Did you know that spiders are found everywhere except Antarctica? Yes, and they belong to a class known as arachnids. Spiders have two conspicuous parts, the cephalothorax, and the abdomen. They have their mouths well structured to help them grasp and conquer their prey.
Yes, spiders eat crickets and other insects such as grasshoppers, flies and others. The spiders are tactical in their attempt to capture the crickets; once they do, they wrap them up in their web and silk them before feasting on them. Ground spiders swoop the crickets unawares and feast on them.
Web spiders and ground spiders have varied feeding patterns, but crickets feature prominently as a meal for the different groups. This article explores spiders’ diet, how they feed and how often they feed.
What do spiders eat?
What a spider eats is largely influenced by the group they belong to. Web spiders are tactical in pursuing their prey before capturing it, wrapping it up with the silk, and feasting on it.
Hunter spiders capture their prey when in proximity by camouflaging and ambushing it, grasping it unawares.
Different spiders have varied preferences. Here’s what different pet spiders feast on:
1. Black Widow
Black widow is a favorite for most beginners as they are easy to maintain. Their shiny black body with a red complexion is a beauty to behold.
The black widow has long legs covered with bristles to wrap their prey with silk before feasting on them.
Their favorite meals include:
- Smaller spiders
They use the web to trap their prey once within their proximity before using the hind legs to silk up and feast on it.
2. Striped Knee Tarantula
This breed is also a favorite for most breeders, given their beauty and fascinating way of life. They are easy to keep as they need minimal space and care.
The striped knee tarantula is a poor feeder, especially when molting. You can feed them once a week or for ten days.
Their favorite meals as a pet include:
A key consideration when feeding this breed is that the size of the insect befits that of the spider. A young tarantula ought to be fed with the small size insects and increase it as they grow.
3. Orb Weaver
The orb weaver is among the most beautiful spider species. It comes in various colors: golden, white, blue, and orange. They have long legs that come in handy as they go for their prey.
An orb weaver is a fascinating breed of spiders, although they need quite a big space to breed and are not easily found in pet stores.
Orb weavers feed on insects small in size, such as:
Since the orb weavers are small, measuring half an inch, you need to feed them on smaller insects that they can easily ingest.
4. Jumping Spiders
There are over 2,000 species of spiders that fall into this category. They jump around a lot as opposed to building a web.
Jumping spiders make great pets as they are easy and affordable to keep.
Their favorite meals include a variety of insects such as:
Being carnivorous insects, the spiders feed on insects, making them great pest control agents. For instance, if your garden has been raided by flies, having a few of the jumping spiders around will help clear them off.
How often do spiders eat?
How often a spider eats is influenced by several aspects such as the group it belongs to, stage in the life cycle, availability of food, environment, and whether it’s molting.
If spiders have insects around, they can feed oftenly up to four times a day. However, most can also go for weeks without feeding, especially during their fasting duration. This period varies for different spiders. Some can go for four weeks without food, while others can go for eight weeks.
If your pet spider is young, you ought to feed it daily to aid in its growth. However, adult speeders can skip a day without meals.
During their fasting weeks, the spiders use the food they have been consuming over time, allowing them to molt successfully without eating.
After their fasting period, endeavor to feed your pet spider on live insects that are smaller in size. The movement of these smaller insects improves their appetite and helps them maintain a healthy weight range. Bigger insects can lead to the spider becoming overweight.
Some of the spider species that can go for three weeks without food include:
- Wolf spider
- Black widow spider
- Jumping spider
- Striped knee tarantula.
Although these spider species can go for weeks without food, they’ll need to have water after a week into the fasting period.
Do spiders eat crickets?
Yes, spiders eat crickets. Spiders’ feed mostly consists of insects, with crickets featuring prominently across both hunting and web spiders.
Some of the spiders that find the crickets to be a favorite meal include:
- Black widow
- Striped knee tarantula
- Jumping spiders
- Orb weaver
- Huntsman spider
- Fishing spider
- Curly hair tarantula
- Green lynx
- Crab spider
- Chilean rose
As the spiders feast on the crickets, they help balance out the ecosystem by eliminating the excess insects. For instance, if bugs and unwanted flies have infested your garden, a few spiders will help lower the number of these insects that could hinder your vegetation from thriving.
Overfeeding your pet spiders can pose health risks, including that they could get too fat, leading to organ failure, and it could also affect the spider’s molting process. When feeding the spider, allow them to have enough to protect their health.
Crickets nutritional value
Below is a breakdown of a cricket’s nutritional value:
Crickets are highly nutritious, especially when added to the spider meals. After feeding the spider, a few crickets allow them time to digest as too much can affect its health.
Although adult spiders prefer to have the insects as live, even dead crickets offer the same nutritional value. Ensure that the cricket you feed to the spider corresponds to its size. While adult spiders won’t have a problem feasting on a fully grown cricket, it can be challenging for young spiders.
How to feed crawlers to spiders
Spiders also like to have various meal types, and the flying insects that make a big part of their diet. Crawlers come in handy in substituting insects.
To feed crawlers to spiders, place them while alive in your spiders’ cage. Spiders are attracted to moving crawlers as opposed to dead ones that they may not recognize as food. In case the crawler is dead, consider tying it up so it dangles and the movement entices the speed to feast on it.
Ensure that the crawler you feed to the spider matches its size, as feeding an oversize crawler to young spiders could lead to dehydration which is life-threatening for the spiders.
It could also lead to weight gain which is unhealthy for the spiders as it could lead to organ failure.
Most crawlers have high-fat content, so you need to balance the amount you share with your spiders. Consider feeding the young spiders more often while feeding the adult spiders less frequently as they are more prone to overfeeding.
In identifying the crawler, evaluate its nutritional value so the spider benefits optimally. Go for those with a higher protein content as opposed to a high-fat content.
Most spiders will readily jump at the opportunity of eating crickets. This applies to both wild and domesticated spiders. As such, crickets make one of the best feeder insects for spiders. If you have a spider as a pet, highly consider feeder crickets as they provide lots of nutrition to your pet.