Can Tarantulas Be Handled, And If So, How Should It Be Done Safely?

Tarantulas, those fuzzy and sometimes intimidating creatures, have long been a source of fascination and fear for humans. But the question remains: can they be handled? Well, the answer is yes, tarantulas can indeed be handled, but with a few precautions in place. In this article, we will explore the right way to handle tarantulas for those brave enough to give it a try. So, if you’ve ever wondered about the safety and proper techniques for handling these eight-legged wonders, read on to discover all you need to know.

Can Tarantulas Be Handled, And If So, How Should It Be Done Safely?

Understanding Tarantulas

An Overview of Tarantulas

Tarantulas are a fascinating group of spiders that belong to the family Theraphosidae. They are known for their large size and unique characteristics, making them a popular subject of fascination for many people. Tarantulas can be found in various habitats across the world, including jungles, deserts, and even grasslands. With over 900 recognized species, tarantulas exhibit a wide range of colors, behaviors, and sizes.

Tarantula Behavior

To handle a tarantula safely, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of their behavior. Tarantulas are generally solitary creatures, preferring to live alone rather than in groups. They are nocturnal hunters, which means they are most active during the night and spend their days in burrows or hidden spots. Tarantulas rely on their excellent eyesight and sensitive hairs on their bodies to detect prey and predators. It’s important to note that tarantulas are venomous, but their bites are usually not harmful to humans unless you are allergic or the tarantula is a species with potent venom.

Safety Precautions

While many tarantula enthusiasts enjoy handling these fascinating creatures, it’s essential to take appropriate safety precautions. Tarantulas should only be handled by experienced individuals who have the necessary knowledge and understanding of the species they are handling. It’s crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of both the handler and the tarantula. Here are some factors to consider before handling tarantulas:

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Factors to Consider Before Handling

Tarantula Species

Each tarantula species has its own unique characteristics and behaviors. Some species are docile and more tolerant of handling, while others are defensive and may be more prone to biting. It’s important to research the specific species you are interested in handling and understand its temperament before attempting to handle it. Ensuring that you are familiar with the particular species’ temperament will help minimize any potential risks and ensure a safer handling experience.

Size and Age of the Tarantula

Size and age are significant factors to consider when handling tarantulas. Larger tarantulas tend to have more potent bites and can be more challenging to handle due to their size and strength. Additionally, younger tarantulas are often more skittish and prone to defensive behavior. It is generally recommended to start with smaller, more docile species when first gaining experience in handling tarantulas.

Health of the Tarantula

Before considering handling a tarantula, it’s crucial to assess its overall health and well-being. A healthy tarantula will exhibit normal behavior, have a good appetite, and appear physically fit. Any signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or abnormal behavior, should be addressed before attempting to handle the tarantula. Handling a sick or stressed tarantula can be detrimental to its health and can increase the risk of defensive behavior.

Preparing for Handling

Creating a Suitable Environment

Before handling a tarantula, it’s important to provide a suitable environment for both the handler and the spider. Ensure that the tarantula’s enclosure is secure and cannot be easily escaped from. Remove any potential hazards or obstacles from the area to prevent accidents during handling. Creating a calm and quiet environment will help minimize stress for the tarantula and improve the overall handling experience.

Washing Hands and Wearing Protective Gear

Maintaining proper hygiene is essential when handling tarantulas. Before handling, it is crucial to thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water to remove any potential contaminants that could be harmful to the tarantula. It is also recommended to wear protective gear, such as gloves, to minimize the risk of accidental bites or injuries during handling. Gloves made of a material that allows for sensitivity and grip are preferable to avoid any mishandling.

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Using Proper Handling Equipment

Using the right equipment is essential for the safe handling of tarantulas. Specialized tools, such as long-handled paintbrushes or soft bristle brushes, can be used to gently guide and coax the tarantula onto a suitable surface for handling. These tools help maintain a safe distance between the tarantula and the handler and prevent accidental bites. It’s crucial to avoid using bare hands to handle tarantulas, as this increases the risk of injury to both the handler and the tarantula.

Proper Handling Techniques

Approaching the Tarantula

When approaching a tarantula for handling, it’s crucial to approach slowly and calmly. Quick or sudden movements can startle the tarantula, leading to a defensive reaction. Approach the tarantula from the side or rear, avoiding any direct frontal approach. It’s important to give the tarantula space and time to assess your presence and become comfortable with your proximity.

Gentle Directed Movements

During handling, it’s important to make gentle and deliberate movements. Gently coax the tarantula onto a suitable handling surface, such as a clean and smooth container or your hand, if you have experience and are confident. Avoid any jerky or sudden movements that may startle or agitate the tarantula. Slow and controlled movements help maintain a sense of security for the tarantula and minimize the risk of defensive reactions.

Avoiding Rapid Movements

While handling a tarantula, it’s crucial to avoid any sudden or rapid movements. These movements can trigger the tarantula’s instinctual defensive mechanisms, potentially leading to a bite or causing unnecessary stress to the spider. Maintaining a calm and composed demeanor is essential for a successful and safe handling experience.

Avoiding Sudden Loud Noises

Tarantulas are sensitive to vibrations and loud noises, which can startle them and trigger defensive behaviors. To ensure a positive handling experience, it’s crucial to avoid sudden loud noises or disturbances in the environment where the tarantula is being handled. A calm and quiet environment is ideal for both the tarantula’s comfort and the handler’s safety.

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Can Tarantulas Be Handled, And If So, How Should It Be Done Safely?

Do’s and Don’ts of Tarantula Handling


  • Do conduct thorough research on the particular species of tarantula you plan to handle.
  • Do build experience by starting with smaller and more docile species.
  • Do approach the tarantula slowly and calmly from the side or rear.
  • Do make gentle and deliberate movements during handling.
  • Do provide a calm and quiet environment for the tarantula.


  • Don’t handle a tarantula if you are inexperienced or unfamiliar with its specific behavior.
  • Don’t handle a tarantula that is showing signs of stress, illness, or aggression.
  • Don’t make sudden or rapid movements that may startle the tarantula.
  • Don’t handle a tarantula without proper protective gear, such as gloves.
  • Don’t handle a tarantula if you are allergic to spider venom or have any medical conditions that may put you at risk.

What to Do If Bitten

Remaining Calm

In the event of a tarantula bite, it’s important to remain calm. Panicking can worsen the situation and increase your heart rate, potentially spreading the venom more quickly through your body. Remember that tarantula bites are rarely harmful to humans unless you are allergic or the tarantula is a species with potent venom.

Seeking Medical Attention

While tarantula bites are generally not dangerous, it is still advisable to seek medical attention after being bitten. A healthcare professional will be able to assess the bite and provide appropriate treatment if necessary. If you experience any severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, or severe pain, seek immediate medical attention.

Can Tarantulas Be Handled, And If So, How Should It Be Done Safely?


Tarantulas are fascinating creatures that can be appreciated from a distance. While some individuals choose to handle tarantulas, it is crucial to prioritize safety and the well-being of both the handler and the tarantula. By understanding the behavior of tarantulas, taking necessary precautions, and following proper handling techniques, it is possible to have a safe and enjoyable experience with these incredible spiders. However, it is essential to remember that not all tarantulas are suitable for handling, and respecting their natural habitats is of utmost importance. It’s always best to appreciate tarantulas from a distance and admire their beauty and fascinating behaviors in their natural environment.