Can Tarantulas Eat Cockroaches

Yes. Tarantulas can eat cockroaches, and you can give cockroaches to them as feeder food. Throughout this guide, we’ll explain:

Do Tarantulas Eat Cockroaches?

In the wild, tarantulas will go after any prey. Regarding cockroaches, tarantulas tend to hunt after them because they are tasty and a good nutritional source. 

In a study conducted by the University of Cambridge, they discovered that tarantulas would discard other prey if cockroaches were nearby. Thus, cockroaches are a favorite food amongst tarantulas because they are rich in fats, protein, and minerals.

However, not all cockroaches can be eaten by tarantulas. For instance, you should not feed your tarantulas home roaches because they don’t provide any nutritional value. In the next section, we’ll explain what cockroaches are best for your pet tarantula.

Video of tarantula eating roaches.

What Kind of Cockroaches Do Tarantulas Eat?

While tarantulas can eat cockroaches, it’s important to know which ones are the best for them. As a pet owner, you’ll want to have cockroaches that are easy to purchase, raise, and breed as feeder food for your tarantula. Here are the most common cockroaches that tarantulas eat:

Dubia Roaches

If it’s your first time having a tarantula as a pet, dubia roaches are the best way to go. They are popularized amongst pet owners because they provide nutrition for tarantulas and are easy to breed. 

Throughout their lives, dubia roaches can range from ⅛ as babies to 2 inches as adults. Because of their size, they are good prey for most insectivores. In most cases, dubia roaches will grow alongside your tarantulas, providing a new food source once they breed and mature.

Unfortunately, dubia roaches are unable to fly or climb. When placed in cages, dubia roaches cannot escape by flying out. If any roach was to leave the enclosure, they wouldn’t be able to breed or survive in temperatures where tarantulas are kept.

How To Breed Dubia Roaches?

When breeding dubia roaches, understand that their growth is expected to have physical limitations. What you feed your dubia roaches affects not only their productivity but also their offspring’s productivity. This generational impact is important as it can expand from 3 to 4 generations.

Under the right conditions, adult female dubia roaches can give birth to 175 offspring per year. One year after giving birth, approximately 120 of her children will grow to be fertile adults. Around 40-50 of her children will produce offspring.

How Long Will it Take to Breed Dubia Roaches?

Dubia roaches take up to 5 months to become adults. Males start mating once they reach adulthood, while the females start mating a week later. On average, it takes up to 72 days for an adult female dubia roach to produce offspring. 

After Birth

After a female dubia roach gives birth to her offspring, they will take care of their hatchlings instead of looking for a new mate. During this stage, the nymph roaches will learn to become self-sufficient until their mother fully replenishes her energy.

Buy three bins to create a dubia roach breeding colony. One of the bins will house the breeding colony, the second one will be used as a rearing tub, and the third bin is a spare used for temporary storage.

When creating this breeding colony, you must ensure they have food and ventilation and are stored at room temperature. Once the offspring have hatched, make sure they are stored within an 80ºF to 90ºF range. This will allow them to grow into adults and be fed to your tarantula. 

However, dubia roaches like to play dead when placed near a tarantula. To avoid this, quickly place them inside your tarantula’s cage once you notice movement. This will make it easier for your pet tarantula to spot them and have them as a meal. 


  • Best nutritional value
  • Easy to Breed
  • Requires less cleaning


  • Difficult to find in pet stores

Turkestan Roach

Historically, Turkestan roaches originated in Asia, India, northeast Africa, and the Middle East. In the U.S., they are found in the southeast and California regions. 

Turkestan roaches primarily live outdoors. However, they can be found indoors when they become overpopulated in the summer. These cockroaches go through 3 developmental stages: 

  • Eggs 
  • Nymphs
  • Adult

Like many cockroaches, Turkestan roaches tend to become active after dark. Tarantulas are nocturnal and are also active during nighttime. As a result, they are common prey for tarantulas because they are so accessible. 

How to Breed Turkestan Roach

To breed a colony of Turkestan Roaches, you have to consider their environment. Keep their temperature within an 85-95 degree range. 

Throughout the week, you should feed them fresh vegetables and fruits. Doing this will ensure that their living conditions are met, and they can breed properly.

After Birth

Each female Turkestan roach can produce approximately 12 nymphs. Once hatched, the nymph roaches take up to 3-5 months to become adults. Feed both adult and nymph roaches to yield the best nutritional results for your tarantula. 

Turkestan roaches are faster and quicker than dubia roaches. Dubia roaches are slower and are unable to escape enclosed areas. To prevent them from escaping, place them on their back inside the enclosure. That way, they will be unable to run away once your pet tarantula is hungry!


  • Faster breeding process than dubia roaches
  • Turkestan roaches don’t nibble
  • Unable to reproduce at room temperature


  • Increased chances of escaping

Madagascar Hissing Cockroach

The Madagascar Hissing Cockroach is known for its oval-shaped, shiny brown appearance. Adult males have long horns, which gives them a unique look. 

As their name suggests, this cockroach uses hissing for mating purposes. Unlike other cockroaches, the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach makes the noise through exhaling air out of their breathing holes. 

Also, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches live in forest regions, where they can hide under leaves. These cockroaches become more active during the night and search for food, primarily plant or fruit materials. 

How to Breed Hissing Cockroaches

With Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, you’ll want to get a sealable tank to store them. Place a greasy substance on top of the tank’s container. To optimize breeding, make sure you place them in a dark and secluded environment. 

On average, female hissing cockroaches produce 60 nymphs as offspring. Their eggs have a cocoon-like shape, and they carry them inside their bodies. 

After Birth

Once the nymph hissing cockroaches are born, you’ll have to take care of them. Feed them dry pellet food to keep them healthy. Once they become adults, you can feed them to your pet tarantula.

Remember, these roaches can get noisy. If you’re planning on raising a hissing cockroach colony, make sure that it is outdoors and away from your home. 


  • Easy to Handle
  • Diverse Appetite
  • Creates the largest offspring


  • Loud hissing noises
  • Prone to biting
  • Sneaks on home surfaces

Turkmen Red Runners

Turkmen Red Runners are great for tarantulas. Adults can reach up to 3 cm, making them smaller than tarantulas. The average tarantula is around 5 inches, so they can dominate the Turkmen Red Runners due to sheer size. 

Another reason why pet owners choose Turkmen Red Runners is that they do not reproduce at room temperature. This gives you more control over the breeding process because they won’t breed outside the 80-95F range. 


  • Active
  • Smaller than most cockroaches
  • Cannot climb on smooth surfaces


  • Requires more cleaning

What Kind of Roaches Should You Not Feed Tarantulas?

Tarantulas can eat cockroaches, but here are some roaches you should avoid: 

  • Aggressive Roaches

Roaches that bite often will pose a threat to your tarantula. Even though your tarantula will still be able to eat them, chances are a group of aggressive roaches will leave your tarantula injured.

That’s why dubia roaches are a great choice. They don’t bite, and they are unable to leave the cage. Because of this, it’s easier for your tarantula to eat and digest them. 

  • Dead Roaches

Tarantulas tend to search for active prey. If their prey is not moving, they will not register it as food and avoid it. 

Dubia roaches play dead when they are near a tarantula. This reduces the tarantula’s interest as they will forget about eating them. Tarantulas respond to vibrations, meaning that you should feed them cockroaches that are alive and moving. 

  • Wild Cockroaches

You don’t want to feed your tarantula any cockroach. Unclean cockroaches can contain parasites that could potentially injure your tarantula. For your tarantula’s safety, don’t place wild cockroaches in their tank. 

That being said, always know where you’re buying your cockroaches. Getting them from a reliable source or pet store will give your pet their required daily nutrition.  Doing so reduces your tarantula’s exposure to diseases and keeps them healthy. 

How to Feed Roaches To Your Tarantulas?

Feed your tarantula by placing the cockroaches in their cage. If you’ve created your own breeding colony, then you can move your adult cockroaches inside your tarantula’s tank. The tarantula will inject their venom into the cockroach and consume it afterward. 

Like humans, your pet tarantula likes to eat a variety of foods. Adult tarantulas eat lizards, cockroaches, worms, and insects. In fact, large tarantulas can eat a small mouse!

Any food that is not eaten within 24 hours should be disposed of. Doing so protects your tarantula from getting infected by parasites. Feed at least three cockroaches a meal to ensure that your tarantula gets the nutrition their body needs. 

Can Roaches Hurt Tarantulas?

Roaches cannot hurt tarantulas, but some species can bite them as a defense mechanism. If you have baby tarantulas in your tank, feed them smaller insects first. Roach bites can be fatal to younger tarantulas and can lead to death if you’re not careful. 

 For adult tarantulas, they don’t have to worry about cockroaches. Their bodies are developed to kill them with their venom, and they can eat multiple cockroaches a day. 

Do Tarantulas Enjoy Eating Roaches?

Tarantulas are carnivores, meaning that their diet needs roaches to survive. They do not simply eat roaches, but they absorb them instead. They prepare their food by biting onto the cockroach and injecting its venom into its body. 

After the poison paralyzes the cockroach, the tarantula will start to slowly absorb their prey. Once the food is fully ingested, the tarantula’s internal system breaks down the nutrients in the body. 

Don’t be afraid to give your tarantula roaches, but don’t overfeed them! Giving them an excessive amount of roaches will lead to health problems. Always monitor your tarantula’s reaction when feeding them cockroaches. 

Final Words

Overall, your pet tarantula will find a lot of nutritional value when eating cockroaches. For the best results, give them cockroaches that are fresh and bred correctly. This will give them the food they need to survive and maintain their health for the long term. 

Also Read

What to Do If You See a Tarantula: Quick Tips for a Safe Encounter

Do Tarantulas Eat Crickets?

Do Tarantulas Eat Ants? (Are Ants Dangerous To Tarantulas?)


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