What happens to your tarantula during winter? Do they hibernate and also do a fast? If this is the case then, do you need to expect that they will eat less during winter? If you are a first time owner of a tarantula, then the coming winter months may give you anxiety as to what do.
There is no exact answer as to do tarantulas eat less during winter. Some Ts in captivity eat their normal fill, while others tend to eat less. However, in the wild, tarantulas have a significant decline in terms of eating. The key is keeping them warm which is related to their eating habits.
Our answer may prove to lead you to ask more questions. But do not worry, we will cover all those questions in this article. One thing to know is that you do not have to worry if your tarantula is not eating during winter. With that said, keep on reading for more information.
Do Tarantulas Eat Less During Winter?
As we mentioned earlier, there is really no exact answer to this question. In fact, the answer will depend on what tarantula you are referring to. Even then, the situation may change if your T will still eat or not eat.
Before you confuse yourselves, let us take a look at the conditions we are talking about.
Tarantulas In The Wild
These are the tarantulas that are not inside your home (obviously) as they are currently roaming free in the wild. It has been observed by scientists and researchers that Ts in the wild enter a somewhat hibernation period.
We used the term “somewhat” as they themselves are not sure if tarantulas are really hibernating. Sad to say, there is still no study about the sleeping patterns of tarantulas, so no one would know if they are really in a state of endless slumber.
However, one thing to note is that these tarantulas tend to close the openings of their burrows with the use of webbing and dirt. Once the burrow is closed, they stay there until spring arrives. In this way, you can really say that they are hibernating.
But the thing is, some wild tarantulas who live in cold areas do not do this sort of thing. They just carry on with their normal routine, wherein they come out at night (when it is the coldest time) to hunt for prey.
It is also good to note that during this time, even though they hunt at night, the interval of which they hunt decreases. Therefore, this means that they are decreasing their food intake.
On the other hand, tarantulas who live in warmer areas do not do hibernation. They do not plug their burrows and they pretty much remain active all-year-round.
Tarantulas In Captivity
This section will be interesting for those who currently own tarantulas as these are the tarantulas in your home. A lot of owners found out that their T will still eat the right amount of food during winter.
Further, even though they did not use any external heating element in the enclosure except for the house heating system, their Ts still eat the same amount. So which is it really? Will they eat less or will they eat normally?
It is a toss between the two. In order to predict your T’s eating habits during winter, you have to look at two factors. These factors are tarantula type and temperature conditions.
You first have to determine what type of tarantula do you have. If he is the type where he is used to warmer climates, then sure enough, for his first winter he might go into hibernation mode and eat less.
On the other hand, if his type came from colder climates, then he may or may not go into hibernation mode and eat normally.
The rule of thumb is to know the origin of your T. If he is used to a warm environment then the cold will surely trigger something in him to change his behavior.
This is related to the previous factor as the temperature has a lot to do with your tarantula’s eating habits (more on that later!) But for this one, you should take into consideration your T’s enclosure, heating components, home heating system, and the temperature outside.
If it is below freezing point in your area, then most likely you will turn on your home heating system. Of course, doing so will also affect the temperature of your T’s enclosure.
Also, the location where the enclosure is located plays a key. Is it in the basement? Living room? Study area? Different places call for different temperatures.
This will also dictate if you need to use heating components on your T’s enclosure like a lamp or a heat mat. If you need a guide on whether you should purchase a heat mat, you can refer to our article here.
If you were able to maintain the same temperature in the enclosure, pretty much like the temperature before winter came, then there is a high possibility that your T will eat normally.
As opposed to tarantulas that are put in the basement. Even though they have a heat mat and the temperature is just about right, there is a chance that they will eat less and go into hibernation mode.
Tarantulas That Are Wild Caught
Some captive tarantulas are actually wild-caught. Whether you were informed by the seller or not, it is your responsibility as the owner to know what steps to take for your wild-caught tarantula to adjust properly in his new surroundings.
If you recently got your tarantula and he came from a place where there is a warm climate, then most likely, even if you use heating components in his enclosure during winter, he will eat less.
On the other hand, if your wild-caught tarantula came from an area where there is a cold climate and you used heating components on his enclosure, there is a high chance that he will eat normally.
Connection Between Temperature And Eating Habits
We have already exhausted all the temperature conditions that affect your tarantula’s eating habits. This goes to show that the temperature inside and outside the enclosure plays a vital role in whether or not your T will eat less during winter.
Temperature is actually the springboard of your tarantula’s metabolic process. If your T receives the right amount of heat, then his metabolism is active. On the contrary, if it is too cold, then his metabolism will slow down. “Metabolism slow down” is perfectly normal, so no need to worry.
Put into the context of winter, the enclosure’s “perfect temperature condition” inside will be affected by the temperature outside. In fact, it is a bit hard to maintain the right temperature when it is the colder months.
More than that, since your T is very perceptive, he also knows the temperature change outside. In turn, this change may or may not trigger him into hibernation mode, where he will eat less.
There are also those times where you were able to keep the temperature at the right level as if it is not the winter months. In this case, your T will not know that it is winter, so he will just keep on eating that way he is used to eating.
How Long Can A Tarantula Live Without Food?
So let us say that your tarantula went into hibernation mode and before doing so, he ate less, and now he is not coming out of his burrow to eat. Will he be okay?
Hush your worries, as your tarantula will be fine. Even though he ate less before he barricaded himself inside his burrow, that amount of food is still more than enough for him to live until he decides to come out.
In fact, even though he did not eat before hibernation mode, he can still survive for up to two years without food. So just as long as there are no underlying concerns with your T like an illness, injury, or parasites right before he started to refuse food, he will be perfectly fine.
Just make sure to leave clean water in his water dish and place it near his burrow. Just in case he gets thirsty and decided to come out for a quick drink.
Why Is My Tarantula Not Eating?
Besides being in hibernation mode, there are also different reasons as to why your tarantula is eating less or not even eating at all. You always have to check him in order to make sure that there is nothing wrong.
In such a case where it is winter, and your temperature levels are fine, but your T did not go into hibernation mode nor does he want to eat anything, these may be the reasons why.
Your T is still figuring out what he will do next. If you changed something in the enclosure, he still needs a bit of time to adjust. It may take him a week before he starts eating again.
In terms of temperature condition changes, always observe your T and make sure that he is comfortable with the temperature that was set. If he still has not eaten for a week to two weeks (without hibernation), revert to the original temperature setting and observe him again.
It can be a bit unpredictable when your adult T decides to molt. Therefore, his molt may fall during winter. At this time, he will most likely refuse to eat.
Just keep on observing him just to make sure that he is actually molting. Three days after the molt, you can try to offer him food.
It is sad when this happens because your T might be injured or there is something wrong with his fangs or legs. Therefore, he cannot catch live prey properly thus encouraging him to eat less.
If this is the case, just make sure to pre-kill his food before putting it in his enclosure. In this way, he can be encouraged to eat as it will not be too much of a hassle for him.
Stress Or Illness
There are many stressors for your T. With the onset of the winter, the vibrations around your home will also shift. This may cause a lot of stress to your T and he will end up not eating.
On the other hand, you should also check if he is sick. If your T is sick, make sure to check in with your vet.
If you think that your T is suffering from extreme temperature, you might want to check out our article on when your tarantula is getting too cold. The signs that we discussed may help you pinpoint the problem.
He/She Does Not Want To Eat
Tarantulas are such mysterious creatures that there are simply those times when they just do not want to eat. You really cannot force-feed them as doing so will stress them, so you just have to be patient.
Just as long as you are giving him the right feeder, he will eventually eat.
How Should I Feed My Tarantula During Winter?
If your tarantula went into hibernation mode, you can choose not to feed him. The signs that you should be on the lookout for are webbing outside the burrow, your T is not coming out of the burrow, and he ate less before going into his burrow.
If all those signs are present, then you can simply let him be for a week. At the start of the next week, try to put in live feeders inside the enclosure just to see if he will eat them. If he did not eat them, then just leave him be for another week.
Just keep checking on your “hibernating tarantula” week by week in order to make sure that he is not hungry.
On the other hand, if your tarantula did not show any signs of being in hibernation mode, then you should just keep feeding him based on your feeding schedule.
In the event that he did not eat, then just remove the feeders from his enclosure and try feeding him on his next feeding day.