Many species of tarantulas appreciate a humid enclosure and getting the humidity right is important to keep them happy. One of the best and most common ways to do this is by misting the enclosure. However, not all tarantulas appreciate the humidity provided by misting!
Misting the enclosure isn’t needed for all tarantulas but those that come from regions of high humidity will appreciate it. Adding a bit of extra moisture to the enclosure is much easier with misting and it removes the risk of flooding the burrow.
Knowing what misting is and why it’s good for your tarantula is essential. However, knowing when not to mist your tarantula’s enclosure is just as important! Getting it wrong can be dangerous to your tarantula so we’ve created this guide to help keep you and your tarantula happy.
What is Misting
When tarantula keepers talk about misting, they’re referring to spraying the enclosure with water from a fine spray water bottle. While any spray bottle would work, a fine bottle provides you with better control over how much water is sprayed in one area. Plus a fine water bottle matches the description of “misting” much better.
To “mist” the enclosure, you just need to spray the water spray bottle around the enclosure. How much you spray depends on the species of tarantula and the current humidity levels of their enclosure. Misting adds some extra water to the enclosure which raises the humidity level inside the tank to help ensure the tarantula doesn’t dry out.
However, some species of tarantula don’t need high humidity and come from regions with very low levels of humidity.
Is Misting Necessary for all Tarantulas?
Misting is not necessary for all tarantulas. Not all tarantulas benefit from added humidity and depending on your region, it could make the enclosure too humid for them.
Desert species require less humidity than jungle species and making their enclosure too humid can cause problems for them. Too much water and humidity in the enclosure will increase the chance of mold developing inside the enclosure. In addition to this, the tarantula becomes at risk of a fungal infection which can be very difficult to treat.
Tarantula species who come from jungle regions and places with higher humidity do need a little extra humidity in their enclosure. For those species, it’s good to mist their enclosure on a semi-regular basis to ensure the environment doesn’t become too dry for them. However, it’s important to not make the enclosure too humid to limit the mold risk.
For some species, just a water bowl is more than enough. The water will evaporate over time which raises the humidity of the enclosure without needing additional misting.
Should you directly Mist your Tarantula?
Tarantulas are very sensitive animals. Their bodies are covered in sensitive hair due to them not having great eyesight. These hairs detect changes in their environment such as vibrations which tell them if there’s potential food or a predator nearby.
Spraying water on the tarantula and their sensitive hairs are stressful for them. Misting them directly is a bad idea and not needed. Misting their enclosure from time to time can be good for them but misting them directly is stressful. Stressing your tarantula when it’s not needed can harm their health, eating pattern, normal behavior, and molting behaviors too.
How to Increase Humidity without Misting
Not all tarantulas require misting or regular misting for extra humidity. If you live in a region that doesn’t have high humidity levels then there are other ways to increase the humidity levels inside their enclosure. Some keepers dislike misting to avoid adding too much water to the enclosure which might put the tarantula at risk of mold.
While these alternative methods can also increase the risk of mold, the risk is generally lower than over-misting
1. Water Bowl
The water in your tarantula’s water bowl will evaporate over time. This will increase the humidity levels inside their enclosure without adding additional water to the enclosure. When the temperatures are high, the water will evaporate faster and lead to higher humidity levels. This is important to remember depending on the species of tarantula you have and their general humidity requirements. Especially desert species!
2. Water Dropper
Spiderlings only need a small enclosure and at that size, a water bowl can be hard to come by. Some keepers prefer to use a water dropper to regularly squirt water down one side of their enclosure which comes with the added benefit of extra humidity. The Sling will drink some of this water and the rest will regularly evaporate then condensation will happen to turn it back into the water. This process increases humidity levels.
3. Absorbent substrate
Using a more absorbent substrate mix is a good idea for tarantula species that require high humidity levels. This kind of substrate can naturally hold more water. It then increases the overall humidity levels in the enclosure. It’s important to not add too much water to avoid flooding the enclosure!
Adding more absorbent substrate can be more at risk of molding. However, it also means you rarely need to mist the enclosure or add additional moisture after setting up the enclosure.
4. Add Moss
Moss is naturally water absorbent and is often a natural source of drinking water for different invertebrates including some tarantulas. Not all species of tarantulas benefit from having moss in their enclosure but those from forested areas may appreciate the addition. Soaking the moss first ensures it’s full of water which will evaporate over time and increase the internal humidity levels of the enclosure.
Misting the moss once it becomes dry will ensure the humidity levels stay up and give your tarantula an alternative water source.
Dangers of Misting Tarantula Enclosure
It can be dangerous to mist a tarantula enclosure, especially if you’re a bit too ‘generous’ with the misting!
Too much humidity leads to a higher risk of fungus and mold outbreaks which means you’ll need to rehouse your tarantula sooner or it might put their health at risk. A fungal infection is a serious problem for your tarantula and can be very difficult to treat which makes them likely to be lethal for your tarantula.
While fungus is bad, mites love high humidity and will rapidly breed when the conditions for them are right. This can also cause problems for your tarantula if they breed out of control and dealing with this problem is very difficult. The best way to deal with mites is to work on preventative treatments instead.
Do Tarantulas Dehydrate without Misting?
Tarantulas will not die without misting and they will not dehydrate without it either. They get plenty of moisture from their water dish and their food as well. Many spiders and tarantulas get the majority of the water they need through their food. Desert species in particular rarely have the chance to drink water which means they rely on eating to get moisture.
Most tarantula species don’t require misting to meet their humidity requirements. Only a small number of tarantulas need semi-regular misting.
How to Mist a Tarantula Enclosure
While misting isn’t needed, a light spray over the substrate with a fine spray bottle works well for the species that appreciate extra humidity. Never spray the tarantula directly and don’t just pour water into the substrate since this increases the chance of molding. Spraying too much will lead to a higher humidity increase than needed.
A hygrometer isn’t needed for tarantulas but it might be a good idea to have one to guide you if you’re uncertain. Hygrometers measure the humidity levels in the enclosure and let you know if the humidity is too high or too low. For new keepers, they can help you see how misting affects the humidity within the enclosure.
Misting isn’t essential but you might notice it’s more useful at a certain time of the year based on the season and current weather. During especially dry periods, misting can be beneficial for various species of tarantula. A hygrometer can also help you see how the humidity levels naturally change over the year. This lets you make better choices for all your tarantulas.
Most tarantulas might not require misting but some will appreciate the extra humidity. It’s important to not make the enclosure too damp or humid to prevent a mold or mite outbreak which could harm your tarantula There’s usually no harm in the occasional enclosure misting but you need to be mindful of the existing humidity levels in the enclosure and outside of the enclosure too. However, too much misting places your tarantula in danger.