Do Tarantulas Really Eat Birds?


Tarantulas are known for their impressive predatory instincts and hunting prowess, but the idea of them feasting on a bird seems almost preposterous.

However, believe it or not, there have been documented cases of tarantulas hunting and consuming birds. In fact, one study found that around 8% of a tarantula’s diet could consist of birds, primarily small humming birds.

While such encounters are relatively rare, they do serve as a reminder of the diverse and fascinating ways in which different animals have adapted to survive in their respective environments.

So, do tarantulas really eat birds? Yes, every now and then, but rest assured that it’s definitely not a regular occurrence.

Evidence Of Tarantulas Eating Birds

So we know tarantulas do eat birds “but” is there any evidence to back this up? Well, this was first depicted in the 1705 book Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium by naturalist Maria Sibylla Meria.

In fact, there’s one species of tarantula in particular that’s been caught on camera, eating small birds, called “the goliath birdeater tarantula! Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

The Goliath birdeater tarantula, belongs to the tarantula family Theraphosidae and is the largest spider in the world. But, despite being caught on camera, they rarely eats birds.

How Do Tarantulas Capture Birds?

So how do tarantulas capture birds? Well, tarantulas typically capture their prey by ambushing them. They will wait in a hidden spot, such as a burrow or crevice, for their prey “bird” to get close.

When the its close enough, the tarantula will quickly pounce, and bite it with its venomous fangs. At this point, the venom will quickly move through the bird’s blood stream, immobilizing it, and making it easier for the tarantula to move or eat.

Depending on the species, most tarantulas will either drag their prey back to its hiding spot to consume it, or eat it there and then.

Related Post: How Fast Can A Tarantula Run?

How Often Do They Eat Birds?

While there are some species of tarantulas that capture and eat birds, it’s not a common occurrence. Despite the size and strength, of the Goliath, bird-eating tarantula, they dont usually prey on birds.

Instead, their diet mainly consists of insects, frogs, and small rodents. However, if a bird lands close to the spider and there’s an easy meal to be had, then the spider won’t hesitate to pounce on it.

Other Spider Species That Eat Birds

While tarantulas are the most well-known spider species to eat birds, there are actually several other types of spiders that also enjoy eating birds from time to time, all of which are found throughout the world. These include:

  • Wolf spiders
  • Fishing spiders
  • Great huntsman spider

Wolf spiders hunt using their keen eyesight and will feed on anything they can catch, including birds. Fishing spiders, as their name suggests, specialize in catching aquatic prey like fish and frogs. However, they have also been known to take down small birds too!

Finally, the great Huntsman spider is also known for capturing and eating bird, but typically prefers eating insects or rodents. So while it’s not common for spiders to eat birds, there are certainly some species that do in rare cases.

Whether due to a lack of other food sources or higher nutrition value from bird meat, these unique behaviors provide insight into how these creatures survive in various environments!


The Goliath bird-eating tarantula, the largest spider in the world, and is often associated with eating birds due to its name. However, they do not eat birds on a daily basis and tend to rely on insects as their main source of food.

Related Post: Can (And Do) Tarantulas Eat Mealworms?

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