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Mice as food for Tarantulas advice please?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Imegnixs_Cinder, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. Imegnixs_Cinder

    Imegnixs_Cinder Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Sorry if this has been covered before, I did do a search and couldn't find what I was looking for.
    Iv'e heard somewhere on this forum that feeding mice to Tarantulas can cause health issues for the tara from the calcium in the mouse. Is this true?
    I do NOT feed live mice! But my Smithi will happily eat a pre killed pinky mouse which I find my easier than feeding crickets. He will also eat bits of raw steak and chicken. I do try and feed crickets now and then when I can get them, but where I live its very hard to find a decent supplier of crickets.
    Anyway my question really is it safe? I know in the wild Taras can and do kill small mice and birds and frogs, but then it was said about the calcium so now Im not sure, can someone offer advice please?
  2. Code Monkey

    Code Monkey Arachnoemperor Old Timer

    Nobody can give you solid advice because the whole thing is based upon some preliminary data. Intuitively, it seems like it may be a bad idea to feed animals we know feed primarily upon other inverts a lot of vertebrate based prey since they are so nutritionally different. Then again, we know that wild Ts will eat vertebrate prey but no one knows how often this actually occurs.

    The issue in captivity is that many owners are undoubtedly feeding their tarantulas far more vertebrate foodstuffs than they could reasonably encounter in the wild. One of the biggest differences is the calcium content, and calcium in the body plays very important roles in regulating nerve and enzyme function in very small amounts. We need lots of calcium because we have our bones, but I can still give you too much calcium and you will develop a host of problems. Since Ts naturally require so little calcium, it makes sense to study if they suffer analogous health problems a result of a continued overdose.

    As of now, the answer is we don't know. What we do know is this, though, they do not need vertebrate prey at all. The occasional pinky post-moult as a treat to fatten them up is probably fine, but as a regular component of their diet it's nothing I would ever recommend.
  3. Imegnixs_Cinder

    Imegnixs_Cinder Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Thanks for that Code Monkey :) he does seem to be doing ok on the current diet, but Im sure he must be due for a molt before long (its been about 10 months at least) so think will play safe and try and hunt him down some crickets untill after his next molt :)
  4. Schlyne

    Schlyne Arachnoangel Old Timer

    I've also heard that you should make sure that the rodents you use have not been sprayed for mites.
  5. Rounder

    Rounder Arachnobaron Old Timer

    CM, how about feeding a high calcium diet to your crix or roaches that you're feeding your Ts? Such as Flukers cricket diet at Petsmart, that is supposed to have a high content of calcium? What are your thoughts on that?

    I do plan to feed a few of my Ts (blondi, parahybana, king baboon) pinky mice once those Ts are nearly full grown, but I only plan to do so on occassion (2-3 a year), their primary diet will be discoid roaches and I will also buy crickets on occassion just to mix things up a bit.
  6. TheNatural

    TheNatural Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Tha sounds like a good subject for becca's experiment!!

    : P
  7. matija

    matija Arachnosquire Old Timer


    well i feed my parahybana very often with almost grown mice.. lets say about one or two mice in a month...she likes them alive... and she is still about 15 cm...
    from other prey she gets zoophobas..and some crickets...when she grows i believe i'll feed her with mice more than anything else... cause what will she eat...15 to 20 zoophobas per feeding? that is like popcorn to her...

    here is a pic...


    she is still small...but beautifull...

    take care
  8. TheNatural

    TheNatural Arachnoprince Old Timer


    ...don't you foget about the nutrition. In any "food", you don't give your T just something to eat, but you give all it needs to be healthy. So its very important to give your T different "nutrients" like it has in its natural enviroment, and also feed it with "well known procedence food". You can't give your T some "street found cockroach".
  9. xelda

    xelda Arachnobaron Old Timer

    This isn't exactly true for humans. Excess calcium merely passes through the body. Calcitonin and parathyroid hormone regulate proper calcium levels in the blood and bones. Basically, one hormone puts calcium into the bones, while the other puts calcium back into the blood. Whatever isn't needed just gets excreted from the body. Hypercalcemia is when there's too much calcium in the blood. It's usually caused by a lack of calcitonin, NOT an excessive intake of calcium. (That's why calcitonin is prescribed to treat hypercalcemia patients.)

    As far as I know, invertebrates don't have a similar mechanism for controlling calcium levels. Crickets are the best example I can think of: they either poop the calcium out quickly or they die from it.
  10. AfterTheAsylum

    AfterTheAsylum Arachnodemon Old Timer

    More power to you! I feed all of my adults mice 2 to 3 times a month and I have NEVER suffered any iconsequences. I feed the mice crickets too - so the crickets get transferred. Which is strange. I never thought of it. One day a T didn't want to eat and I needed to put the mouse somewhere, so I stuck it in the cricket cage and the mouse went nuts. It started eating them! Maybe it was just a quark. Like all the crickets jumping around were like flashing lights to someone with epilepsy. Anyway, the study is speculation. Like Code Monkey said, "We Don't Know". However, I have never heard of the problem and I have never had bad luck. My treasures get a chance to eat a mouse every Saturday and in between they get roaches, crickets, worms, etc.
  11. atromos

    atromos Arachnopeon

    how do you feed your spider(s) that often? When I had my spider (mexican fire leg) he wouldn't eat more than 6 crickets in 3 weeks, and he was nearly full grown. He's passed on to spider heaven though.
  12. JC

    JC Arachnoprince Old Timer

    This thread is 5 years old, I don't think you will get a response from any of those users any time soon.
  13. dopamine

    dopamine Arachnobaron

    Mice and rats LOVE crickets. Alot of people actually don't know that:D
  14. robd

    robd Arachnobaron

    ^^^^ yeah this is true. I have a pet rat and I've seen her chase down a fly once, back when I had her in an aquarium style tank. It's not at all abnormal for rodents to eat bugs.
  15. Ultum4Spiderz

    Ultum4Spiderz Arachnoking Active Member

    Yeah but Ts under 6" inches could be overpowered by mice right? LP are huge a mouse is nothing for a sub adult female.
  16. Spepper

    Spepper Arachnodemon

    I can't fathom why anyone would feed mice to their tarantula and think it's a good idea. Especially live mice, and as their staple food source. Doesn't something strike you as wrong when an invert is fed vertebrates? :? Just because they can doesn't mean you should....
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Amen to that! It gets my goat when people try to use the "it happens in nature" argument regarding using live vertebrates (animals for which we have overwhelming evidence indicating that they have the capacity to suffer) as food. All sorts of terrible things happen to animals in nature. To quote the great animal scientist Dr. Temple Grandin, "Nature is cruel, but we don't have to be." I will probably incorporate humanely killed rodents into my A. geniculata and G. pulchripes' diets when they are bigger, but ONLY pre-killed and ONLY as an occasional treat.
  18. freedumbdclxvi

    freedumbdclxvi Arachnoprince

    No. Should I be upset when I feed invert to my vertebrates?

    I feed live pinkies to my larger T's every few months for variety. I don't see the need in going any larger due to botht the mess of leftovers and the chance of a larger mouse injuring the spider. But pinkies aren't capable of injuring the T's, and they are small enough for a single meal for a large spider.
    • Like Like x 2
  19. Crickets and mice are night and day as far as the ethical consideration they deserve. I understand people who don't have a background in biology might not be familiar with the inner workings of these critters, but, basically, mice have pretty much all the "hardware" we have, whereas crickets don't even have a brain.
  20. freedumbdclxvi

    freedumbdclxvi Arachnoprince

    Uh, crickets have a brain. Not really sure how that background in biology failed to instill that pure and simple fact.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
    • Like Like x 2
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