Tarantula obeisity?

Arachnethegreek

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
41
Ok, I just gave my t's the weekly feeding. My 1.5 G. Pulchripes took three small mealworms and devoured them in an hour and a bit. This morning however her abdomen is swollen larger than I have ever seen it, so a few questions.
1. Can tarantulas suffer Ill effect from overeating or will they just eat when they're hungry and stop when full?
2. Is three meal worms too much? Apx. 1/3" mealworms to a 1.5" T.
3. How will this affect in future if at all?
Disclaimer: yes I ran a search, came up with a lot if threads pertaining to powerfeeding but nothing helpful on obiesity, and yes u have checked the TKG. other than a passing reference to obese spiders it doesn't define or describe the effects.
 

Motorkar

Arachnobaron
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Aug 16, 2009
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473
1. Yes they get fat, that puts much preasure on the organs and when spider climbs its much more exposed to danger of falling and injure or killing itself.
2.They stop eating when they have enough. Spiders have very slow metabolism and they can go out on the fasting for few months or even years if tyey are too full.
3. If you powerfeed them they will grow faster but it will shorten their lifespan.
 

malevolentrobot

Arachnobaron
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Jan 21, 2010
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1. :D it might help to spell obesity right, the first T related thread that popped up when i ran a search was:

http://www.arachnoboards.com/ab/showthread.php?t=184870&highlight=obesity

2. i think 3 mealworms for a 1.5" pulchripes might be a bit overdoing it, unless you are trying to powerfeed. if i was to feed my pulchripes of roughly the same size it would probably be content with one, maybe two.

3. you will shorten the lifespan if you overfeed and ultimately make them grow and moult quicker. not as much of a concern with a female, but when you find out you have a MM... also, later when they get bigger there is also a risk of an abdomen rupture if you ever end up dropping your T or if it falls a decent distance.

i'm sure there is more, but that's all i can remember reading as dangers off the top of my head.
 

groovyspider

Arachnoknight
Joined
Aug 18, 2010
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256
1. also, later when they get bigger there is also a risk of an abdomen rupture if you ever end up dropping your T or if it falls a decent distance.



yes and you feel absolutly awful when see they fell or if you had a hand in it( not that i ever have but i could only imagine:( )
 

Terry D

Arachnodemon
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Nov 21, 2009
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Op, I don't think it's such a big deal with slings under 3" to "overfeed". They'll molt quicker, thus getting them past the sometimes problematic issues that arise at younger ages. It certainly keeps them well-hydrated. According to one dealer on the board, males mature out larger and live longer afterward after such feeding regimens.

However, according to posted nutritional analyses, mealworms are higher in fat than other feeder insects. That being said, I'm guessing it could be possible. Along related lines topicwise, I recently saw my first adult t that appeared almost grossly overweight- an Acanthoscurria geniculata female. I cut back on the feeding schedules considerably awhile back on larger juvys and subadults. Although growth has slowed notably, they still appear slightly fat, healthy and happy. My 2 cents,

Terry
 

NevularScorpion

Arachnoangel
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Ok, I just gave my t's the weekly feeding. My 1.5 G. Pulchripes took three small mealworms and devoured them in an hour and a bit. This morning however her abdomen is swollen larger than I have ever seen it, so a few questions.
your t is probobly preparing to go to premolt :)



1. Can tarantulas suffer Ill effect from overeating or will they just eat when they're hungry and stop when full?

I seen some people reported that their tarantula died from too much feeding but I never experience that. I been keeping more than 100 Ts of different sp. In my experience, they just usually get really fat and stop eating. after that they will either go to premolt or eat again. If you over feed your Ts they will molt faster. I over feed my slings and juvs but not adults because I want my sling and juvs to grow faster but I don't want my adults to mature faster.

2. Is three meal worms too much? Apx. 1/3" mealworms to a 1.5" T.

there is no limit on how much you want to feed your T. It depends on you if you want your sling to grow faster feed it more but if you want it to grow normally feed it less like 1 meal worm 1/3" a week.

3. How will this affect in future if at all?

I notice that Ts that are being over fed when they were young develop a more bulkier body and bigger abdomen when they are adults. For example, WC Ts will never develop an abdomen that is as big as a T that has been over fed since it was young because young overfed Ts adapt their body to their feeding habits. This is all from my personal experience, I bought WC adults in the past and they never reach the body size of my CB adults even how much I feed them because their body stop developing already. I over feed my ts when they are young so they will look nice as adults :)
 

Terry D

Arachnodemon
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3. How will this affect in future if at all?

I notice that Ts that are being over fed when they were young develop a more bulkier body and bigger abdomen when they are adults. For example, WC Ts will never develop an abdomen that is as big as a T that has been over fed since it was young because young overfed Ts adapt their body to their feeding habits. This is all from my personal experience, I bought WC adults in the past and they never reach the body size of my CB adults even how much I feed them because their body stop developing already. I over feed my ts when they are young so they will look nice as adults :)
Nev'Scorp,

I believe this to be very subjective depending upon conditions of feast or famine in each indivd or colony of t's in their native habitat. I've brought this up before and have some recent photos of wild hentzi that will somewhat back it up. P.m. me and I'll send you the pics as soon as my e-mail quits acting up. Like Fran mentioned in another recent thread- Depending upon the area in which a spider is born, it may well be exposed to an endless buffet in which it will eat, molt, and grow quickly. Conversely, I've also noticed some comparatively skinny spiders during drought years. Lately there seems to be a cornucopia and most wild-found spiders in our area back in spring looked just as well fed as any captive, overstuffed sling. It is also my belief that sp in drier states farther west are much more likely to be exposed to these extremes over longer periods of time :)

Cheers,

Terry
 

Fran

Arachnoprince
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Nov 8, 2007
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1,533
Agree with Terry and NevularScorpion :).

Lets not shove the food to our t's...(wait,is it possible?...I dont think so)
But lets not have rocks with legs in our tanks.
 

andrews1

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 9, 2010
Messages
11
I agree with Terry D. Infact most babies, given that it is human or a cat. It will need to eat because it is constetnly groiwng. It might poop more but it needs to eat.
 

Arachnethegreek

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
41
I agree with Terry D. Infact most babies, given that it is human or a cat. It will need to eat because it is constetnly groiwng. It might poop more but it needs to eat.
Lol, true enough on the poop, I seem to be the favorite latrine, cleaning a bolis out, she walks up onto the hand, poops, and walks back down.
 

MissChelly

Arachnosquire
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Oct 9, 2009
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Lol, true enough on the poop, I seem to be the favorite latrine, cleaning a bolis out, she walks up onto the hand, poops, and walks back down.
LOL! "I gotta poop baaaaad... ooh, a hand!" *crawls onto hand, waits a bit, then grunty noise* "Annnnnd I'm done! thanks!" *tarantula walks off hand*

Sorry, I just pictured that in my head...
On topic, from what I've read, overfeeding equals a shorter life span, more dangers if they fall, and probably a fat, lazy tarantula aka all of the above posters' answers...
 

Stan Schultz

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... 1. Can tarantulas suffer Ill effect from overeating or will they just eat when they're hungry and stop when full?
2. Is three meal worms too much? Apx. 1/3" mealworms to a 1.5" T.
3. How will this affect in future if at all? ...
First, for the most part, what Motorkar posted is essentially correct. He beat me to it!

Second, while everybody just absolutely "knows" that obesity in tarantulas is harmful to them, no one has actually done any sort of believable study to document the fact, and I have some serious doubts about this urban myth.

My doubts arise from a general feeling that I've developed over the decades that, because arachnids in general and tarantulas in particular seem to do everything differently than we'd expect, our old wives' tales about obesity probably work for most vertebrates (as I sit here 40 pounds overweight!), but may not be applicable to arachnids just because they're so different.

But, there is a more substantial, potential reason. Many tarantulas (maybe even most) have adopted or evolved a lifestyle characterized by a wait-and-pounce sort of predation. While this saves a lot of energy, it doesn't go a long way towards ensuring a steady food supply.

So, to compensate for potentially long, LONG, LONG waits between meals, they seem to have evolved the ability to store impressive amounts of fat or other storage substances. And, they've evolved a metabolism that shuts down almost completely when they don't need to be active. (Contrast that to our wasteful, constant, high body temperature and the consequent huge volumes and steady supply of high caloric food we require to stay alive.)

When wild tarantulas are blessed with a sudden, abundant food supply (e.g., a locust swarm flies through) they gorge themselves to accumulate as much energy storage mass as possible because they may have to survive a year or more before their next big meal. (Nile crocodiles in the Serengeti of Africa use the same strategy, eating only about every 6 months!) While I don't remember any specific field studies stating that tarantulas become obese during these times of plenty, I would not be surprised by it. And, our own experiences with the tarantulas around Del Rio and Eagle Pass, Texas during years of drought (= famine) and years of plenty tends to reinforce that contention. Tarantulas may in fact have specifically evolved to become obese whenever possible as a survival strategy. And, if this is true, the contention that obesity is bad for them may likely be dead wrong.

But, that begs the question about short term obesity versus long term obesity. The tarantula (or crocodile, or grizzly bear) that gets fat now so it can survive a period of famine (or hibernation) where it will lose most of that excess of stored food, may be in a completely different situation than a tarantula (or crocodile, or grizzly bear) in captivity that is allowed to become obese, then kept that way indefinitely. I'm not much of an expert on crocodiles or grizzlies, so I can't comment on them. And, I've neither seen nor heard of anyone who's done any sort of believable research on tarantulas that would either debunk or confirm the myth.

NB - Research grants for arachnology, especially tarantula research, are almost as scarce as spiders' teeth. So are people qualified to perform such research. But, I'm sure that if one of you wanted to do your doctoral research in the comparative study of the physiology of food storage mechanisms in 3 or 4 distantly related (or unrelated) animals, I'm reasonably sure that you could find a research lab and grant money if you have the qualifications. Would any of you be interested in a PhD? (You might, of course, have to work with 14 ft. (4.25 meter) Nile crocs and 880 lb. (400 kg.) grizzly bear. But, you didn't want to live forever anyway, did you?) :D

Hint: If you do, have lots of kids early in life. Just in case! {D
 

andrews1

Arachnopeon
Joined
May 9, 2010
Messages
11
stress

Stress, i think plays a big role in cutting life short for animals of any sp.
 
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