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What Do Tarantulas Eat [Food Habits of Tarantulas]

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Tarantulas are amazing animals that can survive in different places.

They are large spiders that eat meat and have eight legs, two fangs, and lots of hair, which helps them sense their surroundings. 

Tarantulas are skilled hunters, especially at night, and prefer warm, humid areas.

Some can grow to be over two feet long! 

Surprisingly, tarantulas can live for a very long time, up to 30 years or more.

They usually eat insects and small animals, but the really big ones might go for reptiles, birds, or even tiny mammals! 

In this article, we explore what do tarantulas like to eat, where they live, how they hunt, and interesting aspects of their lifestyle. So let’s get started!

Types of Tarantulas

1. Mexican Redknee (Brachypelma smithi)

The Mexican Redknee tarantula is famous for its stunning appearance, showcasing vibrant red and black colours on its legs and abdomen. 

These tarantulas call the deserts and scrublands of Mexico home, where they frequently create burrows as shelters.

2. Goliath Bird-eater (Theraphosa blondi)

As one of the largest tarantulas, the Goliath Bird-eater lives up to its name with a sturdy build and brownish-black hair covering its body. 

Originating from the rainforests of South America, this species is known for its imposing size and typically resides in burrows.

3. Chilean Rose (Grammostola rosea)

The Chilean Rose tarantula stands out with its unique rose-colored outer shell and calm temperament, making it a favored choice among tarantula enthusiasts. 

Originating from Chile, these tarantulas reside in dry areas, often taking refuge in burrows or crevices.

4. Brazilian Salmon Pink (Lasiodora parahybana)

Easily identified by its salmon-pink coloring, this tarantula boasts one of the largest leg spans among its peers. 

Hailing from Brazil, these tarantulas thrive in wooded regions, constructing burrows for protection.

5. Indian Ornamental (Poecilotheria regalis)

The Indian Ornamental tarantula captivates with its intricate patterns and vibrant hues, earning a reputation for its sheer beauty. 

Inhabiting the forests of India and Sri Lanka, this tree-dwelling species prefers the shelter of trees and lush foliage as its habitat.

6. Antilles Pinktoe (Avicularia versicolor)

The Antilles Pinktoe tarantula captures attention with its dazzling blue and green colors, presenting a visually captivating arboreal species. 

Originating from the Caribbean, these tarantulas make their homes in trees, crafting silk retreats among the branches.

7. Greenbottle Blue (Chromatopelma cyaneopubescens)

Renowned for its striking combination of electric blue legs and a vibrant orange abdomen, the Greenbottle Blue tarantula is visually impressive.

Hailing from Venezuela, these tarantulas build silk-lined burrows in arid regions.

8. Costa Rican Zebra (Aphonopelma seemanni)

Distinguished by its legs adorned with black and white stripes, the Costa Rican Zebra tarantula boasts a visually unique appearance. 

Native to Central America, these tarantulas thrive in diverse environments, ranging from grasslands to forests.

What do Tarantulas Eat Year-Round: A Complete List of Food

tarantula spider

1. Spring

As winter ends, tarantulas wake up and come out of their homes with a big appetite. 

In the spring, they eat a variety of tasty bugs like crickets, grasshoppers, beetles, and millipedes, which give them lots of protein.

Some bigger tarantulas even enjoy eating baby lizards. These tiny reptiles are small, fresh, and easy to catch. 

Tarantulas use stealth and careful moves to make sure they have a satisfying and tasty meal during the springtime.

2. Summer

In the summer, when it gets hot, tarantulas get hungry and look for bigger meals.

They like to munch on larger insects like roaches, cicadas, and beetles. 

Crunchy locusts are like perfect snacks that give them energy for summer activities like growing and laying eggs.

Tarantulas also switch things up by adding frogs to their menu.

Frogs are great because they’re moist and provide hydration and important nutrients, which is perfect when it’s hot.

Some tarantulas, like the Mexican redknee, are so good at hunting that they can even catch small snakes

These slithery snacks give them a big energy boost, making them a favorite summer treat for these spider-like creatures.

3. Fall Feasts

When autumn arrives, covering the leaves in pretty colors and making things cooler, tarantulas change the way they hunt.

Since there are fewer bugs around, tarantulas start looking for other kinds of food like earthworms, small mice (if they are bigger tarantulas), lizards, frogs, and scorpions. 

Even though these smaller meals may not be as flashy as the ones they find in the summer, they’re important for keeping the tarantulas healthy. 

Some tarantulas might even try small birds for their fall menu.

The bravest hunters, like the Goliath Birdeater, might catch unsuspecting bird bites, making their meals more interesting.

4. Winter Survival

As winter brings chilly weather and a slowdown in tarantula metabolism, it doesn’t mean they stop eating completely! 

The fat they store up in the warmer months becomes crucial.

Tarantulas dip into their internal food storage, using the saved energy to stay alive and, in some cases, lay eggs.

During winter, if the chance comes up, tarantulas may search for insects or carrion.

They’ll happily take any little bit they find to add to their stored reserves.

With their metabolism working slowly, tarantulas go after smaller prey in winter.

They might go for sluggish insects or, in extreme situations, even prey on weaker tarantulas. 

It’s a survival strategy to make sure they have enough to get through the colder months.

Figuring out what tarantulas eat all year is just the beginning.

To truly know their eating habits, let’s also see what do baby tarantulas eat.

Even though these tiny spiders are small, they need special food to grow and get stronger.

What do Baby Tarantulas Eat? 

Baby tarantulas, known as spiderlings, typically enjoy small meals such as insects, fruit flies, or tiny arthropods like springtails and pinhead crickets

Even baby roaches can become their bite-sized prey. Spiderlings stick to prey that suits their size because they can’t manage larger catches like adult tarantulas can. 

As spiderlings grow, they moult, shedding their exoskeleton to accommodate their increasing size. 

Providing appropriately sized and nutritious prey is crucial for supporting the healthy development of baby tarantulas, ensuring they receive the right nutrients for growth and maturation.

Now that we know what young tarantulas like to eat, let’s find out how they eat and digest their food. 

This way of eating is not just effective but also very important for their survival in the wild.

How do Tarantulas Consume and Digest Food?

Tarantulas eat by injecting venom into their prey, which helps break down internal tissues into a liquid. 

They then suck in these liquefied nutrients using a suction-like motion since they don’t have typical chewing parts. 

After discarding the leftover exoskeleton, the tarantula’s body continues to digest the liquid nutrients, providing crucial sustenance. 

Any parts that can’t be digested are expelled as small pellets in the form of waste.

Habitat of Tarantulas

Tarantulas are pretty adaptable creatures found all over the world. They live in tropical rainforests, making homes in the leafy ground or cozy silk retreats in the vegetation. 

Some prefer dry places like deserts, where they dig burrows in sandy or rocky soil for protection. 

In grasslands and savannas, tarantulas create burrows or use rocks and plants for hiding and hunting. 

In scrublands or sparse forests, they make burrows or silk-lined hideouts. Some are even okay in mountainous areas, hiding in crevices or crafting burrows. 

Some tarantulas live in caves or make fancy underground burrows for safety.

Plus, they’re found in temperate forests, using fallen logs or making burrows under the forest floor. 

Tarantulas being able to live in so many different places shows how well they can adapt and handle various climates and surroundings.

The Hunting Method


Tarantulas are clever hunters who employ a combination of patient waiting and active tactics to catch their food. 

Many of them prefer ambushing their prey, quietly waiting in burrows or among plants, blending in with their surroundings to surprise their prey. 

Some tarantulas go a step further by creating silk lines or tripwires, helping them sense vibrations and locate their next meal. 

After seizing their prey, tarantulas use venom to immobilize or kill it.

They then inject digestive enzymes through their mouthparts, turning the prey into a liquid they can consume. 

Despite not building webs like some spiders, tarantulas use silk for various tasks, such as constructing burrows. 

Their eating habits are flexible and depend on factors like prey availability, environmental conditions, and their characteristics.

Even though tarantulas are good at hunting, they have weaknesses too.

One weakness is how strong their bite can be. 

We need to look into this to understand the possible dangers linked to these interesting creatures.

What is the Toxicity Level of a Tarantula’s Bite?

1. Mild Bites 

Tarantula bites are usually mild, causing localized pain, swelling, redness, and itching—similar to an insect bite. 

These symptoms typically go away on their own within a few days.

Tarantulas like the Chilean Rose Hair and Honduran Curly Hair, which are often kept as pets, are generally calm and don’t bite unless they feel threatened.

2. Moderate Bites 

Certain tarantula bites, especially from Old World species like the Baboon Spider and Indian Ornamental Tarantula, might lead to more intense reactions such as muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. 

While these symptoms are usually not life-threatening, they can be quite uncomfortable. 

It’s important to note that bites from these tarantulas are uncommon, as they often use defensive hairs rather than their fangs for protection.

3. Serious Bites (Very Rare) 

In rare situations, a tarantula bite might trigger allergic reactions or even a life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis, especially for people allergic to spider venom. 

It’s essential to know that specific tarantula species aren’t known for causing these severe reactions.

Instead, it depends on an individual’s allergic response to determine how serious it might be.

Although tarantula bites are usually not harmful, it’s crucial to get medical help if you have severe symptoms or are worried about the bite. 

Only handle a tarantula if you know what you’re doing to avoid bites, which often happen when tarantulas feel threatened. 

If bitten, clean the area with soap and water, use a cold compress to reduce swelling, and watch for any worsening symptoms.

If things don’t improve, seek medical attention.

The Predators of Tarantulas

Despite looking scary, tarantulas have their problems dealing with other animals in the wild.

Let’s explore who these animals are:

1. Mammals:  Small animals like badgers and mongooses can handle tarantula venom.

They dig up the tarantula’s homes and catch them by surprise.

Bigger animals like coyotes, foxes, and weasels will eat tarantulas whenever they get the chance, especially the smaller ones.

2. Snakes: Some snakes are great at finding and eating tarantulas in their homes.

They can squeeze and swallow even big tarantulas.

3. Birds: Birds like owls, hawks, and eagles are strong hunters of tarantulas.

They use their sharp eyes and strong claws to grab tarantulas from above.

4. Insects and Other Bugs: Big scorpions with strong venom can beat and kill tarantulas.

Venomous and quick giant centipedes can surprise and defeat tarantulas, but it depends on their sizes and types.

5. Other Tarantulas: Sometimes, bigger tarantulas, even the ones that eat other tarantulas, might catch and eat the smaller ones.

This shows how complicated things can get in the world of tarantulas.


Tarantulas are really interesting animals with lots of different types and cool behaviors, keeping both fans and scientists curious. 

Learning about what they eat, where they live, how they hunt, and what challenges they face helps us better understand and value these mysterious beings. 

As caretakers of nature, we must appreciate and protect the intricate lives of tarantulas, making sure they thrive both in the wild and when kept as pets.


How long do tarantulas live as pets?

Tarantulas can live a long time as pets. Generally, they can survive for several years, with some species living up to 20 years or more.
The exact lifespan depends on the species, care provided, and gender.

What is the biggest tarantula?

The Goliath Bird-eater (Theraphosa blondi) is considered the largest tarantula species.
It can have a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters).
However, size can vary among individual tarantulas even within the same species.

Do tarantulas eat scorpions?

Yes, tarantulas are known to eat scorpions. In the wild, they have a varied diet, which may include insects, other spiders, and small arthropods like scorpions.
However, the specific feeding behavior can depend on the tarantula species and its environment.

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