Tarantulas are carnivorous and feed on other live animals. They do not eat vegetables in nature or as pets.
They are probably therefore not the best pet for vegans and vegetarians, or those who are overly squeamish about feeding live prey to a tarantula.
What Do Tarantulas Eat?
In the wild, tarantulas will eat almost any animal they can subdue. While this most commonly means invertebrate prey there are limited reports of tarantulas eating vertebrates such as rodents, lizards and baby birds.
As pets, tarantulas are most commonly fed on a variety of live insects typically referred to as “feeder insects” or “feeders”.
Some of the most popular feeder insects include:
Roaches – Cockroaches like dubia roaches are popular among tarantula keepers. They can be easily bred in captivity to provide a never-ending supply of feeder insects.
Crickets – A range of different types of cricket can be bought. They are easy to care for, but can pose a health risk if left in the cage when your tarantula is due to moult.
Locusts – A fantastic source of nutrition for tarantulas, but more difficult to breed or even keep alive for long periods of time.
Superworms & Mealworms – Cheap, easily handled with forceps and readily accepted by most tarantulas. Avoid them digging into the substrate and disappearing from view.
Do Tarantulas Eat Mice?
Some of the bigger species of tarantula are able to eat suitably-sized rodents. This is generally best avoided, however. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, live rodents can represent a serious risk to your tarantula. To avoid this risk some people have found their tarantula will eat dead rodents.
Even with a dead rodent there are problems however. Unlike snakes, which swallow rodents whole, tarantulas instead inject their prey with digestive enzymes. They then drink these juices. This can create a real mess within your tarantula cage, resulting in far more cleaning than normal.
As a result, while some tarantulas can and will eat rodents, it is generally best to avoid the situation if at all possible.
What If I Don’t Want to Feed Live Feeder Insects?
Some tarantulas will forage for dead animals and happily consume them. For keepers who don’t want to feed live insects, your spider may be encouraged to take dead feeder insects.
However not all tarantulas will accept such prey, and it may take considerable effort to encourage your pet to eat them.
Whenever possible live insects are likely to be the best option. If you don’t like the idea of feeding live insects to a tarantula then it might be easier to consider a pet that will eat vegetables – such as many pet lizards.