Do tarantulas poop? And more on spider faeces!

Although you actually know the (basic) answer, you can’t help to search for the whole answer. Tarantulas: do these giant spiders poop? I, at least, have questioned the same. Not only out of pure curiosity but also what to look out for when cleaning the tarantulas’ enclosure. Because to know if your tarantula is healthy, you also need to know something about their pooping habits! So, what’s there to learn about tarantula poo?

Tarantulas do poop just as all animals do, but their poop is a bit different and can be missed if you do not know what to look for. Poop and pee come out of the same opening, just as with birds, and it has a resemblance of bird poop. Healthy tarantula poop looks like white oval-shaped drops.

While it will be no surprise that tarantulas indeed poop (and pee), just like any other animal, we still can much learn about pooping tarantulas.

Tarantula pooping explained: Some facts!

So, now we know that tarantulas poop, what is there more to learn? Although the digestive tract and excrement of tarantulas is not a popular field of research, there are some interesting facts about tarantula excrement.

Tarantula poop looks like bird poop

The excrement of tarantulas is a nicer version of bird poop. With other words, tarantula faeces have the same look of consistency and appearance of that of bird droppings but tends to be more solid.

As is with birds, the tarantulas’ pee and poo are mixed into a single quite solid excrement. They don’t produce faeces and urine as we do but instead produce a uric acid which is a near-solid substance. The uric acid waste is combined and excreted together with solid waste directly from the digestive tract. The uric acid makes the poop colouring whitish. Often you find dark brown/black specks, which is the solid waste directly from the digestive tract.

This way of losing nitrogenous waste keeps precious water inside its body. Tarantulas can’t afford to lose as much water as we mammals do (just like as).

Tarantulas have designated poop spots

Although this all sounds disgusting and dirty, tarantulas are quite neat animals instead. Did you know that tarantulas have designated poop spots?

Yes, that’s right. Cockroaches, stick insects, crickets, locust, beetles, they all drop their poo everywhere, some even practical live in it. Tarantulas don’t poop everywhere. No, instead they meticulously pick spots to drop their poop.

Therefore you often see that within a tarantula enclosure there are only one or two spots where you can find their poop. It is also often the furthest away from their hiding spot or burrows they live in. That makes it quite easy to find the droppings and clean the enclosure.

But it is not only tarantulas that do so, many if not all spiders have particular spots where they drop their poop. They like to keep their homes clean.

Tarantulas love pooping in the water dish

A strange fact is that tarantulas love pooping in the water dish. It is still not known why that is, but many tarantula keepers (including myself) experience that tarantulas prefer to drop it in water.

Be aware that the shape of the poo changes when it is in contact with water. It partly dissolves. If you find small white dots in your water bowl, your tarantula has done its needs. And you know that it is time to clean the water dish (again).

More to know about tarantula poo?

One of the questions that are regularly asked is how often they poo? Well, it is difficult to say because it also depends on how regular they being fed. However, it seems that in general tarantulas poo about 24-36 hours after being fed.

It may be difficult to clearly determine how regular they poo because they often do their “bathroom break” during nighttime, and droppings are not always found.

Pooping silk?

OK, I’m immature: silk-pooping, really? Well, tarantulas are also able to produce silk and make webs, and therefore excrete silk from special organs. So as a matter of fact you can say they poop silk.

Did you know that they have two different silk-producing mechanisms? The one that almost everybody knows is located in the spinnerets, small appendages on the end of the abdomen. All spiders have these organs. But tarantulas have a second one: and that one is located in its feet!

Yes, researches have found that tarantulas can produce silk in each of its eight legs. It is thought that because of its unusual heavyweight, tarantulas have developed these organs to be able to climb (flat) surfaces and still maintain their grip. That is why tarantulas can climb glass rather well. So don’t forget to close your lid!

Does tarantula poop smell?

First of all, what is a nasty smell and not is subjective. So, although some think tarantula poop smells, it does not have a strong odour. But in general, keeping tarantulas doesn’t have much smell at all.

Most nasty odours come from poop and uneaten prey items that lay in the enclosure for too long. The bacteria that will grow on it may produce odours that we don’t like. If you keep the enclosure tidy and clean, you won’t have any smell.

Tarantula cage cleaning

By discovering more about tarantula poo, the way they defecate and about tarantula poop odour, we can also learn more about the cleaning of the enclosure.

  • Normal tarantula poop is whitish oval-shaped bolus.
  • It is meticulously dropped on certain spots. Some tarantulas will poo on the glass of the enclosure. They will keep their hiding place and burrows clean, and often defecate on the opposite side of the enclosure.
  • They also like to poo in their water dish. So regular cleaning of the dish is a necessity.
  • Depending on how much and how frequently you feed your tarantula determines how much and often you find tarantulas poop.
  • However, in general, you can find poo within 24 to 36 hours after feeding them, although they tend to do their needs often at nighttime.
  • Don’t let poop and uneaten prey items in the enclosure for too long when bacteria starts to grow will produce nasty smells.
Want to know more?

Did you enjoy this article? If you like to know more about the care for your tarantula, I can recommend you to read the basic guide on the care for tarantulas.

We also wrote an in-depth article about all the things to know about the substrate for tarantulas. Check out the tarantula substrate guide.

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