Do Tarantulas Like Being Stroked? Yes, Here’s Why

do tarantulas like being stroked
Do tarantulas like being stroked

Do tarantulas like being stroked? Yes, if they have the right temperament for it. Most spiders have their own temperaments and if you stroke your spider regularly, they will expect it from you. This is especially true if you’ve had them for years. You can basically train your pet tarantula not to fear being stroked, and even like it.

Tarantulas are mostly docile and do well in group demonstrations and schools. Generally, daily handling that they are used to becomes okay for a tarantula. They freely crawl when placed on your shoulder or arm. Of course, you won’t be able to hug or cuddle it. They are generally timid and only when provoked do they bite.

If you enjoy reading this article, why not check out our articles on Should You Kill Spiders? Short Answer: No and What Do Spiders Eat? The Complete Guide

Most importantly – be careful!

You need to be very careful when stroking your pet tarantula. New pets need very little care and being stroked is not exactly one of its bare necessities. If you are just coming home from the pet store, it might not be a good idea to make any attempts to stroking your new little eight-legged pet.

do tarantulas like being stroked
do tarantulas like being stroked

Of course, in the coming days, there are many ways to start to get your pet used to being held. Using caution when handling your spider is always a good idea. Most tarantulas move quickly and can get away from you quite fast.

If you’re alarmed by the words “pet tarantula” take a look at our article The Three Best Kinds of Spiders to Keep as Pets and maybe it will ease your nerves!

How to properly stroke your tarantula

To stroke your pet, safely pick it up and securely grip it between its third and second pair of legs with your forefinger and thumb. When all its legs leave the ground at the same time, its first reaction is to stop moving. Gently nudge your spider into your palm or a container if you have one.

Slowly lift your spider from its container or in your palm. make sure it remains in one place. Keep your hand beneath the spider. If he or she likes crawling around you might find yourself changing hands constantly to prevent it from falling.

Don’t let your spider start crawling all over your arm. Keep it in your palm. This safely protects you and your spider at the same time.

Remember that if your spider falls from a tall height, this could cause its demise. Three feet or higher and this could cause his abdomen to burst. If your spider’s stomach bursts from a fall this causes his demise in just a few hours.

Don’t stroke your tarantula if you are not feeling one hundred percent confident. You don’t want to unintentionally hurt your pet.

Different species, different temperaments

Stroking a tarantula depends on the genus and species of your spider. Usually, Phlogius crassipes is a great species to handle. Of course, just with every other creature, individuals still have their temperaments and this comes strongly into play.

You can find out how readily a tarantula tolerates your approach. If gentler tarantula species don’t want to be stroked, they will walk away. If you see that your tarantula has walked away, respect what it wants. Don’t force your tarantula to be stroked if it is doing everything it can to get away from your hand.

Don’t force your tarantula to be stroked

If you train your pet tarantula from the time it is young to be stroked, it will begin to identify human beings as relatively constant features of their environment and non-violent. If your tarantula was fearful when it was younger, with time, it may grow tamer and will love getting gentle strokes from you.

To stroke, your tarantula, test it first with a soft-bristle brush to make sure you won’t trigger its defense mechanisms. If your spider seems relaxed or if he or she is used to your presence, you can pet it. Many times, tarantulas tend to walk away when you attempt to gently stroke them. If this happens, don’t stress them out by insisting.

Do Different Species of Tarantula React Differently From Being Stroked?

When petting your tarantula, don’t make it feel trapped in any way by pressing it down or trapping it in your hand. Do nothing to trigger their defenses.

 A tarantula makes a great pet spider. There are more than eight hundred tarantula species and some make better pets than other types. Some are burrowers and others are ground dwellers. Most have gentle, docile personalities and can be trained and stroked.

Brazilian Black

This long-legged spider makes a pretty pet. They live for up to thirty years and eat about six crickets a week. If you get them young, they are trainable for stroking though they may not like it at first.

Eupaleastrus Campestartus

These are also known as Pink Zebras and are from Southern America. This spider is hardy and grows a leg span of up to six inches. Their personalities are calm and they are confused with Chaco Golden Knees pretty often.

Honduras Curly Hair

Also known as a wooly tarantula, this is a fast-growing, slow-moving and hardy spider. They dwell in the ground and are great for beginners. They need small enclosures and are a great first pet as they don’t startle quite as easily.

Mexican Red Leg

This species dwells in the ground and are easy startled. This is the kind that you probably will have a not-so-easy time stroking. They are quite speedy as well but the fact that they startle easily means that they will probably feel threatened when you hastily reach into their cages.

By Cliff - originally posted to Flickr as Red Leg Tarantula (Brachypelma Emilia), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4874601
By Cliff – originally posted to Flickr as Red Leg Tarantula (Brachypelma Emilia), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4874601

Costa Rica Zebra

This is smaller than the Chilean and also dwells within the ground. They have calm temperaments but are fast runners. This means that when you try to stroke them, they may try and make a quick getaway.

Chilean Common Rose Haired

This type of tarantula is a popular arachnid among spider fans. It has a five-inch leg span and can live for more than fifteen years. This spider burrows and has a calm temperament. This means that it is trainable and teachable and won’t run off every time you try to stroke it.

Brachypelma Smith

This is a pet tarantula considered a “classic.” Often, this type makes a great first pet. They have a five-inch leg span but only need a smallish cage. They are calm and may like getting stroked with some training.

Champagne Robustus

This species can be trained to like stroking and once it gets used to being stroked, it will allow you to touch it and may even come on to your hand after a while. Getting to know your tarantula is the key to being able to train it to be stroked.

Phlogius Crassipes

A great species to stroke, most plugins let you stroke them gently and won’t turn hostile. They seem to like it. Some spiders start shy then turn affectionate and others do the opposite. Check the temperament of your spider and gauge whether or not they are okay with being stroked.

Pink Toes

Pink Toes are quick tarantula that is a bite risk. This species is actively defensive and tend to bite multiple times. Also, they bite first and think later. Make sure you don’t reach into a cage with rapid movements.

By Psychonaught – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12175799

Goliaths

Goliaths have significantly bristly skin and may cause a rash when you stroke them. Their significant bristles that can irritate your skin. The tarantula may like getting stroked with your fingers but once you stroke a bristly kind, be ready for a rash or an itch to develop. Even if a Goliath species does not kick or bite you when you stroke it, the moment those bristles poke your finger you will get a rash, potentially.

By Bernard DUPONT from FRANCE – Goliath Tarantula (Theraphosa blondi), CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66017689

Brachypelma Smithi

This species of tarantula is shy but strong. When you stroke this species, they will not bare their fangs or reveal any aggressiveness. They will let you stroke them if you are gentle and move slowly. However, they don’t enjoy being touched.

Avicularia

This species won’t show aggression when stroked. However, you need to move slowly and gently, as stress-free as possible. Avicularias don’t like sudden movements. Don’t put your hand in the cage too rapidly. Rapid movements offend Avicularia.

Brazilian BlackCan be trained for stroking
Eupaleastrus Campestartus (Pink Zebra)Calm enough temperament for stroking
Honduras Curly HairDon’t startle easily, can train to stroke
Mexican Red Leg Not easy to stroke – will feel threatened
Costa Rica ZebraCalm temperaments but quick – may scurry away if stroked
Chilean Common Rose HairedTrainable and teachable – won’t (always) run away when stroked
Brachypelma SmithCalm temperament – may enjoy being stroked with practice
Champagne RobustusCan be trained to like stroking – may come onto your hand with practice
Phlogius CrassipesGreat species to stroke. Many like it and won’t turn hostile
Pink ToesBite risk – they are known to bite multiple times and get defensive when stroking is attempted
GoliathsThey may not mind being stroked, but have bristly skin that may irritate you
Brachypelma SmithiShy but strong – they may let you stroke them if you are gentle
AviculariaWon’t be aggressive when stroked, but don’t like fast movements, so be slow and gentle

What should you do if your spider bites you while stroking it?

Tarantulas retreat or withdraw when they sense danger. If they still sense danger when they withdraw or retreat, they might kick hair at their perceived attacker.

They kick hard using its hind legs and repeatedly shake their hair loose and rub their stomachs. This discourages the most dangerous intentions. Humans who get tarantula hair on their skin cause a temporary, painful rash.

How venomous are tarantulas?

Their bite has venom but the venom is just enough to take down much smaller prey. It feels not unlike the sting of a bee.

Use an antiseptic to clean your spider bite if it does happen. This prevents any infections that could occur. Bites could ache or throb and other times they could cause fever or nausea.

if you get an allergy from a bite, make sure you get medical attention in the soonest possible time. This is especially important to do if bee stings cause an allergic reaction.

For more information of venomous spiders, check out Which Spiders are Poisonous in Certain States?

You’ll know if your tarantula is about to attack!

Keep in mind that when it comes to tarantulas, you will sense an attack even before they happen. Spiders rear up on its hind legs and reveal each fang. If this is not a clear message to possible assailants, what else would be. If your spider begins to attack like this, don’t stress them out even more and let them be.

In conclusion….

Tarantulas like being stroked if they have been trained from the time they were young and have been with you for years. Calm varieties will not feel alarmed as much as other types. Stroke your tarantula gently and see if he likes it. Most creatures do and your tarantula is no exception.

If you enjoyed reading this article, why not check out our articles on Are Spiders Insects or Bugs? The Simple Answer and Can Spider Fangs Grow Back? Let’s Find Out

References

I used papers sourced from academia.edu to help formulate the basis for this article. If you’re curious to learn more then visit: http://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Poecilotheria_Tarantulas_

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page https://schoolofbugs.com/about-steve-foster/

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