Baby spiders will eat their siblings, pollen, unfertilized eggs, small crickets, flies, and smaller bugs that they can find on their own. With some spider species, spider babies will even eat their mother as she sacrifices herself for the greater good.
You might not think it, but baby spiders are quite resourceful. In the first few weeks and days before the first molt, they’re still unable to completely hunt on their own. However, they’re still capable of gathering enough food to survive. In this case, they will depend on their surroundings.
Foods that Baby Spiders Eat
Baby spiders require a lot of protein to grow up. But one thing we have to note here is that baby spiders that are less than a few days old will not eat just yet. Baby spiders only start eating after their first molt, which is when they become more capable of finding food for themselves.
1. Unfertilized Eggs
In nature, baby spiders have a way of surviving without relying on external factors. When the mother spider lays eggs, she will lay hundreds of eggs.
One egg sac might contain anywhere between 100 and 300 eggs. These eggs are laid inside the spider web. Most of the eggs are then fertilized before the spiderlings hatch; however, some eggs don’t get fertilized at all.
And this is a good opportunity for baby spiders to get food as they hatch. These unfertilized eggs will not be used for reproduction, so they serve another important use after they are unfertilized – they act as nourishment for baby spiders.
2. Pollen and Air Particles
As we’ve mentioned before, baby spiders will sometimes heavily rely on their surroundings for survival, at least in the first few weeks.
Many spiders live in forests and grasslands where pollen is produced in large quantities. Pollen has high quantities of protein, which makes it a good source of food. Spiders know how to make the most out of this excess availability of pollen.
When baby spiders are inside the webs, they will create a special type of web that will collect pollen from the air. It will also collect smaller bugs and insects that stumble into this web.
This will then provide crucial nutrients to the baby spider. Until their first molt, this will be the primary source of food, as they get all the nutrients – particularly protein – from this mixture that is caught inside the sticky web.
3. Small Crickets and Flies
Once the baby spiders grow up a bit, they’re able to go after their food. This will usually happen after the first molt, which happens a few weeks after hatching.
At first, spiderlings will catch smaller insects they can find around them. Because they’re still small, they haven’t yet fully developed their venom glands. At the same time, they still haven’t mastered the hunting techniques needed to go after larger prey.
For baby spiders, smaller insects will be more than enough, though. Now and then, they will go out of their web to hunt smaller crickets and flies, which are two crucial sources of food as baby spiders get a bit larger.
4. Other Baby Spiders
As cruel as it may sound, nature favors the survival of the fittest. And for some species, there is not much food around them to eat. This might result in cannibalism.
This phenomenon will not happen often – mainly, it will occur if the conditions in nature are too harsh for the baby spider to go out and hunt. Or, it will happen if no other sources of food are available around them.
Larger baby spiders will hunt smaller baby spiders – sometimes even as quickly as they hatch.
5. Their Parents
Lastly, we also must mention that some spider species might eat their parents (particularly their mothers) as they first come out of their eggs.
This is especially observed with the species called Stegodyphus dumicola, also known as the African social spider.
The mother spider will first feed their babies with the fluids that she creates after catching prey. This will happen particularly in the first few days and weeks after hatching.
As baby spiders get bigger, the mother spider makes a sacrifice. Baby spiders will mount her and the mother spider will start producing bodily fluids until she passes, and the baby spiders will eat her until her entire body is consumed. The act of eating the mother by the babies is called matriphagy.
In some spider species, this will mainly happen if the mother spider is older. Sometimes, baby spiders will feed on females that are not related to the brood, which is seen as an act of doing something for the greater good.
Do baby spiders eat their mom?
Sometimes, it will happen. This is typical for spiders of the species Stegodyphus dumicola, which is also known as the African social spider. This spider species lives in South Africa. Once baby spiders grow a bit larger, the mother will sacrifice herself so that the baby spiders can eat them so they can survive.
Do baby spiders eat their siblings?
As cruel as it may sound, some spider species will also eat their siblings. This will happen if there are no other types of food around in times of shortage. Usually, larger baby spiders will consume smaller spiders.
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If you own baby spiders, then the good news is that you don’t have to do too much to help them survive. Of course, you can provide them with some specific foods that you can buy in a pet shop center.
Baby spiders will survive on their own if they are protected from predators in nature. They’ll feed on pollen and unfertilized eggs, and as they grow up, they’ll start hunting smaller insects and their offspring, too.
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