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    Thread: How Often Should I Feed My Tarantula?

    1. #21
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      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
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    2. #22
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      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
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    3. #23
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      ...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.

    4. #24
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      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?
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    5. #25
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      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.

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    6. #26
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      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.
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    7. #27
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      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".

    8. #28
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      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.

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    10. #29
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      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.
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    11. #30
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      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.

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