Do Tarantulas Drink Water? (Ultimate Tarantula Hydration Guide)

Do tarantulas drink water

Every single living creature on earth, from tiny amoeba to giant whales, requires water to survive. Despite this fact, most people have never observed a tarantula drinking water. So, how exactly do tarantulas get their water? Do they drink it out of a water bowl, or do they get it in some other fashion?

This post will detail the topic of pet tarantula hydration and tell you all that you need to know about your tarantula's drinking habits.

Do Tarantulas Drink Water?

In short, yes, tarantulas do need and drink water. In fact, water is way more important than food for these guys! Tarantulas have the ability to go days or weeks without food, especially when they're going through mating season or preparing for a molt.

However, just a few days without water is fatal, so it's absolutely essential that they're given a constant supply of clean water.

Now, while these creatures get their water from normal drinking, they also get it through several other means. It's important that you understand all of the ways that water is beneficial so that you can avoid the dreaded problem of tarantula dehydration.

How Exactly Do Tarantulas ​Drink?

As stated, tarantulas get water from several different sources. The first and most basic way is by actually drinking. Yes, tarantulas lean into their water bowls and sip just like other creatures!

Behind their fangs they have little mouths that will take in small amounts of water when they're thirsty. This isn't done very frequently, but it's been observed time and time again by owners.

Tarantula drinking water

There are also two alternate methods that tarantulas use to get water into their bodies. First of all, they get a very healthy amount of water from the food that they eat!

Crickets, dubia roaches, and other small insects contain a surprising amount of water that works to sustain tarantulas. This is especially prominent with particularly ravenous tarantulas, such as Lasiodora klugi, a tarantula that readily eats anything that's put in front of it.

This is one of the main reasons why tarantulas aren't seen drinking very frequently -- they get their water from their meals!

The final way that tarantulas get their water is through the humidity of their enclosure. A healthy tarantula enclosure will generally sit around 60% - 70% humidity, which results in there being a lot of water in the air.

Since many tarantulas are from tropical regions, this humidity is essential for keeping their epidermis healthy.

If the humidity levels in an enclosure are too low, a tarantula can quickly become dehydrated and die​.

​As you can see, there are many different ways that tarantulas get the water that they need. It's important that you make sure all 3 methods are being utilized so that dehydration is never close to being a problem.

Does My Tarantula Need A Water Bowl?

The topic of tarantula water bowls is highly discussed and argued within the tarantula community. There are many people that don't provide their tarantulas with water bowls, but there are also many people that vehemently stand by the fact that every tarantula needs a water bowl.

So what is the correct answer?

We here at Beyond The Treat, along with many tarantula experts, hold firm in the belief that every tarantula needs a water bowl in their enclosure. The benefits that water bowls bring are simply too important to ignore, and the dangers that result from the lack of a bowl are quite prominent.

Below we'll dispute some of the most common myths and misconceptions about tarantula water bowls.

​Myth: Water bowls are too dangerous for slings

​One of the most common things that you'll hear people say about water bowls is that they should be avoided in a spiderling's enclosure. The reasoning behind this is that water bowls pose a drowning hazard for spiderlings and are essentially the equivalent of leaving a baby unattended in a bathtub.

First and foremost, there is definitely the possibility that a sling can drown in a water bowl. However, the chances of that happening are extremely small.

These baby spiders are covered in small water-repelling hairs, and their bodies are simply too small and light to break the surface tension of the water. They even have the ability to go a significant amount of time without breathing.

So, while a tiny risk is still present, the benefits massively outweigh the dangers. Slings are particularly fragile and are extremely prone to dehydration. Sure, the occasional misting of an enclosure will provide the tarantula with moisture, but that moisture is very short-lived.

It doesn't even compare to the benefits of having a constant water supply in a bowl.

​Myth: ​No water bowls in nature = nothing needed in captivity

You'll sometimes hear tarantula owners stating that tarantulas don't have water bowls in nature, so it isn't necessary to supply them with one in their enclosure. They should be used to surviving without one, right?

That's about as erroneous as stating that dogs don't get two bowls of kibble a day in nature, so you don't need to feed your dog at all.

First of all, in nature, tarantulas have access to streams, lakes, puddles, and rain. There's essentially a never-ending supply of water sources that tarantulas can drink from. In an enclosure, there's no moisture beyond the occasional misting that owners provide.

Without a water bowl, there's way less water available to captive tarantulas.

It should also be noted that wild tarantulas have shorter lifespans because of the fact that they have to seek out nourishment for themselves. With captive tarantulas, they don't have to seek out their next meal or drink of water, so they have a much longer average lifespan.

A well-stocked water bowl will provide the water necessary for a tarantula to live a very long and hydrated life.

​Myth: ​Tarantulas don't use water bowls

​This is a major misconception that can be proven wrong with a quick internet search. There are plenty of videos and pictures showing tarantulas huddled over a water bowl drinking water. That right there disproves this myth.​​​

Even if a tarantula doesn't drink out of a water bowl directly, they still get a lot of use out of their existence. Water bowls help to contribute to the overall humidity of the enclosure, reducing the need for constant and inconsistent misting. So, while you may not observe your tarantula drinking from their water bowl, they'll still benefit from its presence greatly.

​Myth: ​​Why bother when they dirty their water bowls daily?

Most tarantula owners that have supplied water bowls have experienced their tarantulas immediately dirtying the bowl within a day. Whether it be dirt, waste, or webbing, many tarantulas seem to disrespect their water bowls and dirty them within 24 hours.

Since tarantulas can be relatively neat and picky when it comes to their living space, they may see the water bowl as a way to clean instead of a way to stay hydrated.

This can, of course, become frustrating -- causing many owners to swear off using water bowls altogether!

However, maintaining a clean water bowl is a simple act of good animal husbandry. Part of responsible pet ownership is keeping their living space clean and up-to-par no matter what. So, while you may have to clean a water bowl daily, it's something that you as the owner need to do.

Rest assured that your efforts aren't for nothing, though. The presence of constant clean water in your tarantula's enclosure is invaluable to them, even if it seems like they just use it as a toilet.

Maintaining Adequate Humidity

​As stated several times in this post, the humidity of a tarantula's enclosure is extremely important for their hydration. Sure, they drink from their water bowls and get a lot of water from the food that they eat, but they still need a humid environment.

A tarantula in a ​dry enclosure is like plopping you in the middle of the Sahara desert, giving you a couple of water bottles, and expecting you to thrive. Sure, you may stay alive, but your quality of life will be absolutely horrible.

There are several things that you can do to make sure that your tarantula is being kept in a nice, humid enclosure that they absolutely need.

  • ​Know the humidity requirements of your species - ​Every tarantula is native to a specific area, and each of those areas have different climates. Some tarantulas thrive in 60% humidity, while others need a consistent 80%. Knowing the specific needs of your species is the first step in keeping their environment healthy.​​​
  • ​Get the proper humidity-monitoring equipment - ​It simply isn't possible to eyeball your tarantula's enclosure and know that it's at a healthy humidity level. Using a simple, cheap tool like a hygrometer will allow you to keep close tabs on the humidity level of an enclosure. This constant monitoring will allow you to introduce more moisture as needed before it gets too dry.​​​
  • ​Maintain a full and clean water bowl - ​Water bowls have so many perks to tarantulas. Not only will it provide​​​ fresh water for drinking, but it will work to keep an enclosure humid. Many owners opt to overflow their water bowls to allow water to soak into the substrate around it, further contributing to the humidity levels. Make sure to clean the water bowl daily!
  • Mist the substrate as needed - ​One quick and easy piece of maintenance that you can do is occasionally mist the substrate in your tarantula's enclosure. The substrate should always be slightly damp so that it keeps the entire enclosure humid. However, avoid saturating the substrate and creating a swampy environment -- too much water will cause more harm than good!​​​

Tarantula Dehydration

​Dehydration in tarantulas is a very real and serious problem -- acting as one of the leading causes of premature death! There are only a few dangers to captive-held tarantulas, so preventing dehydration will remove many of the problems that your tarantula could run into.

If you follow the steps laid out above, your tarantula should never even come close to becoming dehydrated. However, sometimes accidents happen. Something in your life may come up and prevent you from supplying your tarantula with water for a few days.

If this happens, you'll need to take immediate action in helping to hydrate you tarantula.

How To Cure A Dehydrated Tarantula

​Dehydrated tarantulas all typically show the same symptoms. If any of the symptoms below are recognized, you should act quickly in helping your dehydrated tarantula.

  • Acting lethargic and slow
  • ​A small, shriveled abdomen​​​
  • ​Laying in a semi-death curl​​​

​Fortunately, the process of curing dehydration in a tarantula is fairly simple and quick if it's caught early. All that you'll need is a small eye dropper and some damp paper towels. It's also recommended that you have rubber gloves if your tarantula is a new world and can kick urticating hairs.

​You'll want to very gentle grab your tarantula and place them in your hand. Place one hand on top of the tarantula and slowly flip them over onto their back. Then, take take the eye dropper, fill it with water, and drop a tiny bit of water onto the mouth of the tarantula.

If a tarantula is thirsty, they'll likely suck the drop into their mouth immediately. Continue doing this for about 3-4 drops or until the tarantula stops drinking from the dropper.

Once this is done, turn the tarantula back over onto their stomach and place them on a damp paper towel within a box that they can't escape from. Place a water bowl or a bottle cap full of water next to them, and let them sit for several hours.

After about 10 hours in these conditions, most tarantulas make a full recovery back to their healthy selves.

Note that once your tarantula is cured, find out why they became dehydrated in the first place. If it's because of neglect, make sure that that simply never happens again. If it's because you kept their enclosure at a lower humidity than they needed, pick up a hygrometer and put special care into maintaining proper humidity.

2 thoughts on “Do Tarantulas Drink Water? (Ultimate Tarantula Hydration Guide)”

  1. I have a small spidering tarantula. How can I give him water ? I ask because he has gotten bigger since I found him/her.

    1. The most important aspect is keeping its enclosure slightly damp/humid (but don’t overdo it). As a small sling, it will be able to get most of its water from the air and by drinking from a droplet on a fake leaf or something. I always like to include a water dish with my slings, too. A bottle cap filled with water should work great. Just make sure to clean it regularly as even tiny tarantulas are super messy 🙂

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