PDA

View Full Version : How Often Should I Feed My Tarantula?



ManlyMan7
06-14-2011, 06:53 PM
In an attempt to rebuild the resources of this forum, I am trying to think of commonly posted questions and topics from the previous forum, ask the questions and get discussions going that will benefit others.

So, I will start with the thread title: How Often Should I Feed My Tarantula?

Some questions related to this topic would be:

Is it bad to powerfeed my tarantula?

What do I do if my tarantula doesn't take a feeder immediately? How long do I leave it in?

What do I do if my tarantula is not eating (for weeks, months, etc.)? How long can they live without eating?

Is there any reason my tarantula isn't eating?

mystamo
06-14-2011, 11:54 PM
That's a great Idea!

I've got some questions that are more geared towards Slings.


What substrate should I put my sling on?

How big of a container does my 1/4" sling need?

Should I get a water dish?

Does it need a hide?

Why is my sling on it's back, is it dead?

Do i need special lighting or a heating mat?

What do I feed this tiny thing?

Where has my sling gone?



These were some of the many questions I had when I started raising slings.


Mo

ManlyMan7
06-15-2011, 05:04 AM
Great questions mystamo! Why don't you post thost on a thread entitled, "How do I take care of my sling?"

My aim here is to focus on frequency of feeding issues that I know come up often and the debate about power-feeding.

Hope you don't take that as a rude bump off dude. You have made some significant contributions to the thread about tarantula nutrition and your questions above are awesome, but are also in a different category of questions.

Oh, and if you get a thread started, post the link here in case others want to follow it!

Walk Alone
06-15-2011, 07:02 AM
I'll bite.

I am completely 100% against powerfeeding. Putting aside speculation that this act could contribute to health issues, what reason is there to powerfeed? Do you powerfeed any other pets? Do you powerfeed your children?

I have been keeping spiders for many years and have between 150 and 160 in my collection. I feed adults once a week and slings twice a week. I have a very healthy, hearty collection and have no reason at all to question or alter my feeding habits.

Does this gal look underfed to you? :D

7170

DISCLAIMER - Handling tarantulas with potent venom is not advised or endorsed by this forum. In certain cases of envenomation, hospitalization has been required. Please use caution when dealing with these species.

pan60
06-15-2011, 09:22 AM
i feed about once a week for small slings and T's, and maybe every other week on adults, sometimes more if they act like they would take more.
i will remove uneaten food if i can get it easily, if not it stays in.
some of my T's go for months with out eating i seldom worry about it.

i keep my sling ( after they leave the incubator ), in small jar's or vials, something around one inch maybe inch and a half, by about two inches tall.
i use peat.
no hide.
no water dish.
no heat matt but i do use a small 15 or 20 watt red lamp ( mostly for me ).
if it is on it's back leave it alone: )
i mostly feed small roach and will pinch their heads if the sling's are small.

ManlyMan7
06-15-2011, 03:24 PM
So a question that comes to my mind is, how has it been determined how often tarantulas need to be fed? Are there scientific studies that have been done? What evidence is out that that indicates what is a healthy frequency to feed them?

BQC123
06-15-2011, 04:41 PM
I feed the larger ones once per week. Small slings are fed every 2-3 days.

FaaFaa
06-16-2011, 06:43 AM
This is a good thread. I feed my adults once a week and my slings twice a week. But looking at my rosie I wonder if once a week is too often(shes really fat). I know that they metabolize food differently from us, but if food requirements are based upon energy outputs then feeding requirements would be different for every T. For example, my rosie is a rock and never moves, my avic does laps in her enclosure on a nightly basis, since she is using more energy should she be fed more often? I am beginning to think that I need to feed the rosie once every 2 weeks and the avic weekly. The rosie is like oh ok food I guess I wil eat it, but every time I feed the avic she attacks it like she is starving (as do all my slings) What are everyone elses thoughts on this?

ManlyMan7
06-16-2011, 07:01 AM
This is a good thread. I feed my adults once a week and my slings twice a week. But looking at my rosie I wonder if once a week is too often(shes really fat). I know that they metabolize food differently from us, but if food requirements are based upon energy outputs then feeding requirements would be different for every T. For example, my rosie is a rock and never moves, my avic does laps in her enclosure on a nightly basis, since she is using more energy should she be fed more often? I am beginning to think that I need to feed the rosie once every 2 weeks and the avic weekly. The rosie is like oh ok food I guess I wil eat it, but every time I feed the avic she attacks it like she is starving (as do all my slings) What are everyone elses thoughts on this?

You are starting to answer my question as to how some have come to the conclusion of once a week feeding. You are suggesting basing that on how voraciously they attack the food. Good point, as it does seem that spidies like my GBB would want/need more frequent feedings than my rosea. But that might also be more related to hunting styles too. Some may be more lazy in terms of how close prey get before they are willing to attack.

I am not looking to get into an argument here, but am simply looking for some evidence as to how this once-a-week convention came about. I do tend to feed my tarantulas more often, based on how hungry they are. Maybe I really like to watch them feed; maybe I think that if they are still taking the prey voraciously, they are still hungry. I am willing to change my habits, but just want some evidence to base that change on.

Thank you Faafaa for your input. Does anyone have any evidence to help me here?

Two things that come to my mind are the dangers of having an overfed T: 1. more susceptible to injury by falling or by scraping their heavy abdomens on something, and 2. potential health risks if they grow up too fast (but what are those risks? What has been shown to happen if they grow up too fast?).

Thank you all for your input. Much appreciated.

Valarya
06-16-2011, 09:25 AM
Is it bad to powerfeed my tarantula?

Power-feeding is generally done while the T is still in sling or juvie phase. Most T-keepers will stop power feeding once the T reaches ~3". Of course it is proven that power-feeding the T will allow them to reach maturity faster, thus shortening their lifespan overall, but their lifespan from maturity to death is not altered. Unfortunately you would need a controlled environment in which to test to see if any health problems arise from power-feeding.

ie- Two Ts of the same sex from the same sac. One in a controlled micro-climate with higher temps / being power-fed and the other being raised "normally."

I could see the benefits of power-feeding to quicken growth to adulthood (and maturity) for breeders, or impatient people like me - hahah.

All of my slings are put in a micro-climate at 82+ temperatures and are fed every day or every other day, depending on size. I haven't seen any health issues with any of the Ts I've power-grown, then again it isn't a controlled test environment with another same-sex sacmate for comparison.


How Often Should I Feed My Tarantula?

Apart from my slings, who I power-grow: I feed my larger Ts every 2-3 days, mostly for the reason I like to watch them eat and they're taking the prey and eating it. If their abdomen is overly large, I won't try to feed more often than once a week, sometimes even longer than that if the abdomen is just ridiculous, haha.


What do I do if my tarantula doesn't take a feeder immediately? How long do I leave it in?

It's typically a good practice to leave a prey-item in the container for at least 24-hours. Some Ts are shy-eaters and won't hunt or take the prey if you're standing there or have just disturbed their home, lol. I've even seen some Ts let the cricket walk over them at first, only to eat it many hours later. If the cricket has been killed, but not eaten, or just undisturbed for 24 hours, I remove it.

If my T has a black abdomen, I won't even put prey-items in the enclosure because that means it's in pre-molt. Some Ts will go weeks without eating before a molt, sometimes months depending on the genus/species.

Hope my input helps! :D

BQC123
06-16-2011, 10:37 AM
I think the once a week feeding many use is more out of convenience. People often like to have a set schedule so it is easy to remember. I prefer to feed everybody one night, and the slings, or any that might need an extra meal, again during the week. As long as the animals show signs of being healthy, I rarely feed more often, and I don't loose any sleep if they miss a meal or two.

Formerphobe
06-19-2011, 08:26 AM
The feeding schedule I impose on my tarantulas is once a week for slings, every 2 weeks for juvies, once a month for adults. I have no science to back this up, I just try not to let their opisthosomas get larger than their prosomas. If an individual molts out looking particularly scrawny, I will bump up their feedings for a bit.

presurcukr
06-19-2011, 08:31 AM
This is a good thread. I feed my adults once a week and my slings twice a week. But looking at my rosie I wonder if once a week is too often(shes really fat). I know that they metabolize food differently from us, but if food requirements are based upon energy outputs then feeding requirements would be different for every T. For example, my rosie is a rock and never moves, my avic does laps in her enclosure on a nightly basis, since she is using more energy should she be fed more often? I am beginning to think that I need to feed the rosie once every 2 weeks and the avic weekly. The rosie is like oh ok food I guess I wil eat it, but every time I feed the avic she attacks it like she is starving (as do all my slings) What are everyone elses thoughts on this?

Yes we should take into consideration how active the T your feeding is my pet rocks get feed every 2 weeks my more mobile T's are feed weekly and my slings are fed 2 times a week some times more if i have time (slings in the wild eat all they can find and as much as they can)

ManlyMan7
06-19-2011, 09:44 AM
The feeding schedule I impose on my tarantulas is once a week for slings, every 2 weeks for juvies, once a month for adults. I have no science to back this up, I just try not to let their opisthosomas get larger than their prosomas. If an individual molts out looking particularly scrawny, I will bump up their feedings for a bit.

This brings up a question in my mind: would it be useful to notice how large the opisthosomas (abdomens) of Ts in the wild typically get? Is your 1:1 ratio a typical ratio in the wild. I doubt we would find many with huge abdomens, but I think the norm might be bigger than 1:1.

xStainD
06-19-2011, 10:42 AM
This thread is a great idea. I think we should compile a Tarantula FAQ out of this thread and the others like it. Instead of having to use the search function new users can find whatever need in the FAQ.

taddict
06-19-2011, 11:08 AM
I feed my smaller T's 2-3 crickets a week. My larger T's get 1 large Dubia and 1 cricket a week. This will change when my T's are in premolt.

Formerphobe
06-19-2011, 03:01 PM
This brings up a question in my mind: would it be useful to notice how large the opisthosomas (abdomens) of Ts in the wild typically get? Is your 1:1 ratio a typical ratio in the wild. I doubt we would find many with huge abdomens, but I think the norm might be bigger than 1:1.
I think one would find all ratios in the wild. I believe much also depends on the species, gender, season, etc. I haven't had opportunity yet to observe Ts in the wild, but from pictures, there seem to be quite a number with abdomens far smaller than their cephalothorax. Good point, though. If AZ doesn't burn to the ground, I have some field expeditions planned this summer. I'll note ratios on what I find, though they will be predominantly Aphonopelma sp.

IzzyLoo
06-27-2011, 08:36 AM
This is a great thread! I plan, also, on basing how often i feed my T's on how active they are. As of right now, I only have my pet rock G. rosea, so he'll be fed about 1-2 times a week. When i get my slings, however, I definitely plan on feeding them a lot more, even up into adulthood seeing how active or not they are. :] This was an awesome read!! :)

Leeny
07-08-2011, 08:31 AM
I tend to feed about every 4-7 days I take each T at face value, as in if I think they are looking a bit less plump in the bum than I like I will pop a couple of extra crix in for the T to munch on, if they are looking all plump and happy I will pop 1 or 2 in and let them get on with it. As far as taking food out goes I tend to leave it in tbh unless the T is looking harassed in which case I try to get the crix out after 24-48 hrs but as a rule my T's don't seem to be too bothered if they last more than 24 hours in the first place that is. The only time I will avoid a feed altogether is if they are looking a bit too tubby or if the abdomen is really dark but if it is looking near a moult then I will probably pop one in just in case as a fair few on mine will eat right up to a moult

marcfrick2112
07-13-2011, 03:21 PM
Again, this is a great thread!

Well, I really feed my T's based on the individual... E.G. Gabby my MM chaco really doesn't eat very much, so once a week feeding if fine with him. Oddly, my juvie pulchra, and MF rosie are the real pigs here. Both get fed 2x week, as does my LP sling, unless he's molting. My smallest slings get a half of a nymph about 2x week.
I really just watch the individual T, rather than have a set feeding schedule.

Ranchibi
07-13-2011, 06:16 PM
I've found that each individul T needs different feeding regimens...which does take more time to monitor them individually, but the T's seem to regulate their own intake as far as how often, but not how many prey items. All my T's either sit at their burrow entrance legs extended out from the hide or emerge but stay close to the entrance of their hide when hungry. If just wandering about...I take that as I need to adjust their habitat in some way ie: humidity levels/temp, unless of course an ID'd male, or just checking things out :)

damalia
07-14-2011, 01:14 AM
I don't know maybe its just me but i hear the word Power feed and i cringe maybe its the fact that i've been into the reptiles way longer then the t's and doing rescue work the the reptiles i've seen the results of power feeding. i know with reptiles its proven power feeding causes MBD, poor kidney and liver function and other illnesses. but i guess with t's thats the unfortunate thing not enough study has been done on the subject not like you can get a t to sit still or have an x-ray done or an ultrasound to see any effects of it like you can with reptiles.
i know with my t's adults are fed once a week slings fed about every 3 days. also when looking at the adults or juvies when feeding the slings they look like they want another feed i'll toss another couple crickets in. only exception is after a molt or i'm about to breed them then i'll add a couple more feedings

Formerphobe
07-14-2011, 04:58 AM
...i hear the word Power feed and i cringe...

...adults are fed once a week slings fed about every 3 days...
The definition of power feeding is pretty loose and subjective. This constitutes power feeding to me.

FaaFaa
07-14-2011, 06:29 AM
So then formerphobe, I have a few juvies that I offer food to twice a week on Wed. and Sun. Do you feel this is power feeding? I'm saying juvie but let's make sure I am using the term correctly. :) My LP is 3 1/2", my G. pulchripies is probably 3", my B. albopilsum is about 3", and I have a P. scrofa that's about 1.5" and they all have their adult colors. Is that a juvie?

Tgirl1010
07-14-2011, 06:52 AM
I have heard people say they are feeding their ts every day, so that to me is power feeding. I generally feed my adults once a week, and small slings twice a week. If they are not eating well or look overly fat, I will skip a feeding. If they are acting like they are extremely hungry, I'll give them an extra. Everyone you ask is going to say something different lol.

BradJ
07-16-2011, 10:21 AM
Great thread! Wish I'd jumped in a little sooner, but I'd like to offer a few points here. One, I believe that in the TKG Dr. Schultz mentions that he is of the opinion that people overfeed their T's in captivity. I could be wrong, but that is what I remember (dig out your copies to verify, mine is on loan). I do agree with many here that the activity of a particular T could require more frequent feeding than a "pet rock"-type of T.

But I'm going to tell you that I think we all probably overfeed our T's, particularly our terrestrials. My thinking goes like this: most T's are ambush hunters (they wait for vibrations near them and then pounce on their prey). As ambush hunters they can't regulate when they have the opportunity to eat, so in the wild it might be a while before some prey gets into range. Yet, despite times of irregular feeding they've flourished in the wild for millions of years. This is most likely due to their amazingly efficient metabolisms. So while I don't advocate depriving your T to the point that its wild cousins might experience, I think it is safe to say that missing some meals (maybe even MANY meals from our current feeding schedule) will not have any effect on your T's health. I think they've survived as they have in the wild largely due to their ability to survive periods of food deprivation.

Formerphobe
07-16-2011, 12:50 PM
So then formerphobe, I have a few juvies that I offer food to twice a week on Wed. and Sun. Do you feel this is power feeding? I'm saying juvie but let's make sure I am using the term correctly. My LP is 3 1/2", my G. pulchripies is probably 3", my B. albopilsum is about 3", and I have a P. scrofa that's about 1.5" and they all have their adult colors. Is that a juvie?

What constitutes a juvie is another subject open for discussion. :-) Dependent on species and the person using the term. My 5" LPs are still juvies to me. The 5" rosea is an adult. Most of my Brachys are of a size and coloration that they could be called either sling or juvie, depending on who is talking about them. (I understand some people utilize a fourth size/age/maturation description: sub-adult.) I've never fed any of mine, from 0.25" on up, any more frequently than once a week. (Unless I fudged a day due to going out of town.)

What and how much one is feeding is a consideration, too. Rarely do I offer a single meal (regardless how many prey items it takes) that is larger in size than the Ts abdomen. My LPs are the exception. Sometimes I will toss them a large roach, then not feed them for 4 - 6 weeks, where I might offer them a couple crickets or superworms every 3 - 4 weeks otherwise. If I were to feed them weekly, they would only get little meals.

Some of my sling-turning-juvenile Ts are already on a 10 day to 2 week plan, where others of the same size still get fed weekly. Depends on the individual, where they are in their molt cycle, etc.

Feeding daily, or even a few times a week, seems like WAY too much, unless one is only feeding them tiny snacks.

I'm getting ready to go out of town for two weeks. None of them will get fed during that time period, though someone will be topping off their water bowls. Due to various self-imposed fasting, and molt schedules, some will end up going >6 weeks with no food. They are all healthy and well hydrated, so I don't anticipate any losses. (Knock on wood...) :-) My smallest slings are maybe 0.5".

Smaughunter
08-14-2011, 04:49 PM
Good topic.

How Often Should I Feed My Tarantula?

I feed my adults and sub adults every 7-10 days in the spring, summer, and early fall. In winter I feed every 14 more days. I will feed one or two prey items depending on the size of the tarantulas opsithoma, arboreals usually get more than terrestrials. I notice my growing spiders and arboreals tend to have a more vigerous appatite and stay more slim, they are allowed a bit more. My s'lings and juvies get fed once a week. The terrestrials get one prey item, the arboreals get 1-3 items depending on the size of the prey.

Is it bad to powerfeed my tarantula?

Everyone has a different definition of normal vs powerfeeding. Personally I would not feed to an amount I consider excess. Studies of many animal species of all kinds indicate that animals with a restrained diet are generally healthier, I would rather see my spiders grow at their own pace, rather than mine, and I am concerned with the increased risk of injury associated with a large opsithoma. It has also been suggested that powerfeeding can lead to an increase in molt issues when the spider does not have the proper time to construct a sound new exoskeleton. Of course research needs to be done but it seems like there isn't anyone willing to do it.

What do I do if my tarantula doesn't take a feeder immediately? How long do I leave it in?

Unless the spider is clearly in pre-molt, I leave it overnight. I find some of my spiders would rather eat in private and that chasing the prey item around the enclosure to get it back can cause stress for the T.

What do I do if my tarantula is not eating (for weeks, months, etc.)? How long can they live without eating?

I have had a healthy tarantula barricade themselves in and not eat for 2 months, no problems. I bought a sickly A seemani from a pet store, it didn't eat for six months and ended up passing away. I think it depends on the overall health of the T to begin with, I know rosies often go longer than 6 months without food with no ill effects.

Is there any reason my tarantula isn't eating?

As far as the rosehair thing goes I have heard that fasting can be caused when the tarantula gets taken from its home and is no longer exposed to seasons.

I kind of feel like seasonal changes are important to tarantulas; often seasons must be replicated in order to get certain species to breed, I think these tarantulas are most content if they are allowed to experience them in some way. Hence my tarantulas are kept at cooler temperatures in winter, exposed to natural light to experience shorter and longer days, and fed less frequently in the winter. My theory needs time, to be sure, but I believe that in the long run, the spiders, especially the ones from colder climates, will flourish. My rosea has only gone off food when she was in pre-molt.

DFW Tfan
08-15-2011, 11:13 PM
Smaughunter, we think alike, vis a vis seasonal feeding. I feed weekly during the late spring and summer months (I keep the house around 75-80F). I always get a few extra crickets and if one of the 'kids' eats quickly, I will give them a second cricket.

As fall comes around, I taper off feeding to twice a month. Then in winter and early spring, I may go a month between prey items. The house is also cooler (65-70F) and the 'kids' settle down for the season, usually closing off their burrows. In addition, I give meal worms twice a year (late spring, early fall) as a 'treat' (and to give them a little more fat content).

By keeping them on a seasonal rotation, I believe their life is closer to normal and they are all happy and healthy. :)

Smaughunter
08-17-2011, 01:44 PM
Yes, mine also close off their burrows or just become more reclusive. Do you use that same feeding schedule for the arboreals and the terrestrials? What about your OBT's? I have been feeding mine on an arboreal schedule as he is slim bodied.

malhomme
08-18-2011, 10:33 PM
I water my plants when they need water, I drink when I am thirsty, and I feed my taranulas when they want to eat.

Watching a tarantula, there are visible cues that indicate when they want or need to eat. Some of these cues are morphological and some are behavioral. By observing your taratulas carefully, as though you are listening to them, it will become clear when they should eat.

Keeping to a regimine is just folly. While it may not hurt the health of your pet, it removes you from this intimate conversation with your pet.

BradJ
08-18-2011, 11:04 PM
I water my plants when they need water, I drink when I am thirsty, and I feed my taranulas when they want to eat.

Watching a tarantula, there are visible cues that indicate when they want or need to eat. Some of these cues are morphological and some are behavioral. By observing your taratulas carefully, as though you are listening to them, it will become clear when they should eat.

Keeping to a regimine is just folly. While it may not hurt the health of your pet, it removes you from this intimate conversation with your pet.
Would you please elaborate?

malhomme
08-18-2011, 11:39 PM
Would you please elaborate?
One cue is whether the opisthoma larger or smaller than it should be for the morphology of the species. There are, however, variances that must be considered such as when gravid, ultimate or gravid, but these variances are less problematic with a little experience.

Behavioral cues can be: actively hunting, "trigger" webbing, laying in ambush.

I know my T's are disinterested when they are stretched-out and relaxed, or building, or exploring.

After some observation, it becomes obvious when they do an do not need to eat. Since they will take prey almost anytime (though they may not finish their meal), I feel it is better to look for these feeding behaviors.

BradJ
08-19-2011, 01:06 AM
One cue is whether the opisthoma larger or smaller than it should be for the morphology of the species. There are, however, variances that must be considered such as when gravid, ultimate or gravid, but these variances are less problematic with a little experience.

Behavioral cues can be: actively hunting, "trigger" webbing, laying in ambush.

I know my T's are disinterested when they are stretched-out and relaxed, or building, or exploring.

After some observation, it becomes obvious when they do an do not need to eat. Since they will take prey almost anytime (though they may not finish their meal), I feel it is better to look for these feeding behaviors.

Thank you! I can't say as I am that far along in my understanding. Are there species specific standards as to the size of opisthomae? If so, can you provide some links?

This sounds like a fascinating approach. It must require a near constant observation of your T's.

romes
08-19-2011, 08:04 PM
I feed my Ts once a week and this seems to work. It helps you out if your on a schedule and budget lol

DFW Tfan
08-19-2011, 10:40 PM
Yes, mine also close off their burrows or just become more reclusive. Do you use that same feeding schedule for the arboreals and the terrestrials? What about your OBT's? I have been feeding mine on an arboreal schedule as he is slim bodied.

The arboreal-morphs in my care get fed the same as the others, but every other week they get 2 prey items rather than 1. They usually immediately take one and let the other roam around, but never longer than a day.

The terrestrials and fossorials are the ones who, if I accidently drop a second cricket in, will stuff their face with both!:TEat:

SlimJ87D
08-20-2011, 11:37 PM
I actually just toss in like 16 crickets once a month for my T. Blondi. She's 6 now and has the hugest ### of any T I have ever seen.

After molting I do that twice in 1 month and she's satisfied.

malhomme
08-22-2011, 12:33 PM
Thank you! I can't say as I am that far along in my understanding. Are there species specific standards as to the size of opisthomae? If so, can you provide some links?

This sounds like a fascinating approach. It must require a near constant observation of your T's.

This intuitive approach is not a hassle at all. I only have 29 T’s and spend less than 20 minutes a day caring for them. I could tell you off the top of my head which ones are potentially gravid, pre-molt, post-molt (fattening), due to be fed, mature males, etc. I don’t catalog this information deliberately, it’s just stuff I notice while I am spending time with my T’s.

As for the opisthoma forms of different species…just familiarize yourself with how they should look for the species you are caring for. For example, the rumps of Eupalaestrus spp. are notoriously big and should be no cause for alarm. They just look overfed. However, the rumps of Phormictopus spp. are never much bigger than their carapace. A smallish rump on this genus is just fine and does not indicate that they are underfed.

For starters, look at the Females of each Genus here (mature males have a lot more variance):
http://www.tarantulacanada.ca/gallery/

Why take an intuitive approach?

I have been raising bonsai…real bonsai, not the plants sold out of vans or at Home Depot… for 23 years. I have a good pedigree in this that I won’t bore you with. Anyway, some beginners come to me with a dying bonsai and say that they “water them everyday”, like they were told at the nursery. Other beginners come to me with dying bonsai because they watered it “once a week” like they read on the internet. If it’s 107F in August then most plants need water at least every day. If it the tree’s are hibernating for the winter, they will get root-rot if watered every day. So I tell these people to water when the plants need water. No sooner and no later. Pay attention to what your plant needs and you will succeed.

I digress…

People want to put their pets and plants on a schedule, without regard to the environmental and biological variables involved. Getting off of a schedule and paying attention to your tarantula’s needs is the greatest single thing you can do to insure it receives great care.

Fortunately, tarantulas are more forgiving than plants.

HTH,
Jim

BradJ
08-22-2011, 07:55 PM
malhomme,
Thank you for the link and the response. It's just so commonsensical that it's probably true and for the same reason few will probably follow this advice. :)
I have definitely noticed the unique opisthomae of Tapinauchenius and Phormictopus (among my brood), but I'll have to pay closer attention to many of the others. Most of mine are slings or juveniles, which I think have more variability in forms as they age.

McFearedSon
08-28-2011, 11:48 PM
Wow this is for sure a very interesting topic. I was thinking about just feeding my T once a week, but i see now that i need to watch more closely :P

malhomme
08-28-2011, 11:57 PM
Wow this is for sure a very interesting topic. I was thinking about just feeding my T once a week, but i see now that i need to watch more closely :P

Your T's will be healthier and you will find the hobby more satisfying too.
=)

marcfrick2112
08-29-2011, 07:53 PM
I agree... I just will never knowingly let my T's go hungry... and with my rosie, and pulchra it's obvious... that's when they catch roaches mid-air.. lol

Dana
09-20-2011, 06:50 PM
I am not sure what is referred to as "power feeding". I am new to T's but have done my research. I have found that my B. Smithi, G. Rosea, will eat as often as I will feed them but I am cutting back a bit. My Chaco Golden, G. Pulchripes, 4.5+" female has a huge appetite.
The A. New River is a picky eater and will ingnore crickets for days. I recently got a .5 B. Albopilosum which devoured a medium cricket abdomen that I cut in half. It was a huge meal and she has refused prey for a week now but seems ok. I will probably settle on a couple time a week but will experiment with my T's aggresivness when presented with food items.

I don't know who feeds Superworms but the ones I tried dissapear in the substrate before the T can even find it.

malhomme
09-20-2011, 09:44 PM
I am not sure what is referred to as "power feeding". I am new to T's but have done my research. I have found that my B. Smithi, G. Rosea, will eat as often as I will feed them but I am cutting back a bit. My Chaco Golden, G. Pulchripes, 4.5+" female has a huge appetite.
The A. New River is a picky eater and will ingnore crickets for days. I recently got a .5 B. Albopilosum which devoured a medium cricket abdomen that I cut in half. It was a huge meal and she has refused prey for a week now but seems ok. I will probably settle on a couple time a week but will experiment with my T's aggresivness when presented with food items.

I don't know who feeds Superworms but the ones I tried dissapear in the substrate before the T can even find it.

Welcome, Dana!

Power Feeding involves increasing the temperature of your spider's enclosure/room and increasing the quantity of food being given. The goal is to force the T's to grow faster and is most often applied to slings.

By increasing the temperature, the T's metabolism increases so they can consume more and molt more frequently. Temperatures are usually higher than 80F (up to 95) for Power Feeding.

It's is controversial because there is anecdotal evidence that it shotens the lives of T's.

Cheers!

Dana
09-24-2011, 10:43 AM
I am new to this and currently have a 5+ inch female G pulchripes, 3-4" (female??) G Rosea, a B. Smithi female 3.5', A. New River 4" female and a .5' B. Albopilosum. They all seem to wnat to eat at different intervals. The Chaco will when ever and what ever is in her ter. The Rosea, which is fairly active, would eat every other day if I fed her, the smithi will eat every other day, the albopilosum will eat every couple days as well but has now built a little burrow and has stopped eating. The new river, which I just got, I think is close to a molt hasn't touched food in almost a week and spends most of her time on the wall of the terrarium.

I am not sure I understand why weekly feeding seems to be the course most of you go with but if a T will kill and consume prey why not feed it?

Aside from this forum, there is not much about feeding frequency on any of the care sheets, or the "for sale" sites.

ManlyMan7
09-24-2011, 09:48 PM
I think this has been a great thread (though I haven't chimed in in quite a while). I will say that I am very prone to feed them as often as they will eat (probably considered super-power-feeding). Part of me just has a hard time not feeding them if they would eat!

From what I have read, there is still quite a debate about the effects of power-feeding. Some argue that it shortens the lifespan of the T (a T that grows to maturity in 3 years rather than 6 has apparently lost 3 years of lifespan). While there is evidence that Ts DO grow faster when powerfed (I am even currently conducting an experiment with 3 sac-mate B. albopilosums fed 1x, 2x, 3x (which I have been unsuccessful in truly keeping those ratios) and even after 2 molts, the results are VERY noticeable on the frequency of their molts), what I have read is that a powerfed T apparently will not grow any bigger.

I have noticed another problem with power-feeding as Ts get bigger. While my GBB (talk about a voracious bottomless pit!) molted and grew enormously last time, she looks slightly deformed in the legs. Barely noticeable, and she is still very functional and active. From what I have read, this will right itself if I slow down the feeding (which I have definitely done).

One of the more significant problems I see with power-feeding is obesity. Apprently, there is some link between obesity and reproduction problems, but the biggest risk I have read is that a T that is plump is far more likely to injure itself if it falls or scrapes on something. That is a very valid concern.

So, I have adopted the policy of a friend lately to powerfeed while young (since slings are more "fragile" and I would like to move them out of that phase of life soon as I can), and slow down as they get bigger.

I am learning as I go. Afterall, while I do currently have 18 tarantulas, this "empire" has grown from nothing to this in 6 short months!

:TEat:

santac
09-25-2011, 12:23 PM
I'm learning from this thread. I have been feeding my T's twice a week no matter the size. Some don't take it so I will try once a week for the adults and juveniles. Twice a week for the slings. I'm gut loading my crickets so that should be plenty.

Mat
09-27-2011, 06:49 PM
I feed all my T's one cricket once a week (slings, juv, and adults) and occasionally a juicy pinky mouse to the bigger guys. I keep a dry erase board in my T room to keep track of there feeding, also I give them fresh water once a week and spray the corner of their cages for humidity. I also take this time to spot clean the cages and make sure no parasites are on my T's. For slings I do not give them water but I do make the substrate a little moist in one area. I normally do not worry about my T's when they don't eat for a long period of time because mine have always ended up eating again after a while. for heat I think room temperature (mid-high 70's) is the best way to go for most T's but if yours requires higher temps I recommend a under tank heat pad because bulbs can dry them out. now I am kind of getting off track and talking about everything....

Dana
09-27-2011, 07:07 PM
My adults and young adult Smithi will take three medium criks every three days with gusto. I warm the room to about 80f or a little higher if the outside temp does it and let it cool to 70 or a little below. In the wild temps do fluctuate and my theory is that I should do it too. So far it is working well.
Interestingly, my G. Rosea, differs from alot of what I read. She is active and will chase down prey with a lot of enthusiasm. She is not agressive towards me and allows me to handle her without threat or kicking hairs but man, can she get on it at feeding time.

Spinne
10-03-2011, 02:48 AM
I used to try to feed my spiders constantly, because I loved seeing them hunt. I have since changed my feeding behavior to adapt it to the spiders behavior, and feed them much less.

What I do now:
I do not use a schedule at all, as opposed to most people here. Each spiders is simply too different. My A. geniculata was hungry constantly, she was growing incredibly fast and moving all the time; my G. rosea is a pet rock and seems to have to intention to grow ever. Growing slings obviously need more food items then larger spiders; but seeing as they also get different food items of a different size, a once-a-week or every-two-days schedule is just too rounded, as it does not take into account the size of the food.

I feed mainly based on the behavior of the spiders.
a) They are running around a lot, moving very quickly, are outside of their burrows/webs most of the time: I feed, but obviously not constantly, then like every 1-2 weeks. If they do not seem satisfied at all (typically slings, or fast growing A. geniculata, or worse, A. geniculata slings - there, feeding constantly still seems rather justified), more often.
b) They are on the outside of their burrow/web, and sometimes move around: I occasionally feed them.
c) They are in their burrow: Though I know that if a cricket falls on their head they would probably take it, I assume seeing as they are not out looking for it, they probably will not need it, and they might be preparing for a molt. I will offer them food about every two months.

(I realize this might turn out the be rather complicated if you have loads of spiders. Also, it is possible that long time spans of a spider taking no food would go unnoticed.)

I realize I am thus feeding my T's a lot less then most of you. My reasoning is thus.

What can be the consequences of overfeeding?
1. Especially ground-dwelling spiders have a much higher risk of deadly falls if they attempt to climb, as their abdomen splits open
2. If the animal is not searching out food, it may be because she it molting. In this case, she will be stressed out by the food, she will not eat it, and if she is molting, it might nibble at her an cause her serious harm.
3. Uneaten cricks or roaches in my container will nibble at my plants, they will annoy my spider, and if you assume that they have been eaten and add a second one, you are risking a cricket explosion in your tank. (Mine are really very full of plants. If a cricket wants to hide and my spider doesn't want it, I am not going to find it.)
4. I know that eating too much is incredibly harmful for humans, horses, cats, dogs... Although this is quite a strange analogy here, I would assume it is unhealthy for spiders as well. Certainly, most spiders in the wild are not as fat as most pet spiders.
That would make me think overfeeding is dangerous.

What are the dangers of underfeeding?
1. I have not heard of a single spider starving, ever.
2. Presumably, unless she is sick, a hungry spider will walk about and attempt to get food, so you will not let her starve. - Hungry spiders are much more active, which is more interesting to look at. They will actually hunt their prey, with pounces and jumps, following them through the entire container. This seems like a more natural behavior to me. And watching them do this is far more satisfying than just seeing them grab a cricket.
This would make it seem like, at the very least, underfeeding is much better than overfeeding. So, if I am not sure, I would usually rather not feed.

A book about tarantulas once told me to keep their opisthosomas about the size of their prosomas. As I said, I would let this vary according to the spiders behaviour; if I kept my A. geniculata at that, she would have attempted eating me alive. But that is no reason to get my A. versicolor have an abdomen that fat. I just do not think it is good for her.

But you all seem to be doing this completely differently. This is getting me worried. Is there anything I have overlooked? Am I doing my spiders harm?

santac
10-03-2011, 09:01 AM
Actually Spinne I think your approach is the most logical that I have seen. I have decided to cut down on my feeding a lot. Your points are valid and I want to thank you for sharing.

IzzyLoo
10-03-2011, 09:16 AM
Hey, all! I chimed in once a while ago, but figured that now since I have had my babies for a good amount of time, I will actually ave something substantial to say Hahaha. Let's seeeee, I completely agree with those that said they watch their spider and determine through behavior when they will eat. For example, my rose hair is a voracious eater and will eat everything I give her. She's only refused food for one period of time, and that was when she was about to molt. My emilia very rarely eats (refuses food 9 times out of 10! Crazy, right? Aren't they known for their voracious appetite? Some one needs to give her the memo! She isn't a rose hair!! ;) ). Both of these spiders aren't very active, so I just have to wait and watch to figure out when they want food. the three slings I recent;y got also vary. The Aphonopelma sp. "new river" is in premolt, as is my nhandu coloratovillosus. My C fasciatum is seemingly always "looking" for prey.

Though I do keep records of feeding and such, I don't stick to a schedule at all. If Viktor (rose hair) is stalking around for a couple days in a row, looking actively for prey, I'll feed her until she is content. None of my little ones have had problems yet with this way of feeding. :)

Spinne
10-03-2011, 12:57 PM
Actually Spinne I think your approach is the most logical that I have seen. I have decided to cut down on my feeding a lot. Your points are valid and I want to thank you for sharing.

Thank you very much! I am glad to be of help, as usually I am just the person getting it.
I hope that this will be beneficial to your spiders.

malhomme
10-03-2011, 08:53 PM
Spinne, you may notice that the method I mention in posts 31, 33, and 38 of this thread is not so different. No schedule, just observing what my T's need.

Spinne
10-06-2011, 02:32 AM
Dear malhomme,

I have read your posts and must agree; you are doing pretty much the same. I am happy to hear that - if your spiders are also doing fine, this makes me feel more secure!
I did not mean to take credit for anything you feel you had invented or such. I think I accidentally skipped a page in the thread, because I did not read your posts before.

malhomme
10-06-2011, 10:28 AM
Dear malhomme,

I have read your posts and must agree; you are doing pretty much the same. I am happy to hear that - if your spiders are also doing fine, this makes me feel more secure!

I think you and I are on very similar paths. To generalize the differences in our approach, you are keying off of behavior and I am keying off of morphology. I am sure that we are mixing each approach too, I'm just making a broad generalization here to highlight any differences in our approach to this. I suspect the differences are negligible.

Feeding this way makes much more sense that once or twice a week feedings. Here's an example why: GBB's are very active and produce a ton of silk, all this activity requiring more sustenance for them: Rosies tend not to web a lot and sit in one place for days on end, their slower metabolism means they do not have to eat as often. Feeding a GBB once a week *might* not be fine, but feeding a Rosie once a week will become too much.

In the absence of a "one size fits all" approach to feeding, I agree that it is better to key on behaviors and morphology.


I did not mean to take credit for anything you feel you had invented or such. I think I accidentally skipped a page in the thread, because I did not read your posts before.

I can't take credit for something so obvious. No offence taken. I didn't want you to feel that you were alone in this approach. I haven't lost a T to malnutrition, and actually I think my T's are more healthy that those on the once or twice a week schedule. My T's are not obese and so they look as they should. What's more, they behave as they should, hunting and laying in wait for their next meal.

santac
10-06-2011, 03:09 PM
You both have made me a believer. Thanks for the excellent tips.

ManlyMan7
10-06-2011, 03:41 PM
As much as I do feed my Ts. I believe I also incorporate some of this more and more. I don't feed Ts that I know are in premolt, I rarely feed my rosea since she is rarely hungry, and larger tarantulas get less frequent feeding.

Smaughunter
10-08-2011, 11:41 PM
I brought home crix yesterday and fed averyone that was't in pre-molt or on the chubby side. The smalls the gave me weren't that small so when I went to feed my two H maculata s'lings. who are very small, I fed them each a whole injured cricket...but these smalls were a little bigger than the s'ling despite giving them the smallest. When I got up about 5.5 hours later both of them were still chowing down with swollen and stretched out opsithomas, like water ballons. They had each eaten about half their repective crickets...and there was no way they could fit more in. So I removed the crickets. Ser Jaime ran when the giant tongs came down from the sky to claim his cricket, but Cersei fought a tug of war with me...she really wanted to keep eating. The moral of the story is some T's will just keep eating.

I keep a schedual because it does help me keep track of things, because I try to replicate the seasonal abundance, and because I don't keep a roach colony. I go to the store and buy crix on on weekly or bi-weekly basis approximately...this is when feeding happens.

I am also sensitive to my individual T's molt cycles, physiology, and appetite. Namid, my A amazonica, slaps the spray when I mist her, and rushes the lid if I touch it. I'll give her two crix or a big roach...but not every day. My male G pulchripes, Inal, is looking a little fat...He can wait until next week.

I am needing the space heater at night now...time to reduce the meals...

pidro
10-10-2011, 06:49 AM
very informative!

Kytkattin
10-11-2011, 02:47 PM
When I bought my G. rosea 5 years ago they said to feed her every other day. :TRolleyes:
Of course I never did that, I am much too lazy. My girl has had inconsistent feedings for a while. Since I only have one T, she will get a lot of crix one week and then none for quite a while. When I buy them I want to make sure she will eat them, not have the crix go to waste. So she might get 10 in a week, or 20 over 2 weeks and then go a month or more without anything. She looks and acts healthy. After her last molt her abdomen shrunk a bit, but not enough to be unhealthy. She is quite active for a rosea, not the pet rock that everyone else seems to have!

JennieDoomsday
02-12-2012, 10:48 AM
Great thread! Wish I'd jumped in a little sooner, but I'd like to offer a few points here. One, I believe that in the TKG Dr. Schultz mentions that he is of the opinion that people overfeed their T's in captivity. I could be wrong, but that is what I remember (dig out your copies to verify, mine is on loan). I do agree with many here that the activity of a particular T could require more frequent feeding than a "pet rock"-type of T.

But I'm going to tell you that I think we all probably overfeed our T's, particularly our terrestrials. My thinking goes like this: most T's are ambush hunters (they wait for vibrations near them and then pounce on their prey). As ambush hunters they can't regulate when they have the opportunity to eat, so in the wild it might be a while before some prey gets into range. Yet, despite times of irregular feeding they've flourished in the wild for millions of years. This is most likely due to their amazingly efficient metabolisms. So while I don't advocate depriving your T to the point that its wild cousins might experience, I think it is safe to say that missing some meals (maybe even MANY meals from our current feeding schedule) will not have any effect on your T's health. I think they've survived as they have in the wild largely due to their ability to survive periods of food deprivation.

I have wondered about this myself. When I was a beginner T-keeper, I used to feed them several crickets every 3-5 days, for an adult! My T at the time (A. hentzi male, wild-caught in my Texas backyard) seemed shocked at the surplus of food and he ended up going into a very uncharacteristic fasting period. Over time, I acquired more T's, these captive-bred, and slowed it down to once a week, but I was still giving too many crix. And even after changing to once a week, their abdomens expanded extremely fast and they got so big and sluggish, I thought I was still overfeeding.

At some point, I got the Tarantula Keeper's Guide book and I was shocked to find that I should only be feeding them 6 to 8 crickets per month, and not necessarily at such frequent intervals. Now, I feed every 2 to 2.5 weeks giving 3-6 crickets, depending on the T's activity and hunger level. My A. chacoana is an avid eater and hunter, and she isn't satisfied until I've giving her at least 5 crickets in one sitting, so she eats about 10 crickets per month, and doesn't look overweight at all.

All of my T's are now seem very healthy. But I've based my feeding habits on so much different speculation at this point, I could still be doing it wrong. Should I be giving 2-3 crickets at a weekly rate for my two big adults? What about my two juvies? Currently, I feed them at the same 2 to 2.5 week regimen as my big ones, but I only give them 2 or 3 crix and they're definitely fat and happy.

I've had T's for a long time, so I'd hate to think I've been doing it wrong this whole time.

santac
02-12-2012, 11:41 AM
Because I was overfeeding my T's I've cut down a lot. Even then some aren't interested in eating each week.

Nikki1970
02-12-2012, 01:40 PM
http://people.ucalgary.ca/~schultz/roses.html


Mr Schultz has updated the info. :)

Nikki1970
02-12-2012, 01:40 PM
erm...i dont know WHY it keeps double posting...grr..

kyrAREGORN
06-08-2012, 12:55 PM
thnks for info.

meow
10-28-2012, 10:22 AM
I don't like leaving live crickets in their cagse at all. I don't mind putting a live one in there if I know they'll eat it right away. If I'm not sure if they will I normally cut the crickets head off. Theyve always seem to have found the dead crickets and eaten them. If they don't want it I know right where to look.

Maybe with time the crickets won't skeev me out so much.

malhomme
10-28-2012, 11:56 AM
The easiest way to get crickets to your Ts is to scoop the crickets up in a (cleaned) pill bottle. They have a hard time clinging to the plastic and you never have to touch a cricket. Works great!

meow
10-28-2012, 04:15 PM
I won't even put my hand in their container. I use tweezers to pick them up. I think I just need to get used to them. Cleopatra [rosehair] always goes for them. She will have 2 in her mouth at the same time. Donald [a. chalcodes] never eats right away so I'm mostly nervous about giving him the live ones. They hide pretty well pretty fast. If I don't see him eat it, how do I know its not making a home in his cage?

NoLongerNoobish
10-28-2012, 04:28 PM
One large cricket a week is good. After a molt you can feed them more to get the weight back. Key is not to feed them til they're gigantic, but just keep them a healthy weight. T's can go a long time without food and still be nice and fat so over feeding them is really a waste of money and feeders.

NonPhobic
10-29-2012, 09:43 AM
k when my slings or juvi's are growing I will feed them quarter inch nymph roaches almost everyday. If they are not interested it will be fairly obvious that they show no interest. Good thing about Dubia roaches is they can't harm your tarantula. Crickets can. Crickets are horrible feeders in my opinion and don't pack the punch of all the nutrients they can get from inside a roach.

tarantulaguy
12-23-2012, 11:40 AM
I believe adult tarantulas benefit from 2 large crickets every two weeks
as for slings twice a week

del9800
02-11-2013, 05:48 PM
I feed all my T's twice a week, but then again if they look to fat I will skip a meal.

Gracerain
11-07-2013, 07:49 PM
Thank you for making this thread, and to all who have participated! I have learned a lot about how to feed my new sling! I think I'll be skipping tonight's feeding, since my little A. Versi is being a bum and won't come out to say "Hi" to me at all. lol I'll wait to feed it until it's at least willing to poke its head out of its web again.

Tgirl1010
11-07-2013, 07:57 PM
Thank you for making this thread, and to all who have participated! I have learned a lot about how to feed my new sling! I think I'll be skipping tonight's feeding, since my little A. Versi is being a bum and won't come out to say "Hi" to me at all. lol I'll wait to feed it until it's at least willing to poke its head out of its web again.

Hi and welcome! There are lots of knowledgeable people here and they are always willing to help. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. :)

Gracerain
12-09-2013, 11:13 AM
Something I've been wondering... People comment on feeding, for example "2 crickets every two weeks" or "6 crickets once a month" etc. My question is why gorge all at once? These being predators and all, isn't it more natural to their wild eating habits if they were to be fed less- more often?

I never had a problem with overfeeding my true spiders in the past. They would either just shoo the food away, or wrap it up and save it for later. I know Tarantulas CAN be overfed, but that seems like something that would more easily happen, when the little fellah knows this is the only meal it's getting for the next 2-4 weeks...

Or is it more a matter of "I buy crickets on this day, and don't want leftovers, so they get to eat them all at once." sort of deal?

jmetal
02-17-2014, 07:20 PM
I'm all new to caring for a T and i have been looking up and learning about caring for Ts. i happened to come across a book at the library and have been reading it. the book is called "the tarantula keeper's guide" and it has some good info about Ts. I read in it that they said to feed them 6 to 8 crickets a month. yet i've been thinking that if we want to make it just like the Ts were in the wild why are we giving them the same amount of food at the same distance of time? i think it would be best if it was varied. especially depending on the seasons. for instant during the winter food would be scarce and the summer there will be plenty. yet, that's what i think others may think differently.

ManlyMan7
02-17-2014, 07:25 PM
Hi jmetal. Welcome!

The Tarantula Keeper's Guide is a great book. A bit of a standard in the hobby. If you can get yourself a copy, that would be great.

As for feeding, I am sure varied would be fine, and seasonal changes would also work well. I have noticed my adult Ts (most of my collection now) have had very little appetite this winter. My Brachies I am use to on that, but not many of my others. A bit weird getting used to, but I haven't needed to keep up with many many crickets, for sure.

I am finding that feeding them as they are hungry works very well. If they are not hungry, don't try to feed them so often. If they are hungry, I don't feel guilty for feeding them extra.

jmetal
02-17-2014, 07:46 PM
to me it seems that our G. rosea is ALWAYS hungry. before i had came across that book i had at one point fed him about 14 crickets and he at them all like he was starving. i bet he could of eaten more if i had given him more. now that look back i feel horrible for feeding him that much at one time. luckily now i know better.

jmetal
02-17-2014, 07:47 PM
O yea...thank you for the welcome :)

Gracerain
02-24-2014, 06:16 PM
Roseas go through phases where they WANT to be stuffed into a food coma. It's just a good day for them! They will stop when they are ready, so don't feel bad about it. I think everyone here gives their T's a thanksgiving feast every once in a while. lol

Jimms T's
03-29-2014, 09:41 AM
I Am in 100% agreement with "Walk Alone". I do not agree with power feeding. We do not power feed othe pets or our children. So, our power feed our T's?

Just to have them grow faster? My understanding is that this may shorten ther life. So, I ask, "WHY?" I don't know about anyone else. But I want to enjoy my Tarantulas for as long as possible.

As per the feeding of my T's. My adult T is feed once a week to every other week. My sling once or twice a week. Some of you may disagree with this but it's what works for my T's. Often times I put the food in and the T's seem uninterested.

:TRolleyes: