Do Tarantulas Stink?

Tarantulas may have an intimidating rep, but they’re actually very clean animals. Tarantulas regularly clear out their burrows and webbing of old exuviae and food debris without assistance from humans, leaving their burrows tidy and their webbing uncluttered with any old leaves, particles or food remains.

Tarantulas can be easily handled, without stress. To prevent unpleasant odors from arising in its enclosure.


Maintain a clean tarantula enclosure by regularly removing dead feeders, food boluses and any debris; your spider’s cage should not smell. However, failure to keep substrate dry or too much humidity in its enclosure could result in unpleasant odors; to minimize this risk ensure adequate ventilation in its cage and possibly use a dehumidifier to lower humidity.

One of the primary sources of tarantula odor is their waste products. While they eat, tarantulas excrete a mixture of uric acid and solid waste from digestion in order to maintain internal moisture balance which is important for many metabolic functions. Their waste often appears as white pills or smears on walls of enclosures or water dishes and sometimes it even sprays outward.

Another source of smelly tarantula cages could be disturbance of its webbing. Although taking down webbing may help keep its enclosure cleaner, doing so is very stressful for spiders like Avicularia that produce dense webs; doing this also has the added effect of release urticating setae that are painful irritants for humans and should be avoided altogether.

When threatened, tarantulas often respond by shaking their bodies and flicking their legs to release a spray of urticating setae that can sting or irritate skin, and trigger asthma attacks in people with respiratory conditions or even cause anaphylactic shock in some instances.

Tarantulas typically only release their setae when attacked directly by predators; nonetheless, it’s wise not to touch any tarantulas in their enclosures due to their natural defence mechanisms of speed, hiding, and biting as last resorts. If necessary, only handle one when completely calm under an experienced keeper’s care.

Water Dish

One of the biggest mistakes tarantula owners make is not providing their pet with enough water, leading to problems such as damp substrate, mold and bacteria growth. Tarantula enclosures should have an appropriate-sized water dish designed for their species that doesn’t tip over easily and features a ledge for crickets to climb upon; regularly changing this will also increase humidity in their cage and help their breathing!

Your tarantula’s habitat should also be clear of old food dishes and any debris. This includes any leftover food boluses after your spider has devoured feeder insects; typically small, almost circular objects in brown or white hues that form from digested exoskeletons can attract mites if left there too long.

Another common tarantula problem involves their waste, which can be difficult to spot as it usually appears as tiny white dots on the sides of their enclosure glass. Arboreal species in particular often poop while foraging through trees – this problem becomes especially evident without substrate to absorb this poop before drying on the sides of their cages.

Cleaning a tarantula’s cage requires using only animal-safe cleaners as many pet store options can be highly toxic to them. Wearing safety goggles and face mask is wise when working in its vicinity as New World tarantulas tend to possess irritating hairs which could potentially irritate skin or eyes when in contact.

Before beginning maintenance on their habitat, it’s best to wait until your tarantula has returned to their burrow or web hammock before beginning any maintenance work on it. This will prevent unnecessary stress and agitation for them. If any necessary removal occurs during cleaning procedures, place them into a catch cup until you can safely handle them.

Cage Cleaning

Tarantulas make an attractive exotic pet because they’re relatively simple to keep clean. No heat lamp or humidifier are required like many reptiles and amphibians do; live insects such as crickets and mealworms can be fed regularly as food sources; plus their behavior tends to be less skittish than many other exotic pets. In terms of maintenance requirements, tarantulas don’t generate too much waste so only need cleaning on a weekly basis (or more often during molting).

Spot cleaning is the optimal method of care, in which any soiled bedding from the enclosure is removed, then the substrate cleaned using a solution of 3% bleach diluted in water or vinegar. You may also wish to disinfect decorations and supplies using mild disinfectants like hydrogen peroxide or pet-safe cleaning products in order to avoid build-ups of bacteria which could make your tarantula sick and make their stay uncomfortable. This may help avoid future illness issues that might otherwise develop as bacteria grows in their enclosure, potentially making their lives uncomfortable or even dangerously sick!

As part of an effective maintenance routine for tarantula enclosures, it’s wise to regularly refresh its water dish by filling and then washing with hot soapy water. This helps avoid bacteria or mold growth in its enclosure – so keeping track of when these tasks need doing is helpful to staying on schedule with the task at hand. It may help keeping track of when these tasks need doing! Keeping a log can also be useful so you don’t forget.

While you are cleaning, be sure to remove all food debris from the enclosure. Reusing old substrate may contain bacteria and fungus which could infiltrate new bedding for your tarantula. Also avoid touching its “furniture” with your hands as this will likely stress him out; potentially leading him to flick his hairs at you or even bite.

After you’ve done some spot cleaning of your tarantula’s habitat and restored its appearance, place him back inside slowly and carefully. Be mindful not to cause him any distress by running away or flailing his legs about – once inside safely in his new enclosure, leave him alone for at least three to four days so he can explore and become comfortable again.


Your tarantula enclosure must be properly ventilated to minimize mold growth, bacterial infections and decayed prey items decaying inside, all common issues for tarantulas kept in humid or poorly ventilated environments. Should this become an issue for your enclosure, its smell could increase dramatically and it will likely begin to smell over time.

Tarantulas can be rather smelly creatures, especially during their shedding or molting cycles. At these points, their digestive tract excretes wastes that contain both uric acid and food solids from digestion that help preserve internal moisture during this crucial shedding period for spiders. You might see white dots or pill shapes appearing around their cage or substrate walls, or perhaps in their water dish if used by your spider.

When the spider enters this phase, it may seem disinterested and listless in its environment, with some even lying flat with legs curled like dead. Although this can be alarming to new owners, this behavior is entirely normal and healthy – they will shed their old exoskeleton eventually and form new ones!

While a tarantula is in the process of shedding, it should not be handled or fed as this could cause its fragile new exoskeleton to get stuck and cause it to die. Regular enclosure cleaning should include spot cleaning any waste as well as changing out its water dish which often contains old food boluses and old molts that cause unpleasant odors within its enclosure.

Tarantula enclosures should also be kept at an ideal humidity level to minimize sweating, which in turn will decrease odorous release from their bodies.

Some tarantula owners might feed their spider stink bugs (Encosternum delegorguei Spinola) to supplement their tarantulas’ diets, however it should be noted that these insects lack many of the essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals required by tarantulas as food sources. Furthermore, some stink bug species produce chemicals as part of their defense mechanism which could harm tarantulas if eaten; it’s therefore wiser to offer your tarantula multiple feeder insects over just spider stink bug food sources alone.