Yes, spiders do eat grasshoppers and crickets. Web-weaving spiders catch them in their webs and rapidly wrap them in silk. Ground spiders like tarantulas and wolf spiders will pounce on grasshoppers and crickets to eat their meal.
Owners of tarantulas and other pet spiders can feed grasshoppers to their pets, but should purchase store-bought grasshopper feed that is not diseased or exposed to pesticides, and follow the instructions on the packet.
Grasshoppers are primary consumers who form a very important part of the food chain. Spiders are secondary consumers, who eat bugs and insects such as grasshoppers as part of their carnivorous diet.
Disclaimer: This is general information for educational purposes. We do not give specific advice about pet spider diets. Consult your local pet store.
Do Spiders Eat Grasshoppers and Crickets?
Grasshoppers and crickets are primarily eaten by ground-dwelling spiders, particularly the wolf spider. However, they can also be caught in orb spiders’ webs.
Below, for example, is footage of a grasshopper being spun after being caught in a web. The spider rapidly wraps the creature in its web to immobilize it. It may also inject immobilizing venom that will prevent the creature from wriggling.
The grasshopper may be consumed immediately or sometime shortly after. Some spiders will use their venom to liquify their victims before sucking (rather than chewing!) the innards out of their prey. You can read more about how spiders eat here.
Do Tarantulas Eat Grasshoppers and Crickets?
Yes, tarantulas do eat both grasshoppers and crickets. Pet spider owners will often feed grasshoppers and crickets to their pet spiders as part of a balanced diet.
One grasshopper or three crickets are enough for a meal for a tarantula.
Below is footage of a tarantula consuming a live grasshopper that the pet owner has fed it:
Can you Feed your Pet Spider Grasshoppers?
1. Check with your Local Pet Store or Vet
The first and most important thing to do before feeding your pet spider grasshoppers is to check with experts. Your local pet store or vet will give you the best advice on what’s best for your particular spider.
Generally, the pet store will be able to point you in the right direction in terms of choosing a snack for your spider and giving you instructions on the diet you should place your spider on.
Many store-bought grasshoppers and crickets will also have instructions written on the container’s label, which you should follow closely.
Below are a few more common pieces of advice you may get from your pet store.
2. Do Not Feed it a Grasshopper Larger than the Spider Itself
As a general rule, we don’t feed spiders meals that are larger than the spider itself. This means that if you’ve got a particularly small spider, it might be better to feed it crickets than grasshoppers.
Usually, grasshoppers are about the same size as spiders, so one grasshopper is usually enough for a meal. You could also feed a larger spider two to three smaller crickets as a full meal.
3. Feed the Spider a Fresh Grasshopper
Spiders prefer fresh meat. They will be less likely to take to a frozen cricket or grasshopper for a meal.
You can usually drop a live grasshopper into a spider or tarantula cage and the spider will make short work of it. But, if it’s a large or very lively grasshopper, you can kill it just before throwing it in the cage to make life easier for your spider.
Generally, spiders like to make the kill for themselves. It stimulates both excitement and a healthy appetite for the spider.
4. Do Not Feed Wild Grasshopper to a Pet Spider
While wild spiders eat wild grasshoppers all the time, your pet spider might get sick if you feed it wild grasshoppers.
Wild grasshoppers may carry diseases or be sick with pesticides. Your spider may get sick if it eats those pesticides or diseases.
Therefore, it’s usually best to feed your spider grasshoppers and crickets that you have bought from your local pet or reptile store. If you can find a store that sells live crickets, that’s even better.
5. Do Not Feed Rare Grasshoppers to your Spider
There are some rare and threatened grasshoppers that should not be fed to spiders. These species include:
- Ursula’s Toothed Grasshopper
- Defaut’s Grasshopper
- Thick Grasshopper
- Pyrenian Grasshopper
- Bladder Grasshopper
- French Stone Grasshopper
- (And more)
If you were to feed rare grasshoppers to spiders, you are taking them from their population stock. These spiders need to be protected for the longevity of their species and the health and diversity of the ecosystem.
Are Wild Grasshopper Populations Threatened by Spiders?
Several species of grasshopper are vulnerable and endangered. However, there are also some species that are happily thriving.
Generally, grasshoppers are a natural and healthy primary food source for spiders in the natural food chain.
In the wild, grasshoppers have developed some skills to avoid spiders. One study of wild vs captive spiders found that wild spiders who are ‘chronically scared’ of wolf spiders are able to take off 1 – 2 times faster and jump 2 – 6 times as far as their captive counterparts. This is because captive spiders haven’t developed the skills to flee predators.
Furthermore, grasshoppers who are not under threat of predators grow 3–5% larger than spiders threatened by wolf spiders. It’s believed that this is because grasshoppers will stay away from good food sources if they’re afraid there might be spiders there waiting to pounce.
Overall, yes, spiders to eat both grasshoppers and crickets. Most spider owners do feed grasshoppers to their spiders as part of a healthy and diverse diet.
However, before feeding a grasshopper or cricket to your spider, check with your local pet shop or a vet about the best diet for your particular spider. Furthermore, not all pet spiders will take to grasshoppers and crickets, depending on their dietary preferences.
Wild spiders such as wolf spiders and tarantulas prey on grasshoppers all the time. They can be both caught in webs and punced upon by spiders who hunt. However, it’s not a good idea to feed wild grasshoppers to pet spiders as they may be carrying diseases or pesticides.