There are many opposing viewpoints on the topic of giving a water dish to pet tarantulas, which can create confusion for new people entering the hobby. If you’re wondering whether or not a tarantula will drink out of a water dish, then the answer is a resounding yes!
Tarantulas of all ages and species will readily drink out of a water dish if you provide it for them. They do not require a sponge to drink out of a dish safely, and they will not drown. A thirsty spider will find the water dish, regardless of where you put it in the cage.
Why should I give a tarantula a water dish?
Providing a water dish will prevent accidental dehydration. Tarantulas can suffer from molting issues when they aren’t able to obtain enough internal hydration leading up to the molt.
Instead of misting, adding a water dish is a better way to increase humidity in an enclosure if it is necessary.
That being said, there are many species that can be kept on dry substrate if they have constant access to fresh water. Check out a tarantula forum to read real keeper’s experiences instead of following a care sheet that tells you any species has exact humidity requirements.
Will an arboreal tarantula find a water dish on the floor?
Arboreal tarantulas have no problem finding a water dish that is placed on the substrate. A thirsty spider will readily come down to drink on the cage floor.
I’ve seen it many times with my own tarantulas, both young and mature. The only reason that I sometimes use elevated water dishes for my arboreal species is because it is more convenient for me.
How do you water an arboreal tarantula in a tall top opening enclosure?
One of my favorite ways to provide water to my arboreal T’s is to use the magnetic feeding ledges meant for crested geckos. The ledges have removable cups that can be washed or replaced as necessary, and they do a great job of keeping the water easily accessible to me during maintenance.
I only bother with magnetic ledges when I’m keeping the tarantula in an enclosure that opens from the top, though, because I don’t like having to reach my entire forearm into a tank for maintenance. I put the bowl on the substrate when I use front opening cages.
My arboreal T’s still foul a raised water dish just as regularly as they do when I put it on the substrate. The position doesn’t seem to make any different when it comes to poop and food boluses.
If you are going to try using a magnetic ledge, then it’s important to make sure that you pick out a model that uses removable cups or one of the cup-in-a-cup systems. Otherwise, there will be a buildup of bacteria that may be harmful to your tarantula.
Although arboreal tarantulas are not known for covering their dishes with substrate, they will still foul it often by dropping a bolus in the water or spraying poop in the general direction of the ledge. This is where the removable cup-in-a-cup system comes in handy.
Sometimes, I will make my own magnetic water dishes using bottle caps or tattoo ink cups for my smaller spiders. It keeps the water easy to fill, and the arboreal slings seem to like using them as an added anchor point for webbing.
Do tarantulas need a sponge in their water dish?
Tarantulas do not require a sponge in their water dish. This is completely unnecessary, and potentially harmful to the spider.
Adding a sponge is a poor husbandry practice and should be avoided even though you may encounter pet stores advocating for it. Sponges have many crevices that will harbor bacteria.
Do tarantulas drown in water dishes?
Juvenile and adult tarantulas will not drown in a water dish. Don’t let that myth prevent you from offering a fresh source of water to your spiders.
Slings are also highly unlikely to have any issues with a dish. I provide one for all my babies as long as they have room in their container.
What do you do if a water dish won’t fit in the tarantula cage?
I use a clump of sphagnum moss in lieu of a water dish in sling containers that are really small.
Sphagnum moss misted with water still provides the babies with an opportunity to drink. As soon as they move into a larger container, I make sure they get a water dish, though.
I don’t have an issue with bowls not fitting into larger tarantula cages. If the ceramic dishes that I like to use won’t fit, then I search for a bottle cap or jar lid that is the perfect size.
Is there a way to stop a tarantula from dumping its water bowl?
If you’re having trouble with a spider constantly turning a bowl over, then consider finding one that has more weight to it.
However, this won’t stop a determined tarantula from covering the dish with excavated substrate, completely webbing over it, or fouling it with a bolus.
Unfortunately, those are just unavoidable aspects of providing water dishes to spiders. You will have to clean them and replace the water pretty often. Don’t try to glue the bowl in place in an effort to prevent the tarantula from overturning it or incorporating it into its web. This will only make maintenance much harder than it needs to be, because you will need to remove the bowl to clean it.
Final Thoughts on Tarantulas Drinking Out of Water Bowls
Tarantulas do willingly drink out of a water dish, and for this reason, I offer them to most of my collection. Although you can keep tarantulas without water dishes, it’s easier to make sure no one is getting dehydrated by keeping a regular source of water available. That being said, if you offer a small bowl or water bottle cap to a tarantula the likelihood of it getting flipped, buried under substrate, or filled with disgusting things (like cricket boluses) are high – so just be prepared to clean and replace them as necessary.