They are excellent jumpers that can pounce on prey from a height around 4 times their own body length. Some species are known for jumping even higher than that (up to 50 times their own body length).
While they don’t cast webs, they do cast a silken thread as a tether while they are jumping in the air to ensure they don’t hurt themselves in case they miss and are unsuccessful in their jump.
As excellent hunters, they have a significant amount of options for prey. So, what do they eat?
What Do Jumping Spiders Eat?
Jumping spiders are primarily carnivorous and have a diet consisting of flies, grasshoppers, mosquitos, moths, wasps, and a variety of other small insects.
Although jumping spiders are predominantly carnivores and their diets mainly consist of insects, some species have been observed consuming nectar and pollen.
One species (Bagheera kiplingi), is primarily vegetarian and mainly consumes nubs from leaf tips called Beltian bodies. This makes up most of their diet but they also consume small amounts of nectar and will occasionally steal an ant larva if they get the chance.
Aside from the few plant-eating exceptions, most jumping spiders will eat insects that are around their size and smaller. If the insects will fit in their mouths so they can release their venom, they will eat the insects.
But some jumping spider species have been known to take down and eat prey slightly bigger than them. Jumping spiders have powerful venom that is capable enough to paralyze prey their size and even larger in certain species.
Regal jumping spiders and some of the other larger species can even take down small reptiles such as baby geckos and iguanas relative to their size.
It is best to leave a jumping spider alone if you happen to see one in your garden because jumping spiders are great at controlling pests that have the potential to wreak havoc on your garden.
Do Jumping Spiders Eat Ants?
Jumping spiders are not particular when it comes to their prey. However, they tend to not eat ants unless there is a great opportunity to do so.
They are opportunistic hunters and will typically eat whatever is available and easy to catch. But ants have defenses that deter jumping spiders more than other types of insects.
Because of this, jumping spiders prefer other insects over ants, but will occasionally eat ants if the right opportunity presents itself.
So, yes they will eat ants but ants are not their prey of choice since ants won’t be taken down easily.
Do Jumping Spiders Eat Earthworms?
However, they will eat other smaller worms that are a better fit for their mouths like mealworms and wax worms.
Do Jumping Spiders Eat Cockroaches?
Jumping spiders do eat cockroaches, but roaches are not a major part of a jumping spider’s diet. The main reason they don’t consume cockroaches more often is due to the size of the roaches.
Most roaches will get too big for jumping spiders to handle and the spiders will be incapable of fitting the roaches in their mouths.
Due to this, they tend to stay away from roaches and prey on insects their own size and smaller, which fits their capabilities better.
Do Jumping Spiders Eat Other Spiders?
Insects aren’t the only thing in a jumping spider’s diet. Jumping spiders also eat other spiders that are of their size and smaller.
How Often Do Jumping Spiders Eat?
Jumping spiders usually eat once every two to three days but adult spiders can go about a week without eating anything and some can even go around a month without eating at all.
Even though some can go a week without eating and others can go even longer, most jumping spiders will not survive more than a week without water.
Spiderlings (baby spiders) usually eat once every day but won’t last more than five days without food and will die even sooner without consuming water.
How Do Jumping Spiders Eat?
As hunters and jumpers with stock and strength, they pounce on their prey from the air by jumping in a sneak attack and injecting venom into their prey which has paralyzing effects.
Depending on their length, they can jump a few inches in the air.
Once they have subdued their prey and the venom has taken effect, they suck the liquid or blood from their prey until they are sucked dry.
Then, they rinse and repeat doing the same thing every time because it works for them.
However, some older jumping spiders will also find dead insects to eat if they happen upon one because as jumping spiders get older, they aren’t as good at hunting as they were in their younger days.
I say that like they live a long time when most only live between six months and two years. 🙂
What To Feed a Pet Jumping Spider?
The diet of a pet jumping spider isn’t much different than that of a wild jumping spider. You can feed them small insects that are readily available for purchase like crickets, mealworms, and small roaches.
You can also catch prey to feed to your pet jumping spider if you don’t want the hassle of going to the store. Jumping spiders will eat any insect they can fit in their mouths, but try to stay away from ants because of their defense mechanisms.
Pet jumping spiders need to eat every few days or more often if they are younger.
As with the wild ones, pet jumping spiders will need to consume water more often and it is best to mist their cage or whatever you keep them in every day or at least every few days.
This can be done with any bottle that has a knob that allows you to mist. If you don’t have one, they can be purchased at most general stores for a few bucks.
You don’t need a special dish or anything, just misting the cage will be good enough for them and they can get the water they need.
Pet Jumping Spider Not Eating?
If you’re pet jumping spider isn’t eating, you can try some things to see if it will make a difference.
- Try giving your spider a different option as a meal that might be less intimidating
- Ensure there is sufficient light where you keep your pet (if it’s too dark, your spider may not eat)
- Ensure the temperature in the room where you keep your pet spider is sufficient (between 26-30 degrees Celsius or 78-86 degrees Fahrenheit)
If you have a juvenile jumping spider that isn’t eating, it may be getting ready to molt. Most jumping spiders molt five to six times before they reach adulthood.
As you have read, jumping spiders will eat anything that they can catch and fit in their mouths that won’t kill them.
They subdue their prey by pouncing on them and releasing venom that paralyzes their victims. Then they suck the liquids out before repeating the process again with their next victim.
Pet jumping spiders eat the same type of insects as wild jumping spiders, including crickets, grasshoppers, mealworms, and flies.
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