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Do tarantulas really "get used" to being handled?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by Zeph, Dec 16, 2012.

  1. Zeph

    Zeph Arachnosquire

    Does a tarantula really have the memory to allow it to being accustomed to being handled? I only handle one of my tarantulas for now, since they are all so small, I've been practicing on my beloved 4" G. pulchripes.

    Look how fuzzy Mammoth is! I just adore this tarantula!


    I'm new to this, but it seems to me that we humans just get better at handling tarantulas in general, or a particular tarantula by learning its behavior. Is it the tarantula adapting to being handled, or is it just us learning how to do it correctly?
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
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  2. ragnarokxg

    ragnarokxg Arachnosquire

    This is sort of a big debate here. I think that they adapt to being handled and that on some level they can tell who is holding them. But at the same time we also gain knowledge and confidence holding them and so they are not as disturbed by us because we no longer shake and are just more confident in holding them. Now is it the same with all species I wouldn't know, but I know that there are some species I own I am more careful with than others.
  3. MagicalLobster

    MagicalLobster Arachnosquire

    This is definitely a question I'd like an answer to. Perhaps there's someone who knows more about tarantula cognitive processes, learning, behavior, etc. who could. I often wonder to what degree it stresses the creature out when I hold it, open it's container, move it to a new enclosure, and if these arethings for which the tarantula's perception can change with time.
  4. grayzone

    grayzone Arachnoking Active Member

    i could be wrong, but i believe they DO/CAN...
    Ive had various slings of the same various sp. and have tried to experiment this with them. For example, i once owned a few G. pulchripes slings.
    I would take one of the slings out like every other day and let it walk around on me for a while, and i would NEVER handle the other one.

    after about a year, i noticed that the handled G. pulchripes would come out and explore willingly like it actually looked forward to it, but i know better :) .
    I then started taking out the other one and it was very skittish and scared acting. Didnt want any part of being handled

    Ive also done this with avic slings with similar results.

    This could all come down to individuality, but i think there is more to it than that.
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  5. ragnarokxg

    ragnarokxg Arachnosquire

    I am doing a similar experiment with my Avic slings and my Psalmo slings. I am handling one more than the other and just observing their actions. I am handling both GBB's because my fiancee wants to handle hers once she is over her morning sickness.
  6. grayzone

    grayzone Arachnoking Active Member

    Assuming you mean your fiancee is preggo, you DO mean she plans on handling once the baby has been born right?

    ---------- Post added 12-16-2012 at 02:29 PM ----------

    call me over cautious, but i wouldnt want my pregnant girlfriend/wife/fiancee handling ANY tarantula until after the baby has popped out
  7. Zeph

    Zeph Arachnosquire

    Uh-oh, your baby could be born addicted to tarantula venom! XD j/k

    Thanks for the responses, everyone :)
    • Like Like x 1
  8. ragnarokxg

    ragnarokxg Arachnosquire

    Yeah that's what I mean. It will probably be a year or so before she handles any of our tarantulas.

    Sent from my ADR6410LVW using Tapatalk 2
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  9. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    Interesting! Thanks for sharing!
  10. Tarac

    Tarac Arachnolord

    Likely that they can be conditioned, yes. Snakes, fish, birds and bees can all be conditioned, why not a tarantula? It's an advantage to them to not be freaked out by every stimulus that they encounter regularly.
  11. Alltheworld601

    Alltheworld601 Arachnoangel

    I was surprised to see so many people responding in favor of the possibility. I'm glad to see it too, because I agree that they do indeed get used to it, and do learn to tell the difference between different people. I don't know how far it goes, whether or not they can ever actually *like* it, or *know* you as a person, but I think that they can learn, like any living thing, just by the basics at least, to recognize over time that no harm will come to them when they are with you. They're like living lie detectors...they sense every vibration and scent with their feet through their whole body. There's no possible way they can't distinguish their surroundings. It only makes sense.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    "like" might be a bit overstretched term. Too complicated for an invert. They can tolerate more or less or adapt to not freak out in certain conditions. They might like the warm of the hand because in that moment they instinctively would like to be in a place warmer.
  13. I agree too, it's like they start to understand that they're being handled. I have a 4-5" avic, when I first tried holding her she was quite skittish and ran/jumped away a lot (I was probably shaking or something) but over time she got more calm and now often when I open the door to do maintenance she will actually walk outside onto me and just sit =) I'm not saying she 'likes' it but it does seem she 'understands' it

    ---------- Post added 12-17-2012 at 10:43 PM ----------

    Actually something interesting I've noticed with my avic is that she doesn't like being on bare skin at all, as soon as her foot touches it she'll turn the other way avoiding skin at all cost lol But if I offer her my arm (if I'm wearing a long sleeved shirt) then she'll walk onto the clothing no problem. She especially likes denim it seems, she'll sit on my jeans forever haha
  14. macbaffo

    macbaffo Arachnolord

    Interesting maybe bare skin is too hot for her but with clothes is less hot surface but still warm. But having seen so many pics of bare hands holding T i wonder if it's a particular case or not.
    Someone else experienced a preference of covered skin to bare skin?
  15. MarkmD

    MarkmD Arachnoprince

    I also believe they can adjust to being handled or interacted with more often, not sure how much they can understand things, but it must be enough for some T's to realize that it means no harm.
  16. goodoldneon

    goodoldneon Arachnoknight

    I will share this – upon acquiring my A. metallica, she would poop and jump for dear life when handled. After a few handling sessions, she no longer displays this sort of behavior. She is much less skittish, and will sit in my hand for long periods of time – I imagine it has something to do with body heat. She was a nervous wreck – she has since calmed considerably.
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  17. grayzone

    grayzone Arachnoking Active Member

    maybe in Suzukis case there is something invasive on his hands? Cigarette smoke? fragrance from soaps, smells/oils from foods that have been handled, oils from other pets like dogs/cats?
    Ive noticed this with a couple ts ive regularly handled as well, and its usually due to something ive overlooked.
    Try washing your hands with a mild soap (like dawn dish soap) before handling and see if you notice any changes... just a thought... its worked for me
  18. Giomanach

    Giomanach Arachnopeon

    i think T's remain unpredictable creatures and should therefore always be handled with care, he might be fuzzy and cute and slow walking one day, and the otherday he might want to rip your flesh off.
    keep in mind this is my own opinion, i believe the T's are not getting used to being handled, but us handling the T's.
    their brain is so small they almost purely rely on instinct, although they have quite a bit of understanding and can learn, they can't learn much, as in veeery little.
    but for example where the waterdish is located, im not sure im suggesting, but an interesting subject none the less ;)
  19. ragnarokxg

    ragnarokxg Arachnosquire

    Well every creature has mood swings, for example my brothers new kingsnake is moody one day to the next. She could try to bite him in the AM when he is trying to feed her then later in the day she will let him hold her. I believe that it is very similar with tarantulas, one day they can let you hold them and they will be calm and just let you hold them. Then the next they could run up you like you were a tree and not stay still a moment.
  20. Yeah, i have noticed that with mine. very often can pick her up and let her crawl around. but some times she just does not want to be messed with. but also, G. roseas are known for having mood swings.