworms, feeding them to your T several times will surely make them grow faster.

However, it is discouraged to do this too much as you may disrupt the proper growth of your T. He may easily become obese and that will also bring some health concerns.

It is okay to feed superworms to your tarantula at least three times a week, but then you have to switch up their feeder in between superworm feedings.

Do Tarantulas Like To Eat Superworms?

This is a bit difficult to answer as it solely depends on the preference of your tarantula. However, most owners have noticed that their tarantulas tend to ignore the superworms that are offered to them.

Maybe it is due to their lack of movement, which does not really stimulate the hunting instinct of tarantulas. But then again, there are some owners who were able to observe that their Ts consistently hunted superworms who burrowed under the substrate.

They even found a lot of dig holes in their Ts’ enclosure as their Ts kept on trying to find the hidden superworm. On the opposite side of spectrum, especially for those who have large tarantulas, they simply leave the superworms untouched.

Therefore, if you plan to feed superworms to your T, you can try to place them in a feeding dish where they will not be able to escape and burrow. Also, you can place them near your T by using tongs and shaking them a bit to encourage your T to strike.

Dangers Of Feeding Superworms To Your Tarantula

There are reasons why superworms are not the number one choice of owners as tarantula feeders. It is not really about their nutritional value, but it is more about their capacity to harm your tarantula. Let us take a look at them.

Biting Behavior

Superworms tend to deliver a nasty bite when confronted by a predator. This bite can injure your tarantula and may prove to cause a serious wound.

If you are not present during this situation, you are leaving your T to become very vulnerable. Not that the superworm will keep on attacking your T, but it will do the hide and attack tactic.

When your T retreats to his burrow, the superworm can creep up on him and deliver yet another bite. Of course, as your T is already previously injured, he is not well equipped to defend himself against numerous bites that are seemingly coming from nowhere.

The video below shows you that superworms can put up quite a fight!

Burrowing Behavior

Just like mealworms, superworms have the tendency to burrow when left unattended on the substrate. What is much worse is that they can remain still for a long time which helps them to be undetected by your tarantula.

This is also bad news for you as you will be unable to find them easily so you can remove the uneaten superworms. The next thing you know, you have a full-grown beetle inside your tarantula’s enclosure. Yikes!

Too Much Calcium

Calcium is not necessarily bad for your tarantula, but at the same time, they really do not have use for it as they do not have bones. It is in the abundance of calcium that things can get messy.

As we have discussed previously, superworms are a good supply of calcium. If you treat them as the primary feeder, there may be calcium buildup within your T’s body.

This can lead to the calcification of his leg muscles and eventually, he will not be able to move properly. This will also cause your T to get injured easily.

Is this scenario scaring you? Well, do not be scared! You can read our article here and find out how calcium affects your T and whether or not you should use calcium supplements. 

How To Breed Superworms

In such a case where you want to breed superworms, you can follow these tips and you will see that doing so is extremely easy!

You can use a plastic container and put a layer of substrate (bran, or other grain mixture). The container should also have a lid. Just make sure that the container is still properly ventilated.

As for food, they can also eat their current substrate. You can also feed them any type of grains and for protein, you can offer them pieces of mashed or finely shredded chicken.

You may opt to not offer them water if you are also giving them fruits and vegetables which can be their source of water. You can give them carrots, potatoes, cucumber, apples, oranges, cauliflower leaves, etc.

Make sure to always remove any dried or rotting food inside the enclosure in order to discourage the existence of mites. Tada! And that is about it, you can breed your own superworm feeders.

Just make sure that they are always in close contact with other superworms so that they will not pupate. At the same time, the container should also not be too small for them in such a way that they can no longer move around.

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