Do tarantulas stink? With their massive bodies, there is surely a way that any of your pet tarantula’s orifices will produce that stench. If you noticed that his enclosure is smelling weird lately, you might think that maybe it is just his waste or natural odor. But is the stink really coming from your tarantula?
No, tarantulas do not stink. When their enclosure starts to develop a bad smell, it is due to the feeders inside or poor ventilation. It can also be caused by mold and other infections. So, if your tarantula or his enclosure is starting to smell, it is a matter of proper enclosure maintenance.
So you can calm down now as you know that there is a way to curb and even get rid of that stinky smell. However, you have to keep in mind that whatever it is that is causing the smell, it can be potentially dangerous to your tarantula. So read on to know how you can fix it!
Do Tarantulas Stink?
As we have mentioned earlier, they do not stink. In fact, their natural scent is next to nothing. One might think that through time, they will develop an odor, but frankly, they really do not.
Way Of Life
It all boils down to their physiology and way of life. As they came from jungles or rainforests of Central and South America, the southern part of North America, and Africa, most tarantulas are a tropical species.
Therefore, unlike other spiders who weave webs on higher ground, tarantulas create burrows underground.
They will use their fangs so they can dig a burrow or they will just completely take possession of a deserted burrow. Now you might think, well how about the silk that they produce, does that smell? No, the silk also does not have a bad smell.
The smell of silk produced by your tarantula simply resembles the smell of cotton. They use silk not to trap prey, instead, they use it as some sort of a door to their burrows and as a “motion device” to know when there is prey nearby.
The next question is, maybe their defense mechanism or the way they eat their prey produces some sort of smell. These are also highly unlikely because the way that they attack their prey, as well as their defense mechanism, does not necessarily release some type of smell.
Case in point, when they hunt their prey, they will simply pounce on them and plunge their fangs straight into the prey. Therefore, no chemicals or venom will go flying in the air for you to have a whiff at.
The same goes for their defense mechanism. They have hairs on their stomachs that also have barbs on them. So when they feel threatened, they will rub these hairs with the use of their legs and flings these to the potential predator.
As you can see, this behavior will also not cause any kind of smell. So if your tarantula or his enclosure is starting to smell, it is definitely not because of your tarantula.
So What Are The Causes Of The Bad Smell?
Once you smell the stench from your tarantula’s enclosure, you should immediately check it as the cause may be dangerous to your tarantula. Let us take a look at the different causes.
You can feed your tarantula the following:
- Lateralis roaches
- Dubia roaches
The most popular feeder among the ones we listed is crickets. This is actually expected as they are readily available practically anywhere. They also come in different sizes which can help you customize the way you feed your tarantula.
Also, in the event of an escape, they are not really invasive.
The big disadvantage is that they smell horrible. Alive or dead, their smell will surely make someone hurl. Therefore, they are a huge cause of the bad smell of your tarantula or his enclosure.
You might have left some feeders inside the enclosure that caused the smell. Also, there might be uneaten crickets inside the burrow of your tarantula which is further causing the stench.
The bad smell can also be coming from the substrate in the enclosure. For the substrate of your tarantula you can use any of the following:
- Coco fiber substrate
- Peat moss
- Sphagnum moss
All of which will eventually decay and become unusable. Of course, as you always have to keep the moisture levels at bay in your tarantula’s enclosure, the substrate will be able to absorb waste from feeders, waste from your tarantula, and other organisms present in the enclosure.
The substrate will then start to decay or even rot. As most of them are natural, surely there is no chemical present that can help curb their slow decay. Therefore, the substrate may develop a slight odor.
If the bad smell that you have smells like grassy with a bit of sourness to it, then you might have molds inside the enclosure. Mold can easily develop in your tarantula’s enclosure as it likes dark, warm, and moisture-filled areas (yes, we just described there your T’s enclosure)
A little bit of mold in the enclosure is not actually dangerous to your tarantula, but once it reaches the level that you can finally see and smell it, it is an indication that the mold inside the enclosure is too much for your tarantula’s immune system to handle.
Even if you screen your feeders to a T, there will still be instances where they can bring a disease inside the enclosure which will then be transferred to your tarantula. A sick tarantula can produce such a vile-smelling poop especially if his stomach is irritated.
At the same time, when they regurgitate what they just ate, it also comes with some stomach acid that does not smell so good. Another source of the smell can be due to the fact that your tarantula is injured,
When you did not notice that your T has a deep gash in his body, it might get infected. Most owners found a hormonal-like pimple within the injury that has yellow pus.
When this pus pops through time or through manually popping it, the smell that it emits is, let us just say—garbage-like.
You might have missed some waste when you did your cleaning of the enclosure. As tarantulas love to burrow, they might have hidden a huge pile of poop in an area of the enclosure where it cannot be easily seen.
If you are doing a clean up while your tarantula is still in the enclosure, of course, everything should be finished quickly so as to not stress your tarantula and also reduce the chances of you getting bit.
Therefore, you were not able to go through the substrate and the burrow of your tarantula.
If you checked everything; like there is no mold, there are no uneaten feeders, and your tarantula is generally well. More often than not, there is some poop laying around deep in the substrate or burrow.
If you went through all of the motions to see what is causing the bad smell and you even deep cleaned the enclosure, but after a week, it starts smelling bad, then the culprit is poor ventilation.
A lot of tarantula owners sometimes have to tweak the ventilation system every once in a while to get it right.
The reason for this is that you should preserve as much moisture in the enclosure as possible. At the same time, your tarantula does not really need a lot of air. So, a common mistake is that there are just a few ventilation holes in the enclosure.
If the enclosure is poorly ventilated, there will be no room for the gasses produced inside the enclosure to escape. By gasses, we mean the ones that were produced by the waste, substrate, your tarantula, feeders, and other living things in the enclosure like plants.
As these gasses are just fuming around the enclosure, a bad smell will eventually develop.
What To Do?
Here are some things you can do to remove the bad smell of your tarantula or his enclosure.
Check Your Tarantula
You have to check on your tarantula to see if he or she has an injury. Just to be sure, you should also take him to the vet to see if he has any infections or diseases.
Clean The Enclosure
A quick cleanup should suffice at least once a week. But you should do a deep clean once a month. Make sure that you do not use harsh chemicals that might affect your tarantula, rather use a natural cleaning solution like a mixture of water and vinegar.
You can also opt to use bleach, but make sure to follow instructions in the bottle so as not to endanger your T. This is the time to remove everything from the enclosure, replace the substrate, and deep clean the water bowl.
Provide Proper Ventilation
You have to make sure that the enclosure has proper ventilation. For some, they know that the ventilation is good if the plants inside the enclosure do not die or wilt within a week. Just remember to have enough holes for the gasses to escape.
Change Your Feeder Insects
If you really cannot take the smell of crickets, you can change your feeder insects. Mealworms, Superworms, Lateralis roaches, and Dubia roaches generally do not stink.
It is just that some of them are more readily available in pet and online stores. So choose a feeder that will also work well with how much maintenance you can take.