We know that tarantulas are still a very niche pet but they have been seeing some steady growth in their popularity recently as more and more people looking to get themselves a pet tarantula.
As more and more people start to keep a pet tarantula, the number of questions that we see people from the tarantula keeping community increases too.
A number of people have been reaching out recently to ask about the various reasons that their tarantula won’t eat and many of the problems are easy to avoid so we hope that our article will be able to help as many of our readers as possible.
Your Tarantula Is Not Hungry!
The first and most common reason that your tarantula isn’t eating is that they are not actually hungry!
Tarantulas can go for a very long time without food, so if your tarantula has only been refusing food for a few weeks then there is a good chance that they are just not hungry yet.
A lot of tarantula keepers make the mistake of overfeeding their tarantulas too and this can lead to health problems further down the line so it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to feeding your tarantula.
You Are Using An Unsuitable Food!
The second most common reason that your tarantula isn’t eating is that you are using an unsuitable food source.
Tarantulas will often only eat live prey so if you are trying to feed your tarantula dead insects then they are not going to be interested.
The best way to ensure that your tarantula is getting a good meal is to buy live insects from a pet store or online retailer.
You can also breed your own insects if you have the time and patience to do so!
The Tarantula Has A Ruptured Abdomen!
Although tarantulas are very hardy animals, they can end up having problems with a ruptured abdomen and this issue is becoming increasingly common with pet tarantulas.
We have a dedicated article going over tarantulas with a ruptured abdomen that may be helpful if you suspect that this is the problem.
Unfortunately though, many tarantulas that do have a ruptured abdomen will not survive long as it is a serious injury that will stop the tarantula from eating while also leaking essentially fluids that it needs to live.
Your Tarantula Is About To Molt!
One of the most common times that a tarantula will go off their food is when they are getting ready to molt.
Tarantulas will not eat for a few weeks before they molt as their old exoskeleton starts to loosen and they prepare to grow a new one.
Molting is a stressful time for tarantulas and they are very vulnerable so it is important to leave them alone during this time.
The pre-molt stage is the final stage before a tarantula molts and during this time, they will stop eating altogether.
Its Too Cold For Your Tarantula To Eat!
Another reason that your tarantula may not be eating is that it is too cold for them to digest their food properly.
Tarantulas are ectothermic animals which means that their body temperature is dependent on the surrounding environment.
If the temperature drops too low then the tarantula’s metabolism will slow down and they will not be able to digest their food properly.
This can lead to health problems so it is important to ensure that your tarantula’s enclosure is kept at a steady temperature.
If you suspect that the temperature might be too low then you can use a heat mat or basking light to raise the temperature of the enclosure to get your tarantula eating again.
Your Tarantula Is Stressed And Anxious!
Tarantulas can get stressed and anxious for a number of reasons and this can lead to them going off their food.
One of the most common causes of stress in tarantulas is being handled too much so it is important to only handle your tarantula when absolutely necessary.
Other causes of stress include changes in the enclosure, such as a new decoration being added, or if the humidity level drops too low.
Tarantulas can also get stressed if they are not getting enough privacy so it is important to make sure that their enclosure has plenty of hiding places.
If you suspect that your tarantula is stressed then you should try to reduce the stress factors in their environment and give them some time to calm down.
Your Tarantula Has Parasites!
One of the less common reasons that a tarantula may stop eating is if they have parasites.
Parasites can cause a number of health problems in tarantulas and can make it difficult for them to digest their food properly.
If you suspect that your tarantula has parasites then you should take them to a vet as soon as possible as they will need treatment else it is highly likely that your tarantula will perish.
Unfortunately, it is very likely that your tarantula will not be able to make a full recovery if it is having problems with internal parasites.
Your Tarantula Is New To Its Environment!
If your tarantula is new to its environment then it is not uncommon for them to go off their food for a few weeks as they adjust to their new surroundings.
It is important to give your tarantula some time to settle in and acclimate to their new home before you start handling them or making any changes to their enclosure.
You should also make sure that their enclosure is set up properly with the correct humidity and temperature levels as well as plenty of hiding places.
Give your tarantula some time to adjust and they should start eating again soon.
Your Tarantula Has Reached Adulthood!
As your tarantula reaches adulthood, they will start to slow down their growth and will not need to eat as often.
An adult tarantula may only need to be fed once every two weeks or so and even then, they may not eat their meal with this being normal behavior.
If your tarantula is an adult and has stopped eating so much then this is usually nothing to worry about. The problem is that different tarantulas mature at different rates and there is usually a range of multiple years when a tarantula can reach adulthood making it hard to confirm that this is the problem.
The Size Of Your Tarantulas Food Is Too Large!
If your tarantula is having difficulty eating their food then it may be because the prey item is too large for them.
It is important to make sure that you are only offering food items that are an appropriate size for your tarantula.
If the food item is too large then your tarantula may struggle to kill and eat it which can lead to them getting injured or becoming stressed.
Try offering your tarantula smaller food items and see if they are able to eat them more easily.
Your Tarantula Is Laying Eggs!
If your female tarantula is mature then it is possible that she is not eating because she is preparing to lay her eggs.
Female tarantulas will often stop eating a few weeks before they lay their eggs and will instead focus on getting ready to lay.
Once the eggs are laid, the female tarantula will often start eating as normal again.
Your Tarantula Is Sick Or Injured!
If your tarantula is not eating and you have ruled out all of the other potential causes then there is a chance that they may be sick or injured.
There are a number of different health problems that can cause a tarantula to go off their food so it is important to take them to a vet if you suspect that this may be the case.
Some of the most common health problems that can cause a tarantula to stop eating include mites, internal parasites, and respiratory infections.
You Have A Picky Tarantula!
Some tarantulas can be quite picky eaters and will only eat certain types of prey.
If your tarantula has stopped eating then it may be because they are not interested in the food that you are offering them.
Try offering your tarantula a variety of different food items and see if they will eat any of them.
You may need to experiment a bit to find out what your tarantula likes to eat but it is important to make sure that they are getting enough food.