Scavenging

jbm150

Arachnoprince
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Mar 18, 2009
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Few questions about tarantulas scavenging

For my smallest slings, I'll leave cricket drumsticks, tiny crickets cut in half, or whole dead tiny crickets to scavenge upon. Works well, but was wondering how they find the food. Has anyone witnessed anything that would lead them to believe that they can sense (i.e. smell) the food? I've never watched long enough to see if there is any significant taxis towards the food or if its just a random "oh here's something to eat" bumping into it. Mine have always found it, by some means....

Also, will juvies and adults scavenge as well? I've never tried leaving a dead cricket in with one. But if an adult tarantula happens into freshly dead (or not so fresh) prey item, will they pick it up? Or will they not even recognize it as food if it's not moving or they haven't killed it themselves?

Any thoughts?
 

shanebp

Arachnobaron
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Dec 14, 2009
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Your answer for how they find food is: Instinct. How does an infant know to suckle from the breast? It just does.
 

jbm150

Arachnoprince
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Chemoreceptors within their body can pickup "scents" much like your nose and lead them right to where they can find the prey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemoreceptor#Sense_organs
I understand that, they have chemoreceptors that help identify food, structure, webbing, mates, etc. But 1. can they perceive airborne chemicals and 2. do they react and exhibit significant taxis towards the food? They may have chemoreceptors that work by touch but is there any evidence they are stimulated by airborne chemicals that might lead them to scavengable food items, rather than by random happenstance.

What about adult scavenging, has anyone ever tried leaving a dead food item for their T that was eaten? Without any movement, I mean. Or will they not recognize it? Maybe I'll try it, get a big, freshly-killed cricket and very gently leave it on my OBT's web, see what happens....
 

Stewjoe

Arachnosquire
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Sep 4, 2010
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I leave prekilled food out for some of my T's, mainly small slings and when feeding superworms. They usually find it over the course of the night it disapears, some are more picky though and it needs to move. I have seen a T step right on a killed cricket and ignore it then attack the live one I threw in minutes later so I'm not too sure, depends on the T.
 

jbm150

Arachnoprince
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Well, I gave it a shot to see what would happen. I took a good-sized cricket, crushed it a bit, and waited for it to die. It actually took two crushings, the first didn't quite take. I waited until it was absolutely lifeless, no twitching, no nothing. I chased Nacho, my 3.5" male OBT into his burrow and then gently placed it on his web in a spot he likes to hang out. It took a while but he eventually came out. He walked a bit and stopped for a few minutes. Then I caught him walking forward again and his foot landed on the dead cricket. Seemingly without change in speed, he turned, moved his body over it, picked it up, and began to eat it like he's the one who killed it. No hesitation, no quick lunging move, just "oh, here's something to eat so I'm going to eat it."

Next I'm going to try it with my 4" female LP, just leave a dead cricket somewhere where it might take her a while to find it but she's bound to eventually. See what happens....
 
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