Just because tarantulas can eat ants doesn’t mean that they’re an excellent idea for your pet. In fact, some ants can be dangerous and kill your pet tarantula within minutes. Throughout this guide, we’ll explain:
- Do Tarantulas Eat Ants?
- Are Ants Dangerous To Tarantulas?
- What Kind of Ants Do Tarantulas Eat?
- What Type of Spiders Eat Ants?
- Ants That You Should Avoid Feeding Tarantulas
- How Often Should You Feed Tarantulas Ants?
- How Do I Get Rid of Ants In My Tarantula Enclosure?
Do Tarantulas Eat Ants?
Yes. Tarantulas can eat various insects such as crickets, caterpillars, ants, centipedes, and other spiders! Since they are carnivores, you’ll want to feed your pet tarantula ants and other bugs to ensure it gets their daily protein requirements met.
Some tarantula species tend to hunt on the ground, while others hunt on trees. When consuming their prey, they can only do so in liquids. The tarantula injects venom inside of the ant and paralyzes it.
After the ant is immobilized, the tarantula places enzymes inside the body. The tarantula then sucks up their prey with their mouthparts underneath their fangs. Then, the tarantula uses its intestines to digest the ant’s nutrients. When the tarantula kills its prey, they farm their carcass into a small ball and dispose of it.
Are Ants Dangerous To Tarantulas?
However, ants are just as threatening to tarantulas. Ants are dangerous to tarantulas when they are in numbers. When facing a tarantula or any prey, a group of ants will swarm and attack it as a defense mechanism.
While a few ants around your tarantula are okay, having over 10+ ants is a major problem and should be removed immediately.
Ant armies dismantle their food, and that doesn’t exclude tarantulas. A tarantula could kill one ant, but they are defenseless when a group of ants attacks them. In the wild, the tarantula escapes from the ants and creates burrows in another environment. Since your pet tarantula is in an enclosed area, they cannot get away from the ant army.
Tarantulas and ants live different lifestyles. Tarantulas are arachnids and are solitary creatures. This means that they do not engage with other tarantulas outside of mating. Since they hunt for food on their own, it makes them vulnerable to an ant colony.
On the other hand, ants are more social than tarantulas. Since they work together throughout their lives, they are able to defend themselves against a tarantula’s attack. The ants will begin to bite onto the tarantula’s flesh, killing it within minutes. Due to their strength in numbers, ants pose a major threat to your home and your pet tarantula.
What Kind of Ants Do Tarantulas Eat?
Tarantulas tend to go for younger and weaker ants. They can create webs and trap the ants onto them. When there are only 1-3 ants nearby, the tarantula has an advantage due to its size and biting power.
Tarantulas capture their ants from shooting silk out of their feet. Once an ant is stuck onto its silk web, they can bite it and inject it with venom until it dies. After the ant dies, the tarantula can consume their nutrients and remove them from their web.
On the other hand, adult ants are trickier for tarantulas to eat. These ants have grown with hundreds of other ants and will attack your tarantula if threatened. If you have to feed your tarantula ants, go for the ones that are least likely to fight back.
What Type of Spiders Eat Ants?
Here are the most common spiders that eat ants:
- Black Widow
- Lynx Spider
- Jump Spider
As we stated earlier, most spiders attack ants through their webs. Once stuck on the net, the ant will attempt to struggle to escape. The spider picks up the ant’s vibration and begins to eat them.
In addition, other spiders hunt for ants by waiting for them to come nearby. The spider will then jump on top of the ant to kill it. Unfortunately, your pet tarantula is limited because they are living in an enclosed area. So, it’s best to either feed them a few ants at a time while keeping your tarantula enclosure safe from ants. We’ll explain more in the next section.
Ants That You Should Avoid Feeding Tarantulas
Fire ants can kill your pet tarantula. You can spot them based on their reddish-brown color. This ant species comes from the Solenopsis Invicta family. These ants tend to live underground, so they won’t leave any ant mount openings.
On average, adult fire ants range from ⅛ to ¼ inches long. Another important trait to remember is that all ant families have the same size within their colony. Due to their small size, they can sometimes become undetected by your tarantula.
Fire ants have a venom that consists of toxic proteins and oily alkaloids. When biting a tarantula, they deliver a painful sting that leaves a burning sensation. Tarantulas inject their prey via their fangs while fire ants use their stingers. Since the fire ants outnumber the tarantula, you should not give them to your pet tarantula.
Did you know that the bulldog ant has a venom that can kill a human in 15 seconds? Bulldog ants originate from Australia and have a large stinger used to harm their prey. When agitated, the bulldog ant jumps around before attacking.
Bulldog ants are known for their aggressive behavior and their ability to kill spiders. For instance, they invade tarantula and spider nests, killing the eggs and attacking the mother spider. Then, the ants take over the spider’s territory and leave twigs behind so that other spiders can compete with them.
Tarantulas have no chance against a Bulldog ant when both species interact with each other. Adult Bulldog ants feed off arthropods such as spiders, caterpillars, and beetles. Additionally, they eat wasps, cockroaches, and other ants! These deadly ants can kill a tarantula by surrounding it and injecting them with their stingers.
How Often Should You Feed Tarantulas Ants?
If possible, you should only feed your tarantulas ants during an emergency. For instance, if your tarantula is pregnant or without any food source, it is okay to feed them one at a time. Ants can carry toxins that release when they are consumed, which can injure your pet tarantula.
When feeding your tarantula ants or any insects, feed them 1-3 times a week. As your young tarantula grows, they will stop seeing the ants as food and avoid them altogether.
Alternatively, you can feed your tarantula insects such as cockroaches and flies. These insects are easier to trap on their web and are less dangerous than ants.
How Do I Get Rid of Ants In My Tarantula Enclosure?
- White Vinegar
If you notice ants in your home, you can use either full vinegar or a 50/50 vinegar and water solution. Not only does this repel ants from your home, but it kills them as well.
Use diluted vinegar to clean up surfaces in your home. Ants will smell the vinegar and attempt to move away from it.
Use pesticides when dealing with ants outdoors. For the best results, spray your backyard with pesticides before buying your pet tarantula. This will keep the environment safe for them and prevent them from getting stung by ants.
While you can get pesticides from local hardware stores, sometimes it’s best to leave it up to the professionals. They have more effective products than commercial brands and can ensure that the colony of ants is removed from your backyard.
- Boiling Water
Pour boiling water on ants if you notice them around your house. Doing so will kill most of the ants inside. While anthills are small, the colonies underneath them can have over 1000 ants!
However, boiling water won’t kill the entire colony. Because of this, you should treat ant holes that are in close proximity to your home.
How to Stop Ants From Getting Into Tarantula Enclosure
Look for Scout Ants
Scout ants are the first sign that more ants will be invading your tarantula enclosure. These ants get their name by searching around and finding food sources for their colony.
If you spot these ants in your kitchen, it’s best to remove them immediately. Otherwise, your home and tarantula enclosure could be swarmed with an army of ants!
Keep Your Home Clean
Ants can’t live without food. This means that they will feed on the debris that you leave on the ground in your home. To reduce the number of ants, do the following things:
- Clean Common Surfaces: Not only are ants attracted to food, but they also like sticky surfaces. With a warm rag or cloth, wipe down workbenches, counters, and other surfaces where ants may be present.
- Vacuum Regularly: Vacuuming or sweeping the floor regularly helps reduce the debris lying on the ground. Also, it prevents scout ants from finding food sources in your home.
- Clean the Dishes: Dirty dishes and leftover food attracts ants almost instantly. Make sure to clean them often to protect your home and your pet tarantula from them.
- Use a Dehumidifier: Dehumidifiers are good at reducing the humidity in an area. This helps avoid ant infestation through temperature and environmental regulation.
Control The Ant Colonies Around Your Home
If you’re noticing scout ants in your home, chances are you’ll find a colony of ants later. You’ll have to make an effort to control these ant colonies in your home to prevent them from invading your home.
If you see ant mounds on your property, apply exterminating products to the area to stop the colony from growing. Removing these colonies properly will eliminate an entire ant colony and prevent them from spreading towards your tarantula enclosure.
Boric acid has been proven to kill queen and worker bees within three weeks of exposure. It works by destroying their stomachs and outer shells.
Keep the boric acid away from pets and children. Here’s how you can use boric acid to get rid of ants:
- Create a solution with 1 cup of water, ½ tsp of boric acid, and 8 tsp sugar.
- Continue stirring the solution until the boric acid and sugar are dissolved.
- Then, you can place the mixture in containers. Make sure to clean the containers after using them or discard them altogether.