Do Tarantulas Eat Scorpions? Complete Owner Guide


Tarantulas eat a range of insects, lizards, and other critters of a small size. But is your Tarantula going to be partial to eating the odd scorpion?

Tarantulas are highly unlikely to want to eat a scorpion. The scorpion has a significant amount of body armor that it is hard for the tarantula to pierce to inject it’s venom. Also scorpions are often of a similar size to the tarantula, and would be difficult for them to kill.

There really are quite a few reasons why tarantulas would never eat scorpions.

I’m going to take a look at some of these, and then dive into some more tasty treats that your tarantula definitely will enjoy.

Black scorpion on hard sand floor

The Scorpion is Anti-Spider

There is another reason why a Tarantula will probably not eat a scorpion, and it’s to do with the way in which the scorpion is very anti-spider in its build.

If you have a scorpion and Tarantula of around the same size, then this is going to result in the scorpion potentially having the upper hand. A Tarantula is not a stupid creature. They will know when the battle is harder than it needs to be, and they will either back off, or not even entertain the battle in the first place.

A scorpion would be a tough insect for your Tarantula to kill. The only way that it could really happen is if the scorpion was significantly smaller in size than the Tarantula. At that point, the size difference helps, but if there’s not much of a variation, then it’s not going to happen.

A Scorpion Has Significant Armor

What you must remember is that the scorpion does have some significant armor that it uses to both protect itself as well as to attack. Those pincers, their venom, and their hard shell will prove to be a difficult thing for a Tarantula to pierce through.

Also, a scorpion of the same size as the Tarantula will also prove to be quite strong. The energy that would be used up in order to kill the scorpion to then eat it is something that a Tarantula will have very little interest in entertaining.

It will be tough for a Tarantula to be able to gain the advantage. They like to attack by surprise and to overwhelm their prey. That’s not going to be an easy task when dealing with a spider.

The scorpion has very few parts of its body where there’s a weakness. The Tarantula needs to paralyze its prey in order to then overwhelm it, and it does this by grabbing a firm hold of its prey and sinking those fangs into it to then inject venom.

This is tough to do with a scorpion. That’s not to say that it’s impossible as this isn’t the case. However, as we said earlier, the Tarantula would rather focus its attention on prey that puts up less of a fight to stop it from using up as much energy just to get a meal.

They Would Both Want to Get Away

Here’s another important factor that plays into this entire scenario or a Tarantula eating a scorpion, they would both want to get away from one another should they meet. It would be in their nature to get away rather than confront and fight.

But if they were in a spot where they could not get away, then it’s more a case of which one would be able to kill the other first. Do note that it’s about killing the other in order to flee, rather than the Tarantula looking at the scorpion as a meal.

A Tarantula has so many food options out there that it doesn’t have to go down this tricky path unless they are running out of options.

Scorpion on a rock

They Probably Would Eat a Pre-Killed Scorpion

Even though we have just gone through various reasons as to why a Tarantula would not eat a scorpion, we need to address one final point. What would happen if they were offered a pre-killed scorpion?

Well, that’s a different matter. The entire issue of trying to overwhelm and kill the scorpion has been taken away.

At that point, any Tarantula would be likely to at least try to eat the scorpion. It has become easy prey, so it would merely come down to the size of the meal compared to the size of the Tarantula.

So, it’s not so much about the taste as to why they would generally not eat a scorpion. Instead, it’s about the ability to turn the scorpion into something that they can actually eat.

The One Tarantula That Is An Exception

At this point, we only know of one species of Tarantula that’s going to eat the occasional scorpion, and it’s the Arizona Tarantula. These guys live out in the desert, and they are nocturnal hunters, just like the rest of the species.

They do prefer to eat the usual sorts of insects and small prey, but this species has been seen to catch and eat the occasional small scorpion.

The Goliath Tarantula would also have no problem in taking on a scorpion, but while we cannot completely rule out the possibility of them eating one, it’s not something that has really been observed. However, when you can tackle birds and some small snakes, then catching a scorpion is not going to prove too much of a problem.

Also, do remember that the Tarantula and a scorpion will tend to live in the same climate. They both enjoy the heat and humidity, so the two of them running into one another is not going to be as rare as some people may believe.

Keep in mind that a scorpion is nocturnal. The only time they will come out during the day is during the winter months, and that’s only if the temperature gets high enough to tempt them into doing that.

What this means is that both the scorpion and Tarantula are going to be active and hunting at the same time. That in itself does increase the chances of them encountering one another, but the picture is not as clear cut as that.

The Basic Feeding of Your Tarantula

Your Tarantula is going to love feeding on a variety of insects, but how many they need to eat in a single week is going to vary depending on the sub-species of Tarantula that you own.

They will often not have that much of an appetite, but that is also something that varies between species. You should spend time learning more about the species you have as a pet in advance of actually owning them to know what to expect from a feeding perspective.

Of course, you do need to feed them live insects. This is healthier for them, as it means they can go through the entire hunting process, and it makes them feel more alive and act just like a Tarantula would do out in the wild. That natural instinct is still there, even though they are being held in captivity as a pet.

The Insects They Love

A Tarantula won’t just eat any old thing. They do have certain preferences as to what they will, and will not, eat.

Insects such as caterpillars, crickets, millipedes, moths and so on are popular prey for a Tarantula. You will be able to find a number of them in your pet store as live feed for your pet Tarantula, and they will certainly love you for it all when you deliver their food to them. [Source]

Smaller Tarantulas would also enjoy various flies as well as some of the insects listed above. They have quite a wide appetite for insects, but it always comes down to the size of the insect that’s the most important thing of all.

But that’s more for an adult Tarantula, so what happens if your pet is still a baby? Well, their feeding routine or needs do vary slightly compared to the fully-matured Tarantula.

Your Baby Tarantula

It’s worth us quickly talking about a baby Tarantula and what you should be feeding them. After all, a Tarantula is not going to reach maturity until it’s somewhere between 2 and 5 years of age. The exact age depends on the sub-species, but it does mean you stand a good chance of owning a baby Tarantula, at least for a period of time.

So, what do they eat? Well, it’s certainly not a scorpion.

Focus on offering them the likes of fruit flies and very small insects. The main concern is the size of them, and there’s a rule of thumb whereby the food must be quite a bit smaller in size than your actual spider. As with the mature Tarantula, how often you feed them will vary between species. [Source]

Also, an adult Tarantula is going to prefer to feed on live insects, but you don’t have to worry about that quite as much when dealing with a baby Tarantula. Yes, they will still hunt and kill the insect all on their own. After all, it’s a natural instinct for them. But you don’t have to go down that route with a baby.

Instead, pre-killed insects will also work well. In fact, some people believe that this is the better option for a baby Tarantula.

But there’s another problem with feeding a baby Tarantula, and that’s how often you do it.

You must feed them on a regular basis. This helps them to grow and mature as a spider. However, you can easily overdo it, and that’s a problem all on its own. In this sense, they are just like any baby animal. They need that extra energy in order to grow and develop correctly. However, an inexperienced owner can make mistakes, so keeping a close eye on what’s happening from a food point of view is more important than most people understand.

Feeding your baby Tarantula does also lead to them molting more often. That means it has a direct impact on their ability to grow. But that’s not the full story, as molting is a difficult time, and you need to chance your approach.

When you notice that they are molting, it’s important that you stop with all of those feedings. If you see there’s some uneaten food in their enclosure, then take it out until they have finished with the molting.

The problem is that your baby Tarantula is going to feel very scared and vulnerable when it’s molting. When you think about it logically, they are getting a new exoskeleton, so they feel they are in more danger while it’s effectively growing.

They are going to have zero interest in eating anything during this time. Actually, you should wait around a week after they have molted before then reintroducing food into their enclosure. Don’t worry about their health at this point, as they are completely fine with not having any food for a number of days.

To recap

So, a Tarantula is going to generally not want to eat a scorpion. However, if they had no other option, then we are sure that more of the sub-species of Tarantula would actually kill a small one and see how they got on with eating it.

In saying that, there is one sub-species where them eating a scorpion has been observed, but they are certainly in the minority.

If you own a pet Tarantula, make life easier for yourself by sticking to the type of food that they enjoy, and that which is easier to get a hold of. Your local pet store will have ample supplies that are perfect for your Tarantula. Also, they will be all pre-prepared and ready to be consumed, just exactly the way your Tarantula will want them.

Barry Gray

Barry is a freelance writer from Scotland. He has written about pets for over a decade, and his work has been turned into a range of ebooks, courses, and material for diplomas. Barry is passionate about all animals, but particularly dogs, fish, rabbits, birds and spiders. You can find out more about Barry at https://mercurypets.com/our-writers/

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