Food Variety and Nutrition

Kodi

Title Master
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
316
So I was thinking -- as many have probably thought and posted before -- that we tarantula hobbyists do not feed our tarantulas the variety of food that they would stumble upon in their natural habitats. It's concerning that what is known as the norm for tarantula keeping is possibly far from healthy. Although it makes sense that a tarantula being an invertebrate would require very similar nutrients to the many different invertebrates that they consume.
Basically what I'm looking for are some studies, evidence, or substantial experiences concerning the health of a tarantula when fed diversely compared to a simple cricket diet. I know there isn't much scientific research on tarantulas and their many aspects, but surely someone has some helpful input.

Are you concerned with feeding your T's a diverse diet? Why or why not?
Do you think a tarantulas consumption of vertebrates in the wild is especially beneficial or just an extra fattening meal?
 

Sana

Arachnoprince
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Oct 26, 2014
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1,143
I haven't ever seen anything approaching research or study of the dietary needs of a tarantula. The closest that I have ever come to that is an article that I read containing observations in the field and offering the hypothesis that tarantulas need a varied diet. I went hunting to try to turn up the link to that article and came across a few other discussions on this topic that have happened over the last few years. Here's one for you:
http://arachnoboards.com/threads/fruit-fly-myth.269716/

I'm going to have to keep hunting to dig up a link to the article that I read.

Based on reading and logic, I feed my tarantulas a more varied diet. As I have yet to find solid research supporting the nutritional needs of tarantulas I don't know that there is actually any benefit to feeding the way that I do. I haven't seen any indications that my tarantulas' health is better on a varied diet then it was previously when I was feeding strictly crickets. My understanding of tarantulas eating vertebrates (and I don't remember what led me to believe this so take it with a grain of salt) is that in the field it is not as common an occurrence as we tend to believe. To the best of my knowledge there isn't a benefit to feeding a tarantula vertebrates over other types of feeders.

It's a little early in the morning for me to thoroughly process the world around me so I'll check back later when my brain is more functional and see what I'm missing. I'll try again to dig up a couple of other links that I remember on the topic as well.
 

EulersK

Arachnonomicon
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Feb 22, 2013
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3,298
Can't say I'm concerned with a varied diet, no. I've had many T's grow up entirely on dubia roaches with no obvious issues. I do however concern myself with giving my roaches a varied diet - whatever they eat, my tarantulas obviously indirectly eat. I truly believe that to be enough.
 

Kodi

Title Master
Joined
Jul 27, 2012
Messages
316
I haven't ever seen anything approaching research or study of the dietary needs of a tarantula. The closest that I have ever come to that is an article that I read containing observations in the field and offering the hypothesis that tarantulas need a varied diet. I went hunting to try to turn up the link to that article and came across a few other discussions on this topic that have happened over the last few years. Here's one for you:
http://arachnoboards.com/threads/fruit-fly-myth.269716/

I'm going to have to keep hunting to dig up a link to the article that I read.

Based on reading and logic, I feed my tarantulas a more varied diet. As I have yet to find solid research supporting the nutritional needs of tarantulas I don't know that there is actually any benefit to feeding the way that I do. I haven't seen any indications that my tarantulas' health is better on a varied diet then it was previously when I was feeding strictly crickets. My understanding of tarantulas eating vertebrates (and I don't remember what led me to believe this so take it with a grain of salt) is that in the field it is not as common an occurrence as we tend to believe. To the best of my knowledge there isn't a benefit to feeding a tarantula vertebrates over other types of feeders.

It's a little early in the morning for me to thoroughly process the world around me so I'll check back later when my brain is more functional and see what I'm missing. I'll try again to dig up a couple of other links that I remember on the topic as well.
Thank you for the extensive input. Definitely let me know if you find that article. What kind of variety so you feed your T's?
 

saturnthegrey

Arachnosquire
Joined
Jan 15, 2016
Messages
80
I agree with @EulersK I doubt most of them even run across many vertebrates they are capable of or willing to take down. I haven't been keeping for very long but they all seem to do fine on crickets alone. I only really feed mine mealworms after a molt
 

TarantulasWorld

Arachnosquire
Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
98
I feed my Ts whatever they prefer to eat whether roaches or crickets - as long as ur feeders are well fed your Ts will be well fed
 

KezyGLA

Arachnoking
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Apr 8, 2016
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3,033
Keep the feeders well fed and hydrated and the effects will carry through to the T
 

mistertim

Arachnobaron
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Sep 4, 2015
Messages
551
My Ts have all been fine on crickets. Obviously I make sure the crickets get good food. But beyond that, I'm not sure it really matters all that much as long as it satisfies basic nutrient requirements. I might give mealworms or superworms a try as a once in a while thing. To be honest, I would try roaches but there isn't anywhere near me that I know of where I can go and get 10 of them or so. Online you generally have to purchase at least 25-50 which is too many and I'm not trying to start a roach colony.
 

KezyGLA

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Apr 8, 2016
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My Ts have all been fine on crickets. Obviously I make sure the crickets get good food. But beyond that, I'm not sure it really matters all that much as long as it satisfies basic nutrient requirements. I might give mealworms or superworms a try as a once in a while thing. To be honest, I would try roaches but there isn't anywhere near me that I know of where I can go and get 10 of them or so. Online you generally have to purchase at least 25-50 which is too many and I'm not trying to start a roach colony.
I want to start a colony of crickets soon. What do you think is the best food to feed the crix?
 

mistertim

Arachnobaron
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Sep 4, 2015
Messages
551
I want to start a colony of crickets soon. What do you think is the best food to feed the crix?
I don't have enough Ts yet for a cricket colony but I will generally go to the pet store and get 20-30 (mix of small and large) crickets at a time and those will last me a good couple weeks at least. I use a combination of something fresh for hydration...usually romaine lettuce or carrots, and Fluker's dry cricket chow. The combo seems to work pretty well. You just have to make sure to check it every so often and clean out any dead crickets. And definitely don't put a water dish in there...crickets are the dumbest creatures known to man and will manage to drown if you even say the word "water" near their enclosure.
 

KezyGLA

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I use them just now but have only just thought about starting a colony. I feed them the bug chow and carrots and celery. I stick a little dish of bug gel in with them every couple days. I was wondering if there is any specific foods that crickets thrive off of. The ones I feed my Ts look relatively healthy but I want the Ts to be at their healthiest
 

Sana

Arachnoprince
Joined
Oct 26, 2014
Messages
1,143
Thank you for the extensive input. Definitely let me know if you find that article. What kind of variety so you feed your T's?
I feed my tarantulas crickets, dubias, meal worms, wax worms, super worms, horned worms, and moths. I'm also considering trying out earthworms since I have recently started a breeding bin of them for fishing bait.

I want to start a colony of crickets soon. What do you think is the best food to feed the crix?
Cricket colonies are a minor pain in the neck. I speak from experience. My current setup offers the opportunity for them to lay eggs and hatch out but I don't have any bins specifically set up to breed them. The current setup is a big plastic container that I have cut holes into the sides and top of and screened over for ventilation. I have a couple containers of topsoil in the bin that I moisten a bit once every week or so. Besides that there is a pile of paper towel roll tubes and egg cartons for them to hide out in. I feed fresh vegetables but not fruits. The water content in the vegetables and the moisture in the soil have prevented the need to add water of some kind. The reason that I don't feed fruit anymore is that the sugars seem to attract pests more readily and I'm not a fan of annoying little flies. If you want to make life a little easier on yourself with your colony I would recommend having two bins so that you can swap out to clean one as needed. I clean out my feeder bins once a week. Keeping up with cleaning crickets means that they don't start to stink which is one of the biggest issues that make folks lean away from using crickets as feeders.
 

KezyGLA

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Thanks for the info.

I know that they stink but the Ts seem to never reject them. I have some fussy eaters in the t room that will only eat crickets. The others love them just as much as any other feeder.

I am getting sick of having to go to the LPS to get them and they end up not lasting very long.
 

mistertim

Arachnobaron
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Sep 4, 2015
Messages
551
Yeah I'd be wary of starting a cricket colony. Very annoying upkeep and they effing stink. Even with just 20 of them after a little while I have to fully clean the cage out because it starts to smell. IIRC, @Poec54 has a relatively large cricket colony...I'm sure he would have much better input on how to control the smell, etc. If I had to start a colony (had many more Ts than I currently do) I would probably go for dubias. No smell, easy upkeep. Though, to be honest, roaches still sorta creep me out.

That being said, I can understand the prey response thing. Some Ts just don't respond unless something is moving a decent amount and roaches tend to be very good at sitting still when they feel threatened.
 

Sana

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Thanks for the info.

I know that they stink but the Ts seem to never reject them. I have some fussy eaters in the t room that will only eat crickets. The others love them just as much as any other feeder.

I am getting sick of having to go to the LPS to get them and they end up not lasting very long.
I do know the feeling (she says as she makes a list of feeders to get at the store today). Crickets are the one thing that is never turned down in our house as well. Picky eaters are just another mark of tarantula parenthood. Honestly the smell isn't bad as long as you routinely clean out your bins.

Edit: I no longer technically keep a colony. I just buy my crickets several hundred at a time so I only have to go to the LPS once a month to restock. I keep the containers of topsoil and let whatever is going to hatch do so, I just don't take the time to specifically have them reproduce.
 

Jeff23

Arachnolord
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Jul 27, 2016
Messages
621
@Jeff Allen and I have been discussing feeder bins so I pulled up some pictures of my bin that really needs to be cleaned. This should help clarify a few points that we have been discussing both here and in a couple other threads.
I love this idea but won't utilize it fully since I don't have as many T's and reptiles as you and many others on this board. I have multiple screens that I had bought from Jamie's Tarantulas that I won't be using for T enclosures so I will be setting myself up a slightly smaller version of your custom cricket tub. I was able to easily cut a decent circle and I'll use the hot melt gun to insure the vents can't pop loose.

I don't plan to do any breeding of crickets but would love to put my dubias and crickets in the same enclosure and have enough room to separate food from the hiding places better. This will also allow me to do away with part or all of the water by easily adding and removing vegetables. I have a small cricket dipper that helps in getting just a few crickets at a time but it barely fits in the top of the current store bought cricket box. If I use either of the tubes that came with the store bought box I can't reach the food or water without spilling it all over the place. If I put my hand into this small box to use a vial one or more crickets are lucky enough to jump on my arm and escape when I remove my hand. I think the crickets will be jumping the other direction in a larger box.

I need to hurry. A singing choir is getting created much faster than I would like.
 

cold blood

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I want to start a colony of crickets soon. What do you think is the best food to feed the crix?
Potatoes, carrots, lettuce/spinach/some leafy vegetable.....bed of oats and/or dog kibble. Don't use anything with too much water content or it will mold and cause many issues quickly.


I suggest banded crickets of you do, they're much much much hardier...almost hard to kill...they are also more resistant to parasites, smell less and have a quieter, more subdued chirp.
 
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