Will tarantulas let you hold them?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Tarantulas are fascinating creatures, and while some people enjoy handling them, it is generally not recommended. Tarantulas do not have the ability to recognize their handlers or form any kind of bond with humans. They view us as potential threats, and their natural instinct is to defend themselves.

One of the main reasons why handling tarantulas is not advisable is the risk of being exposed to their defensive mechanisms. Many tarantulas have specialized hairs on their abdomen called urticating hairs, which they can flick off when they feel threatened. These tiny hairs can cause irritation and allergic reactions if they come into contact with your skin or eyes. Even if you don’t have an allergic reaction, having these hairs in your face or eyes can be very uncomfortable.

Another concern when handling tarantulas is the risk of being bitten. While most tarantulas have relatively mild venom that is not harmful to humans, a bite can still be painful and cause localized swelling. It is important to note that tarantulas bite as a last resort when they feel extremely threatened, so if you handle them gently and with care, the risk of being bitten is significantly reduced. However, there is always a chance of a defensive bite, especially if the tarantula feels trapped or mishandled.

It is worth mentioning that some tarantula species are known to have more docile temperaments and are less likely to bite. However, it’s important to remember that even the most docile tarantula can still bite if it feels threatened. It is always better to err on the side of caution and avoid handling them unless absolutely necessary.

If you are interested in observing and interacting with your tarantula, there are alternative ways to do so without directly handling them. You can create a suitable enclosure with plenty of hiding spots and provide enrichment activities to keep them stimulated. Some tarantulas may even become accustomed to your presence over time and display more relaxed behavior.

While some tarantula enthusiasts may choose to handle their spiders, it is generally not recommended due to the risk of being exposed to urticating hairs and potentially being bitten. Tarantulas are not pets that seek interaction or recognize their handlers. It is important to prioritize their well-being and minimize stress by providing a suitable environment rather than attempting to handle them.