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How to Handle a Tarantula

Learn how to handle a tarantula from Jungle Bob in this Howcast video.


When it comes to handling a tarantula, the word that pops into my mind is gently. Right? Although they're these hideous creatures that everybody's afraid of, they are extremely fragile. Their exoskeleton is thin in certain areas, particularly in the abdomen. The legs, in particular, again, they're not pliable at all and the least little bit of pressure could actually break them.

So gentle is the word. People sometimes say, 'Jungle Bob, you're so rough with your animals.' But when I'm picking up a tarantula like the Palomino Blond I know is not going to bite me, I simply cup the animal and put my hands underneath his legs. And this way he's cradled. I'm not smashing down on him. That would be a fatal event for the tarantula.

So that's how you could easily pick up a tarantula like this. Even though his fangs are right against my fingers, I know he's not an aggressive species and have to worry about that. Certainly, if he's walking along, the best way to pick him up is to coax him. By putting your hand in front of him, give him a little nudge on his abdomen and he will just gently walk where you want him to go. That's more maneuvering than it is handling him for sure.

And lastly, if a tarantula's got a good enough size it's fairly simple to, again, this is his abdomen and this is the head thorax, between the middle legs, like right between the two sides of his legs, you can gently grab his head thorax area and pick him up. That's not harming him any. You're in between legs two and three, if you will, on one side and two and three on the other side. And pick him up by grasping the body. That's the sturdiest part of the tarantula and that doesn't bother him at all.

Now again, handling tarantulas. They're a species that like to flick their hairs off that I don't like to pick up at all. Because even though you can pick them up gently enough they're going to be kicking the legs on their abdomen. You're going to have a mess on your face. Tarantula hair all over the place. Why bother? I coax them along. I push them along. I usually don't pick them up in that method. Nor do I want to cup them because their hairs come off of there. Agonizingly irritating.

So know your species, again. But if you want to pick him up, those are the methods to do so without harming the animal, which the most important thing. And without getting bitten, which is a pretty good idea too.

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