Most tarantulas do not eat their molt. However, some tarantulas may eat their molt if they can’t find adequate sustenance in their environment. Most tarantulas in captivity do not eat their molt because they have an ample supply of food and water.
When a tarantula molts, it is losing energy and valuable nutrients required to complete the molt. That’s why the tarantula will need to eat a lot and drink after molting to regain those nutrients.
Do Tarantulas Eat their Molt?
Many molting animals will eat their molt after molting to regain the nutrients they’ve lost, but most tarantulas don’t do this. Tarantulas usually won’t eat their molt, unless they don’t have access to sufficient other nutrient sources in their environment.
Molting can be a tough process for the tarantula. It’s a necessary process for the spider to keep growing and developing, so every tarantula will molt.
Younger tarantulas molt more often than younger ones because they’re still growing. Young tarantulas might molt as often as every few days.
After the molting is complete, the tarantula will begin the crucial process of regrowing its exoskeleton. For the skeleton to start growing again, the spider needs extra nutrients for growth.
Some tarantulas, especially young tarantulas, need more food during their molting period.
In captivity, most tarantula owners make sure that their spider has enough food to survive the molting process easily, but in nature, tarantulas might have to resort to eating their exoskeleton to get those key nutrients back, especially if they can’t find other foods.
You might even see some tarantulas eating their molt in captivity, though it’s not a usual occurrence. This comes down to the individual habits of the spider and its capabilities to regrow its exoskeleton. Most tarantulas won’t eat their molt, though.
Why Would a Tarantula Eat Its Molt?
A tarantula might eat its molt because it still contains some nutrients, which the tarantula has lost during the molting process.
Molting is an important part of the growth cycle for the tarantula. It allows the structure and the body of the spider to grow, but their exoskeleton doesn’t grow with the body.
Because their exoskeleton doesn’t grow as quickly as the rest of their body, tarantulas lose their exoskeleton and regrow a larger one. This will help the internal organs and the structures to grow normally and quickly, which would simply not be possible without molting.
The tarantula may eat its molt to help it grow the exoskeleton back faster. It will need the extra nutrients and some spiders, out of precaution, eat their molt. This happens because they prepare in an event that they wouldn’t be able to find other foods during this period.
You should know that the molting procedure is very tough and strenuous for the spider. It loses a lot of energy and nutrients during the process.
Tarantulas are also quite vulnerable after they molt because their body will be exposed due to them lacking an exoskeleton after molting.
Related Article: Do Tarantulas Hibernate?
Is It Safe for a Tarantula to Eat Its Molt?
Yes, it is generally safe if you see a tarantula eating its molt, and you should not generally be worried.
The molt is essentially a spider’s exoskeleton. As such, it will have some nutrients that the spider loses. It is made out of a chitinous shell and some other ingredients, which make it tougher and more resistant to the challenges that the tarantula faces from the environment.
As such, it should not have any ingredients that would harm your spider. Some of these ingredients might be important for your spider’s growth, so you might see some spiders eating the molt after they shed it.
Can Tarantulas Die During Molting?
A tarantula might get stuck in its molt, in which case, it can die during the molting process.
Most tarantulas will stop eating before they molt because they want to make sure they don’t get stuck inside their molt. They might get stuck if they’re too thick or if they grow too quickly, in which case, the molting might end up a disaster for the tarantula.
If you see your tarantula stuck in its molt, you should not panic. You should usually take action if you see the chelicerae out of the molt and if your tarantula has been in this position for a few days at least.
Related Article: How to Tell if Your Tarantula is Dying
What To Do if my Tarantula Is Eating Its Molt?
If you see your tarantula eating its molt, then you should not be overly concerned. It’s a natural process, although not all tarantulas practice this behavior.
Make extra sure that you’re providing enough water and nutritious food for your tarantula. If your spider is eating its molt, then it’s a sign that it’s looking for food and extra nutrients that it can’t find.
Spiders eating their molt is a natural process. Many outdoor tarantulas will practice this behavior because they’re less likely to get food after the molt than many indoor tarantulas are. So this process is often seen with spiders that want to survive and grow in the wild.
In any case, you’ll want to observe your spider if it does start eating its molt. Make sure that it’s not eating the harder parts of the molt to avoid any potential issues with digestion.
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Most tarantulas will not eat their molt, but you might still see some spiders doing this. They will do it after the molt to get the nutrients back after they’ve completed the molt, which is something that many spiders do in the wild, but not many indoors.
Provide the tarantula with enough food and water after the molting process is done to make sure that it grows as quickly as possible and that it gets its exoskeleton back.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.