What Do Tarantulas Eat?

Tarantula
GK Hart/Vikki Hart/ Stone/ Getty images

Tarantulas are carnivores. They eat all kinds of insects, especially larger ones like crickets and grasshoppers, June beetles, cicadas, and caterpillars. Larger tarantulas will also eat frogs, toads, and small rodents like mice. A South American species, the Goliath birdeater, is known to eat small birds as well, although these make up only a small part of their diet.

Like other spiders, tarantulas can't eat their prey in solid form.

When a tarantula captures a live meal, it first bites the prey with its sharp fangs, injecting it with a paralyzing venom. Once the prey is immobilized, the tarantula secretes digestive enzymes that turn the victim's body into soup. The spider can then suck up its meal using straw-like mouthparts.