Do Spiders Eat Dead Insects? Are They Healthy?


Spiders are predators and will therefore go after live prey whenever possible. However, they are also opportunistic feeders and will eat whatever is available to them!

But, does this include prey that is already dead? While this may seem like a silly question, it’s actually one that is constantly being asked by people who are worried about the health of their spiders.

The short answer, Yes! spiders do eat dead insects, In fact, in captivity, spiders will often be fed dead insects as a food replacement. Although most would prefer to eat live insects, they will still eat dead ones if that is all that is available.

While this may not sound too appealing, spiders are opportunists, so if there’s an easy meal to be had, they’ll take full advantage of it!

Do Tarantulas Eat Dead Insects?

Some people believe that tarantulas only eat live insects, but this is not true. Tarantulas will typically eat any type of insect, whether it’s alive or dead. In fact, tarantulas aren’t really fussy eaters which is one of the reasons why tarantulas are such common house pets.

However, it’s important to note that tarantulas should not be fed exclusively on dead insects. A diet of only dead insects can lead to malnutrition and health problems for your tarantula.

So, Instead, offer a variety of both live and dead insects to ensure that your tarantula stays healthy and well-nourished.

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Do Wolf Spiders Eat Dead Insects?

While most spiders feast on live prey, wolf spiders are not afraid to chow down on a little carrion from time to time. In fact, a dead insect can be an easy meal for a wolf spider.

While the nutritional value of a dead insect may not be as high as that of a live one, it can still provide the wolf spider with enough sustenance to get by.

Also, wolf spiders like tarantulas are not picky eaters and will readily devour any type of dead insect they come across!

Do Jumping Spiders Eat Dead Insects?

While most spiders feast on live prey, some, including the jumping spider will eat dead insects! But, not in the way you might think! Jumping spiders will still catch the prey live “but” instead of eating it straight away, they may save their meal for later, at which point the insect will be dead.

While this may seem like a gruesome way to eat, it’s actually a way for the spider to conserve its food. They will usually wrap their prey up in the silk web when saving it! This helps preserve the insect by keeping fresh!

By wrapping their prey up and eating it later, they can save some energy for other activities, like courtship and reproduction. Spiders will also do this if there’s not a lot of food in the area, a “basic survival method”.

If you want to know if you can feed your pet jumping spider dead insects, check out this article: Will (And Do) Jumping Spiders Eat Dead Insects?

Types Of Dead Insects Spiders Eat

While most spiders will eat any kind of dead insect, there are some that are more commonly eaten than others. Some of the most common types of dead insects that spiders eat include:

  • Grasshoppers: typically only live for a few months, so they are often one of the first types of insects that spiders will eat when they emerge from their eggs. However, adult grasshoppers can also be an important food source for spiders, even pet shops sell them dead or alive.
  • Crickets: Like grasshoppers, these insects are a common food source for spiders, both in the wild and in captivity. In fact, many people who keep spiders as pets will feed them crickets on a regular basis dead or alive.
  • Mealworms: Mealworms are the larvae of the mealworm beetle and are often used as food for reptiles and amphibians. However, they can also be eaten by spiders. These little guys are high in protein and make nutritious meals for spiders of all sizes.
  • Grubs: are a delicious snack for spiders, especially tarantulas. Grubs are packed with nutrients that help tarantulas grow big and strong. However, while some spiders do eat them dead most spiders prefer them alive.

While there are many different types of dead insects that spiders will eat, these are some of the most common. Remember, if you have a pet spider, it’s important to offer them the freshest type of food so they can stay healthy and well-nourished.

Types Of Dead Insects Spiders Eat

How Do Spiders Eat Dead Insects?

Spiders will eat dead insects in the same way, they will eat live prey! They use their strong, sharp jaws to puncture their prey and inject them with venom.

Although the venom is used to paralyze their prey, spiders still need to do this even with dead insects to liquefy their tissue, so the spider can eat it.

How Often Can You Feed Them Dead Insects?

While spiders can technically eat dead insects every day, it is not advisable to do so. As with any animal, it is important to provide a variety of foods to ensure that they are getting all the nutrients they need.

A diet of only dead insects could lead to nutritional deficiencies, and in some cases, it could even be harmful. For example, if a spider only eats insects that are dead it might not be getting enough calcium which is essential for a healthy exoskeleton.

Some spiders also shed their skin regularly, and a diet of only dead insects could prevent them from being able to do this properly.

Are Dead Insects Healthy For Spiders?

While dead insects are not necessarily the healthiest food for spiders, they can be a nutritious part of a spider’s diet. Dead insects are high in protein and other nutrients that can help spiders to grow and thrive.

However, it is important to make sure that spiders have access to a variety of food sources so they can get all the nutrients they need.

Feeding spiders only dead insects could lead to nutritional deficiencies over time.

Is There A Time Limit With Dead Insects?

While there is no hard and fast rule about how long insects can be dead before they become unsafe for spiders to eat, it is generally advisable to only feed spiders insects that have been recently killed.

This is because the longer an insect has been dead, the more likely it is to harbor bacteria that could be harmful to spiders.

In addition, decomposing insects can release toxins that can be harmful to spiders. If you are unsure whether an insect is safe to feed to a spider, it is best to be cautious and avoid feeding it to the spider.


While most spiders prefer live prey, they will not hesitate to chow down on a little carrion from time to time. Dead insects can provide some sustenance for spiders!

But it is important to remember that they should not be fed exclusively on dead insects. A diet of only dead insects can lead to health problems for your spider.

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