Tarantulas can eat hornworms, but pet tarantulas should only eat hornworms that are captive-bred to avoid inadvertently introducing any parasites or bacteria to your tarantula.
Adding worms to the diet of your tarantula might help you provide some much-needed variation in their diet. A tarantula might sometimes hunt worms in the wild, but it is very selective of which worms it eats.
Some tarantula owners feed them mealworms and superworms, but you can also feed them hornworms under the right conditions.
Is It Safe to Feed Your Tarantula Hornworms You’ve Caught?
Some people opt for feeding the tarantulas hornworms they catch behind their home or in nature. While it is generally safe to feed hornworms to tarantulas, it is probably not a good idea to feed them hornworms you’ve caught yourself out in nature.
The problem with this method is that you don’t know what the worm has been feeding on. These animals might feed on several plants such as tomato leaves that contain toxins that are bad for your tarantula.
If you feed these worms to your tarantula, it might also consume these toxins, which can be fatal for the spider.
Most hornworms in the wild feed on plants. They will excrete most of what they eat through their feces, but some of these foods will also stay in their body.
If you decide to feed the hornworm to the tarantula, some of these foods will be in their bodies, which can cause all sorts of problems for your lovely spider.
Additionally, some hornworms might also carry diseases and bugs that might harm your tarantula, so you should not feed your tarantula a hornworm that you’ve caught yourself.
While hornworms will be a decent food to add to your tarantula’s menu, there are some steps you need to take to make it safe for your spider.
Instead, opt for the worms that have been kept and bred in captivity and a controlled environment.
What Type of Hornworms Can I Feed to my Tarantula?
Pet tarantulas should be fed hornworms that have been bred in captivity. These worms will have been fed on a strict diet and won’t contain any bacteria or parasites that might hurt your tarantula.
When you select hornworms that have been selectively bred in captivity, you’re making sure that you’re buying worms that have the right selection of nutrients for your tarantula. These worms will have been fed foods that suit almost every animal out there, including your pet spider.
By buying worms from a reputable source, you’re protecting your tarantula against potential complications that might arise as a result of inappropriate foods being found in the hornworm.
These foods can clog the intestinal system of your spider and cause some issues in the short term.
If you hunt hornworms yourself, then you’re risking your spider also catching the many toxins that could potentially build inside the worm.
Hornworms eat a plant-based diet and they often feed on things that are bad for your tarantula. And consequently, this can mean problems and in the worst-case scenario, death for your tarantula.
Also, if you’re buying from a seller make sure that they vet the worms properly and that they are raised with foods that won’t hurt your spider.
Make sure that you ask the seller if the worms are fed foods that won’t hurt your tarantula, such as tomato or tobacco leaves or other foods that hurt tarantulas.
Are Hornworms a Good Food for Tarantulas?
Hornworms can be a good feeder food for tarantulas because they have a good amount of protein and are also low in fat. Hornworms are also soft and easily digestible for the spider, which is an extra bonus.
An additional benefit of feeding hornworms to your spider is that these worms are quite large, which means they should suffice for your spider’s diet for a few days or even longer. It might take longer for your tarantula to fully digest a fully grown hornworm.
If you happen to have spiderlings or younger tarantulas, then make sure that the hornworms you feed them aren’t too big. This will cause the small tarantula many problems with digestion and ultimately, they won’t eat the worms because they are just too big for them to eat.
On the other hand, if you have an older tarantula or a female tarantula that has shed a lot of weight because of its laying of eggs, then you can certainly benefit from feeding her a large, older hornworm.
This food will provide the spider with enough nutrients to allow the spider to grow back again to normal size.
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What To Watch Out For
Here’s what you might want to also keep in mind if you select hornworms as food for your tarantula.
- Hornworms can be quite expensive. This type of food should not be considered as a primary type of food, but rather a supplementation food to keep the diet of your spider as varied as possible.
- If you own hornworms as feeder food and raise them yourself, these worms can grow and breed at an exceptionally fast rate. Make sure that you control the population by not allowing your worms to breed so often.
- Larger hornworms can be a lot for the tarantula to process. These worms can be quite large in size, so it might be a bit more difficult for your tarantula to process this food. It can also become quite messy, too.
If you want to opt for hornworms for tarantulas, then you can do so, but only if you buy them from a reputable seller. Don’t feed the tarantula hornworms that you collect yourself, because those worms might contain foods that might be toxic for your spider.
Read Next: Complete Guide to Tarantula Diet
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But if you choose the right worms, you can provide a very good source of food for your tarantula.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.