I'm just curious: For larger species like C. crawshayi and T. blondi, is vertebrate prey like mice a requirement, or optional? That is to say, can one of these spiders live and be healthy on a strictly invertebrate diet?
I wouldn't say it's *required* but an occassional pinky would be good to throw in every now and then for variety. And it also helps to get the bulk back on them after a molt.
The critter zoo by my house has a huge L. parahybana and T. blondi and they said they feed them nothing but roaches.
Large species of cockroaches are big enough for any T. I culture 4 different species .
I don't think anyone's shown that there's an actual nutritional advantage in vertebrate prey versus invert prey, but I suspect the advantage comes into play when you start takling about how much of the prey animal is actually consumed by the T. There is simply more digestable "meat" on a mouse than in an equivelent weight in insects. The inedible hard exoskeleton of insects take up alot of their weight to volume. Mice have indigestable parts too (hair and bones), but they make up a lower percentage of the total mass. Pinkies (hairless with soft bones) are even better.
Most of my T's have never seen vertebrate prey. They only time any of them do is when (as Phil mentined) I've thawed out rodents that the snakes don't want.
Is it possible for them to digest the bones/hair as well? I have fed pinkies to several of my spides, and most leave leftovers. I did have a PZB that ate EVERYTHING - i mean i thouroughly checked the cage and could not find ANY remains....