One of the best thing about having a tarantula as a pet is that they are the least finicky eaters, feeding tarantulas is fairly straight forward. Even in captivity, they are relatively easy to feed on a variety of insects. And because tarantulas do not have an enormous appetite, all you need is a couple of insects like crickets every 3-6 days. However, if your tarantula is large it may need a cricket every day.
Unlike most other pets, the other great feature about tarantulas is that they generally do not overeat. Once the tarantula has had its fill, it will move away. It is best to remove all old food every 24-48 hours. So an obese tarantula is something you will never see.
Today, there are many commercial cricket foods available –this means you do not have to venture and find your own insects.
How much to feed?
It is important to understand that tarantulas often eat in cycles and you may notice that they do not eat for several days at a time. In fact, many can survive for weeks or even months without eating. If your tarantula looks healthy and is moving around, then you do not need to worry if it has not eaten for days/weeks. However, if you notice that its abdomen has shrunk and it is lethargic, you need to give it food and water right away. This is a sign of starvation or dehydration.
Even though you do not have to provide food daily, you must have a shallow sturdy dish with fresh water. This water must be provided every day. Some tarantulas drink a lot of water and others drink sparely. The reason is that the water intake may also depend on the humidity in the tank and the type of food you provide.
How much to feed a tarantula depends on the species. In general, the young spiderlings grow fast and tend to eat a lot. As they become adults, their growth size plateaus and they tend to eat less. Further, there are some tropical spiders like the Acanthoscurria, Therophosa, or Nhandiu that have a big appetite. So know the type of spider you have.
Crickets are readily available in most pet stores and are relatively cheap. They are the easiest meal for tarantulas and least messy.
Besides crickets, there are other foods that you can offer to tarantulas. Mealworms are also available in pet stores and can be kept in the fridge. They are ideal for small spiderlings. If the tarantula is big, then go with the super worms, which are also sold in pet stores. The only downside is that these worms can sometimes injure or kill a tarantula and can’t be stored in the refrigerator.
While some people do recommend roaches, these critters are often not available in pet stores and can even escape into your home, breed and become a household pest. And the worst thing is that after going to all the trouble getting roaches, some tarantulas won’t eat them.
When feeding tarantulas, first know where your spider is in the enclosure. Then only partially open the lid and drop the prey. Close the lid securely and the tarantula will know where to find the prey.
Today all the available commercial foods come with labels on how to feed and what not to do. Plus there are ample videos on the Internet on how to feed a tarantula. A common sense approach is required when it comes to feeding a tarantula.