One morning i got into my tub to take a shower, i didnt check it this time and didnt notice a cellar spider that was in it (its pretty common for them to be in there i take them out all the time) and started showering. After a few seconds i noticed it floating in the water and hurried to get it out. I got it out and at first it seemed like it was alive, its legs were holding onto my finger but it wasnt moving at all. When i managed to get it onto a dry surface it just curled up and it looked like it died. I left it on the washing machine, saddened by the fact i just killed it, and finished up my shower. I forgot to take it away and left it on the washing machine. I remembered after a few hours that i left it there and when i went to check on it, it was gone. Nobody was in the bathroom except me during this time so i think it literally got up and left. Or some other bug carried it away but i highly doubt it.

So my question is did the spider actually survive? And is that even possible? It was floating in running water.

  • $\begingroup$ "...did the spider actually survive? And is that even possible?" Absolutely (unless someone else removed it, it's the only explanation possible.) Drowning a spider takes more than a few seconds, and it probably looked dead because it was weak/exhausted. It's nice that your response was to save it; it worked. :) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11 at 0:12
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah thank God I managed to do it hehe. $\endgroup$
    – Niksonrex
    Commented Jul 11 at 12:25
  • $\begingroup$ Who would have thought this question would get such a stellar answer? Thanks for asking it. My close vote has been retracted, and TIL. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


The chitin exoskeleton of spiders is hydrophobic. That, coupled with their fine hairs, means water can´t usually get to their lungs/respiratory apparatus, as a layer of air will form around their whole body due to the surface tension of water. If however there are some surfactants breaking the surface tension, like soap or detergent, they can easily drown.

The spider however most likely played dead and just wandered away once she felt safe, or she really was suffering from oxygen deprivation. If so, it takes a while until their system starts functioning again. Drowning would take couple of hours to days.

What is the Best Way to Kill a Spider?
Can Spiders Drown?
Submersion tolerance in a lakeshore population of Pardosa lapidicina (Araneae: Lycosidae)

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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the information! The tub was clean and I didn't use soap yet so it probably did survive. $\endgroup$
    – Niksonrex
    Commented Jul 11 at 12:26
  • $\begingroup$ Hi and Welcome! This answer makes me very happy this site exists. Thank you so very much! (Also, this site requires sources which support the answer. I added those so as to meet that requirements.) $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 11 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ Nitpick: AFAIK spiders don't have lungs, they have spiracles or stigma connected to breathing tubes. $\endgroup$
    – bob1
    Commented Jul 11 at 20:28
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They have structures analogous to lungs, called book lungs, as they look like stacked pages of a book, where hemolymph runs through which increases surface area to blood ratio. $\endgroup$
    – Lukas4235
    Commented Jul 12 at 10:18

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