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Handling?

m0lsx

Well-Known Member
Tarantula Club Member
This comes up a reasonable amount. It s certainly not good for a T to be handled, mainly because it puts that at unnecessary risk of harm via a fall. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid handelling a T, as they will at times just climb onto you.

The safest way to handle a T, is not to do it. But if you really want to, then do it over a table, whilst you are seated & do so a few millimetres, not inches above the table. There are 25 millimetres to an inch.
 

Oursapoil

Well-Known Member
Tarantula Club Member
Good morning friend,
It really depends on the Ts you have and what you are comfortable with.
I handle a few of my tarantulas and so does my 9 years old son. This said, the handling is mostly for educational purpose and we try to minimize the frequency as much as possible.
In general, the least you'll handle your Ts the better it is. If you are planning on doing so, please consider wearing gloves as most new world Ts have urticating hair (setae). Do is at close to the ground as possible and it is always a plus to put a cushy towel under you as some Ts are jumpy and you wouldn't want any to be armed by a fall.
Hoping this helps, have a great day.
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shatteredpast7

Active Member
This comes up a reasonable amount. It s certainly not good for a T to be handled, mainly because it puts that at unnecessary risk of harm via a fall. Sometimes it is not possible to avoid handelling a T, as they will at times just climb onto you.

The safest way to handle a T, is not to do it. But if you really want to, then do it over a table, whilst you are seated & do so a few millimetres, not inches above the table. There are 25 millimetres to an inch.
I was wondering because she does like to try to crawl onto me. Because of this whenever i open her enclosure I do it on the floor and always keep her close to the floor so that falling is not an option. She seems to really like to crawl on me but i always hear that it stresses them out but she doesn't seem stressed, she seems to enjoy it?
 

Aracnoenthusiast

Well-Known Member
Its generally frowned on because of the risk. The t could fall, it could bolt, a hasty catch cup maneuver could hurt the t, as well as the bite risk and hairs. So in my opinion it is best not to. If you choose to however, the other members have given great advice for how to do it.
 

m0lsx

Well-Known Member
Tarantula Club Member
i always hear that it stresses them out but she doesn't seem stressed, she seems to enjoy it?

To intentionally pick up a T can stress them if they are not happy with it. due to them not wanting it. But they do not recognise us, or know what a human is, or get stressed by happily walking onto us. To some T's we are just a climbing opportunity. An opportunity for a walk. So if a T climbs onto me, I never think I'll stress it out. But it falling off me, that is a risk & that I do consider.

Look around these pages & you will find lots of comments about not giving terrestrial or fossorial T's too much height in their enclosure above the substrate, as if they climb & fall. Then they could realistically hurt themselves. We are no different to their enclosure & once on us, we sometimes cannot easily stop them climbing higher, or moving at speed if that is what they chose to do. I have had a large sling do a runner from it's container up my arm, over my shoulder & down my back at speed. I had to carefully remove my shirt to retrieve it. I have also had to sit very still & spend several worrying moments carefully looking around. After a large sling did a runner from it's container at speed. Fall off the table & hopefully into my lap. Neither slings were harmed & both incidents occurred when I was feeding. Accidents happen, so I try not to put my T's in positions where they are more likely to happen.
 

Gizalba

Well-Known Member
They are so fragile, I have heard that for an adult sized terrestrial their abdomen is like a water-balloon in how easy it is to rupture with a fall. The only T. I have held is indeed my A. chalchodes, as I believe yours is. She is the only one of mine who has expressed any desire to crawl on me. I don't do it often but do the same as you when opening up the enclosure completely, i.e. open it on the floor, as she does like to try to crawl out. I try not to encourage it as I want to make sure she gets comfortable in her house and knows that is home. However I have let her out every now and again for a ten minute walk, as I also don't want her to feel trapped if she wants to explore. I have encouraged her not to climb onto me, to keep her exploration safer, so I actually lay my fake christmas tree on its' side for her to crawl on. I might also try laying down cork bark for that purpose.

I would worry if I used a table, that she could fall from the table, so instead I do put soft blankets down on the floor or a duvet over a wide area for if she starts to wander off. Even though she is usually a slow tarantula, she can move fast with just the slightest startle if I move my body slightly, so that can get dangerous. If she crawls onto my body, she can quickly get onto my back (my hands are small so it's hard to keep her on my hands). It is hard to feel her once she's on my back; despite her size she is so light, so I get terrified of moving and squashing her. I have therefore ended up like curled in a ball for ages waiting until I see her somewhere to know she's off and that I can move (but then I end up with her heading for the wall which she likes to try to climb!) Despite being terrestrial she does seem to want to go up, which is again dangerous, so if she goes near the wall I put a large catch cup in front of her direction of walking and luckily she usually walks into that so I can transfer her safely back to her enclosure. I have started carefully laying on my back if she gets onto my knees, so that if she goes on my body she isn't going to fall anywhere.

I know some people will disapprove of me mentioning the above, but I am saying it just to detail some things that may happen/get out of control, to be aware of if you do handle.
 

WolfSpider

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
I was wondering because she does like to try to crawl onto me. Because of this whenever i open her enclosure I do it on the floor and always keep her close to the floor so that falling is not an option. She seems to really like to crawl on me but i always hear that it stresses them out but she doesn't seem stressed, she seems to enjoy it?
Under those circumstances, handling in my opinion is OK.
 

timc

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
Tarantulas don’t “enjoy” anything. It’s literally beyond their mental capacity. Generally what you’re seeing while they’re being handled is “there’s no spider here” (being still), “”I’m not really digging this, so I’m just going to stroll away” (walking) or “This sucks, I’m out of here” (on your shoulder before you know it). These are over personified reactions of theirs, but the common thread in all of them is they don’t “enjoy” it. Wild animals like tarantulas want only to survive, and you are a threat to that, and they will not learn otherwise.
 

shatteredpast7

Active Member
Tarantulas don’t “enjoy” anything. It’s literally beyond their mental capacity. Generally what you’re seeing while they’re being handled is “there’s no spider here” (being still), “”I’m not really digging this, so I’m just going to stroll away” (walking) or “This sucks, I’m out of here” (on your shoulder before you know it). These are over personified reactions of theirs, but the common thread in all of them is they don’t “enjoy” it. Wild animals like tarantulas want only to survive, and you are a threat to that, and they will not learn otherwise.
While i understand what you are saying, this was still sad to read. I'd like to think there are little things they enjoy even if it isn't being handled. Maybe a tarantula enjoys only roaches and won't touch any other food. Im not arguing with you and you make a good point, all in all it isnt worth the risk. But let loose, its ok to look at tarantulas in other way than just seriously and scientific. To each his own. Thank you for your reply ️✌️
 

shatteredpast7

Active Member
Not worth the risks, imo.

We are guardians of these great creatures and by taking responsibility for their care we are bound to keep them safe, free from risk and harm.
The lady who sold her to me was telling me about all her T's and how she handles them like everyday. I straight up told her, "you should not be doing that". I felt like she had no idea what she was talking about and I am a beginner.....
 

Gizalba

Well-Known Member
Tarantulas don’t “enjoy” anything. It’s literally beyond their mental capacity. Generally what you’re seeing while they’re being handled is “there’s no spider here” (being still), “”I’m not really digging this, so I’m just going to stroll away” (walking) or “This sucks, I’m out of here” (on your shoulder before you know it). These are over personified reactions of theirs, but the common thread in all of them is they don’t “enjoy” it. Wild animals like tarantulas want only to survive, and you are a threat to that, and they will not learn otherwise.

I don't feel we can say tarantulas don't 'enjoy' anything, any more that we can say that they do enjoy something. At risk of this turning into a philosophical debate :p No we cannot imagine being a tarantula so the only language we have is our own, to try to 'wonder' what it is like. But humans have long underestimated non-human animals, so I like to keep an open mind with it. As shatteredpast7 mentioned, tarantulas can at least show preferences, so to me that is enough to say he/she e.g. 'likes' one food and not another. We once thought apes and birds were stupid haha, and yet now scientists are looking into whether some birds have memory for different 'time' periods and can plan for future meals even when they are not currently hungry > (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature05575). We are learning more about animals all the time, with increasing speed with new research methods, so seeing as tarantulas are only really just beginning to be studied, I feel like we probably have a lot to learn about how they experience things. Just my opinion.
 

octanejunkie

Well-Known Member
1,000+ Post Club
3 Year Member
Tarantula Club Member
I don't feel we can say tarantulas don't 'enjoy' anything, any more that we can say that they do enjoy something. At risk of this turning into a philosophical debate :p No we cannot imagine being a tarantula so the only language we have is our own, to try to 'wonder' what it is like. But humans have long underestimated non-human animals, so I like to keep an open mind with it. As shatteredpast7 mentioned, tarantulas can at least show preferences, so to me that is enough to say he/she e.g. 'likes' one food and not another. We once thought apes and birds were stupid haha, and yet now scientists are looking into whether some birds have memory for different 'time' periods and can plan for future meals even when they are not currently hungry > (https://www.nature.com/articles/nature05575). We are learning more about animals all the time, with increasing speed with new research methods, so seeing as tarantulas are only really just beginning to be studied, I feel like we probably have a lot to learn about how they experience things. Just my opinion.
I agree with you to an extent.

To short cut the conversation, they have simple brains with programming for basic survival, we call it instinct. They can express aspects of their programming on an individualized basis (some passive, some defensive of the same species) and they can definitely express preferences, like how my GBB prefers to sit under a heat lamp when it's cold, self-regulating her distance from the heat source.

If they can express what we know as happy is unknown, but we do know that they can be both "comfortable" and uncomfortable with some experiences and interactions based on our perception of their actions and reactions.

We convince ourselves to interpret their actions and reactions based our needs or desires, but what we can quantify well is quality of their life in our care as expressed by their longevity in captivity. Maybe them living to 20+ years in a box in your home is their happy. Tarantulas in the wild have to endure far more risk than they do in your home if you do your part. Handling is a risk.

In short, do as you please with your Ts.
 

timc

Well-Known Member
3 Year Member
While i understand what you are saying, this was still sad to read. I'd like to think there are little things they enjoy even if it isn't being handled. Maybe a tarantula enjoys only roaches and won't touch any other food. Im not arguing with you and you make a good point, all in all it isnt worth the risk. But let loose, its ok to look at tarantulas in other way than just seriously and scientific. To each his own. Thank you for your reply ️✌️
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I baby talk my tarantulas almost every time I see them. Nothing serious about that lol. But I do it for me and not them. I do often wish it were responsible to handle them, but it’s unfortunately not. So, for the sake of everyone, unless under extreme circumstances, handling is avoided.
 

Oursapoil

Well-Known Member
Tarantula Club Member
I agree with so many things said here but can't help wonder if our certitude that they have a simple brain could not be linked to our current brain capacity and/or the level of our scientific knowledge? What is to say that in the future we won't discover more as studies on them progress. Not so long ago their was a certitude the earth was flat, that earth was the center of the universe or that the sun was orbiting around us and do not get me started with talking fire bush, walking on water or a planet created in 7 days.... Hoping that we will learn one day that after all they might not have an intelligence the way we define it but a different kind altogether. Fingers crossed.
P.S: I am quite sure many of my Ts are messing up their water dishes within hours of me cleaning and replacing them just to piss me off :D
 
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