Caring for a pet spider can be an exciting experience, but understanding their dietary needs can be intimidating. However, it’s important to know what foods spiders enjoy eating so you can provide them with the nutrition they need.
From grasshoppers and mealworms to waxworms and fruit flies, there are several options when it comes to feeding your pet arachnid, but can spiders eat crickets?
Yes, spiders can eat crickets. In fact, crickets are a common food source for many species of spiders. This is particularly true for tarantulas, which are known to consume both grasshoppers and crickets.
With that said, the size and species of both the spider and the cricket can affect whether a spider can successfully take down and eat a cricket. For example, if the cricket is twice the size of the spider it can pose a threat or even injure the spider.
The good news is all these questions will be answered along with some recommendations to help you make the best choice when feeding crickets to your pet spider.
Types Of Spiders That Eat Crickets?
First off, let’s talk about the types of spiders that are commonly known for eating crickets on a regular basis.
- Tarantulas: Tarantulas are well known for their appetite for crickets. In captivity, crickets are a commonly provided food source for tarantulas because of the high nutrients they offer.
- Jumping Spiders: Although feeding large crickets to small spiders can be risky, this is not the case for jumping spiders! Despite their small size, jumping spiders can often take down prey much larger than themselves, including crickets.
- Huntsman Spiders: is another spider that has a taste for crickets! In the wild, huntsman spiders require a diet rich in protein to survive, growth, and reproductive functions and since crickets are high in protein, this fulfills their nutritional requirement effectively.
- Wolf Spiders: Wolf spiders are another species that feeds on crickets in fact, crickets are widely available in many of the habitats where wolf spiders live. Because of this, they tend to eat these insects on a regular basis.
- Orb Weaver Spiders: Now unlike the jumping spiders and wolf spiders, the Orb Weaver Spiders, are known for their intricate, circular webs, used for catching their prey, which includes insects like crickets. Although they don’t eat as many as the previous spiders, crickets are still part of their diet.
- House Spiders: Common house spiders will also consume crickets when they come across them. Like the orb weaver spider, house spiders also construct webs in order to catch their prey.
Although these spiders are known to eat crickets, they are opportunistic predators, which means their diet isn’t just limited to crickets. They will generally feast on any insects or small animals they can catch.
What Size Cricket Is Safe For Spiders To Eat?
When it comes to feeding spiders, especially pet spiders the size of the cricket is crucial. A good rule of thumb is to offer insects that are about half the spider’s leg span or slightly smaller than the length of their body.
For instance, if you have a small or young spider or spiderling, micro crickets would be a suitable choice, as they are small enough for the spider to handle. As the spider grows, you can gradually increase the size of the crickets.
Of course, if you have a tarantula or jumping spider you shouldn’t have to worry about this as these spiders can typically take down large prey.
Types Of Crickets Spiders Should Avoid Eating
While spiders can eat a variety of crickets, there are certain precautions that should be taken, especially if you’re keeping spiders as pets.
- Firstly, it’s important to ensure the crickets are clean and free from pesticides. Pesticides can be harmful or even lethal to spiders. Avoid feeding your spider any insects that you’ve caught outside for this reason, as they may have come into contact with pesticides.
- Secondly, crickets should also be free from parasites. Some crickets may carry internal parasites which could potentially harm the spider if ingested.
- Thirdly, avoid feeding spiders ‘gut-loaded’ crickets. Gut-loading is a process where the cricket is fed nutrient-rich food before being offered to the predator. While this is beneficial for some animals, it can be harmful to spiders if the cricket has been fed inappropriate foods.
- Lastly, it’s crucial not to feed spiders dead crickets. Spiders prefer live prey, and a dead cricket could be an indication of disease or other issues that could potentially harm your spider.
Take Note: Buying crickets from a reputable pet shop is often the safe and convenient option for feeding your pet spider. Pet shops typically maintain their crickets in clean conditions, feed them a healthy diet, and keep them free from pesticides and parasites.
These crickets are usually bred specifically for feeding purposes, so they are generally of good quality and health. They also offer crickets in a variety of sizes, allowing you to choose the most appropriate size for your spider.
With that said, it’s still important to check the crickets before feeding them to your spider. Ensure they are active and look healthy.
Benefits Of Feeding Your Spider Crickets
So we know spiders can eat crickets but what do they get out of it nutrition-wise? Well, feeding crickets to spiders, especially pet spiders, has multiple benefits including:
- Nutritional Value: Crickets are a great source of protein and other essential nutrients that spiders need for growth and overall health. They help in maintaining the spider’s vitality and longevity.
- Stimulates Natural Behavior: Hunting and capturing prey is a natural behavior for spiders. Feeding them live crickets can stimulate these instincts, promoting more active and healthy behavior.
- Molting and Reproduction: A diet rich in protein from sources like crickets can aid in the molting process, which is crucial for a spider’s growth. It also plays a significant role in successful reproduction.
- Convenience: Crickets are readily available at most pet stores and are easy to keep, making them a convenient food source for spiders.
- Variety: Offering crickets as part of a varied diet can enhance the spider’s well-being. Different prey offers different nutritional profiles, contributing to a balanced diet.
So feeding spiders crickets can not only contribute to their health and well-being by providing essential nutrients, but also help with stimulating their natural hunting behaviors, aiding in molting and reproduction, and adding variety to their diet.
How Many Crickets Can They Eat?
The number of crickets a spider should eat can vary depending on the species, size, and age of the spider. However, a general guideline is to feed an adult spider one or two appropriately-sized crickets per week.
For spiderlings or younger spiders, they may need to eat more frequently due to their faster growth rate. They could eat a small cricket or other small insect every day or two.
It’s important to monitor your spider’s behavior and adjust feeding accordingly. If the spider doesn’t eat the cricket within 24 hours, it’s best to remove it from the enclosure as uneaten prey can stress the spider and, in some cases, harm it.
Also remember that spiders can go through periods of fasting, especially during pre-molt stages, so don’t be alarmed if your spider refuses food occasionally.
Always ensure that the crickets are an appropriate size for the spider – around half the spider’s body length is a good measure.
How To Feed Crickets To Your Pet Spider?
Feeding crickets to your pet spider involves a few steps to ensure the health and safety of both the spider and the crickets. Here’s a simple guide:
- Choose The Right Size: The crickets you choose should be appropriately sized for your spider. A good rule of thumb is to select crickets that are about half the size of your spider’s body length.
- Ensure Cricket Health: If you’re buying crickets from a pet store, make sure they appear healthy and active. The healthier the cricket, the more nutritional value it provides to your spider.
- Prep The Crickets: Some spider owners choose to ‘gut load’ their crickets before feeding them to their spiders. This means feeding the crickets a nutritious diet before they are eaten by the spider, enhancing their nutritional value.
- Place In Enclosure: Simply place the cricket in your spider’s enclosure. It’s best to do this in the evening or at night as most spiders are nocturnal and prefer to hunt during this time.
Should Spiders Eat Crickets Dead Or Alive?
Spiders are predators by nature and typically prefer to catch and kill their prey live. They are equipped with venomous fangs they use not only for defense but also to immobilize their prey.
This behavior is part of their hunting strategy, where movement plays a key role in attracting them to their prey.
That said, some spiders may eat dead insects if they’re hungry and the insect has been recently killed. In captivity, it’s not uncommon for pet spiders to be fed dead insects, such as crickets.
However, many species of spiders, especially jumping spiders, have a strong preference for live prey. They may refuse to eat dead or non-moving insects altogether.
It’s also important to note that feeding dead insects can carry a risk of disease or decay, which could potentially harm your spider. Therefore, it’s generally recommended to feed spiders live insects when possible.
So, while spiders can eat crickets whether they’re dead or alive, they generally prefer live prey due to their natural hunting instincts. If you are new to owning a spider and are unsure what else they can eat we have a wide range of articles about this very topic. To find out more view our category list spiders food.