What Should I Do If My Tarantula Refuses To Eat?

So you’ve got yourself a furry eight-legged friend, huh? A tarantula can be an intriguing and unique pet to have, but what happens when they suddenly start turning their nose up at mealtime? If you find yourself bewildered and wondering what steps to take, don’t worry, my friend! In this article, we’ll explore some helpful tips and tricks on how to tackle this challenge and get your picky tarantula back in the eating game. So grab a cuppa and let’s dig into the fascinating world of tarantula nutrition together.

What Should I Do If My Tarantula Refuses To Eat?

Common Reasons why Tarantulas Refuse to Eat


One common reason why tarantulas may refuse to eat is due to stress. Tarantulas are sensitive creatures, and changes in their environment or handling can cause them to become stressed. This stress can lead to a loss of appetite. Some common sources of stress for tarantulas include loud noises, frequent disturbances, overcrowded enclosures, or being exposed to too much light. To help alleviate stress, make sure to provide a quiet and undisturbed environment for your tarantula.


Another common reason for a tarantula to refuse food is because it is in the molting process. Molting is a natural process where tarantulas shed their old exoskeleton to grow. During this time, tarantulas may stop eating as their bodies prepare for the molting process. It is important not to disturb or handle your tarantula during this time, as it can be a delicate process for them. After molting, they will resume their normal eating habits.

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Seasonal Fasting

Many tarantula species exhibit seasonal fasting behavior. This means that for a certain period of time, usually during the winter months, tarantulas may naturally decrease or completely stop eating. This behavior is similar to hibernation in other animals. Seasonal fasting is entirely normal and is a result of the tarantulas’ biological clock. If your tarantula is in a fasting period, it is best to simply wait it out and resume regular feeding when the appropriate season comes.

Illness or Injury

Illness or injury can also cause a tarantula to refuse to eat. Tarantulas can become sick or injured, just like any other living creature. If your tarantula is exhibiting signs of illness, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior, it is important to seek veterinary assistance immediately. An exotic veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose and treat the underlying cause of the illness or injury.

Enclosure Conditions

Lastly, improper enclosure conditions can contribute to a tarantula’s refusal to eat. Tarantulas require a specific environment to thrive, including proper temperature and humidity levels, sufficient space, and appropriate hiding spots. If these conditions are not met, it can cause stress and impact the tarantula’s appetite. Regularly check and adjust the temperature and humidity levels in the enclosure, ensure proper ventilation, and provide hiding spots for your tarantula to feel secure.

Observing Behavior Changes

Monitor Eating Habits

One of the first signs that a tarantula may be refusing to eat is a change in their eating habits. If your tarantula had previously been a voracious eater and suddenly stops eating, it is important to take note of this behavior change. Monitoring their eating habits will help you determine if there is a need for intervention or if it is a natural behavior.

Look for Signs of Stress

Observe your tarantula for signs of stress. These can include excessive hiding, refusal to come out of their hide or burrow, defensive behavior, or frequent webbing. Stress can impact a tarantula’s appetite, so it is important to address any stressors in their environment to encourage them to eat.

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Check for Molting Signs

If your tarantula has suddenly stopped eating, it is crucial to examine for signs of molting. Look for a shiny, dark abdomen, as well as webbing around potential molting spots. Avoid handling or disturbing your tarantula during this time, as it can disrupt the molting process and potentially harm them.

Observe Seasonal Fasting Patterns

If your tarantula is exhibiting a loss of appetite during a specific time of the year, it may be going through a seasonal fasting period. Keep track of the time frame and duration of this behavior to determine if it aligns with their natural seasonal patterns.

Inspect for Signs of Illness or Injury

Regularly inspect your tarantula for any signs of illness or injury. Look for abnormalities such as discoloration, lesions, or changes in behavior. If you notice any concerning signs, it is crucial to seek professional veterinary assistance to diagnose and treat any underlying issues.

What Should I Do If My Tarantula Refuses To Eat?

Troubleshooting and Solutions

Check Temperature and Humidity Levels

Ensure that the temperature and humidity levels in your tarantula’s enclosure are within the appropriate range for their species. Different tarantulas have different temperature and humidity requirements, so it is important to research and provide the ideal conditions. Use a thermometer and hygrometer to monitor these levels consistently.

Evaluate Enclosure Setup and Size

Assess the setup and size of your tarantula’s enclosure. Tarantulas require sufficient space to move around and a suitable environment that mimics their natural habitat. Make sure the enclosure is properly ventilated, has enough substrate for burrowing, and includes some decorations or hiding spots for your tarantula to feel secure.

Review Feeding Schedule and Prey Items

Review your tarantula’s feeding schedule and the type of prey items you are providing. Tarantulas have specific dietary needs, so it is important to offer them appropriate-sized prey items and adjust the feeding schedule accordingly. Avoid overfeeding or underfeeding, as both can affect their appetite.

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Minimize Disturbances and Noise

Create a calm and peaceful environment for your tarantula by minimizing disturbances and noise. Avoid frequent handling, loud noises, or sudden changes in their surroundings. Providing a quiet and stress-free environment can encourage your tarantula to resume their normal eating habits.

Provide a Hide or Secluded Spot

Make sure to provide a hiding spot or secluded area in your tarantula’s enclosure. Tarantulas naturally seek shelter and security, so having a designated hiding spot can help reduce stress levels. This can be a small hideout, a piece of cork bark, or a hollowed-out log.

What Should I Do If My Tarantula Refuses To Eat?

Seeking Veterinary Assistance

Consult an Exotic Veterinarian

If you have tried troubleshooting and your tarantula’s refusal to eat continues or other concerning symptoms arise, it is essential to seek veterinary assistance. Exotic veterinarians specialize in the care of non-traditional pets and can provide valuable insight into your tarantula’s health.

Inquire about Testing and Diagnoses

During your visit to the veterinarian, inquire about any necessary tests or diagnoses. They may recommend certain examinations, such as a fecal analysis or blood work, to determine the underlying cause of your tarantula’s loss of appetite.

Discuss Treatment Options

After receiving a proper diagnosis, discuss potential treatment options with your veterinarian. They may prescribe specific medications, recommend changes in enclosure conditions, or provide advice on adjusting the tarantula’s diet. It is important to follow their professional advice and guidance.

Follow Professional Advice

Lastly, ensure that you closely follow the professional advice given by the veterinarian. They have the expertise and knowledge needed to provide the best care for your tarantula’s specific situation. Following their instructions will help ensure the well-being and health of your tarantula.

What Should I Do If My Tarantula Refuses To Eat?