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Handling a Tarantula (aka chat room grenade!)

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by TeddyBearTarantula, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Greasylake

    Greasylake Arachnoprince Active Member

    My uncle used to be deathly afraid of airplanes, the one time he flew he was gripping the armrest so hard that his knuckles were white... the entire flight. I never would have taken him flying if he hadn't asked, but one day he called me and asked if I could take him, so I did. We only went up for about an hour and the whole time he was taking video with his gopro. He loved it so much he wants to go again and keeps asking about it, so I think it's safe to say he overcame his fear fairly quickly. I guess it's a different situation, but if it's what someone really wants to do I think facing the fear can be productive, assuming all the proper precautions are taken to make sure no one gets hurt, and with Ts handling poses too many risks for it to be the best way to introduce someone to them.
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  2. 14pokies

    14pokies Arachnoprince

    I never handle my Tarantulas and when I do I upload it to Instagram :bookworm:..
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  3. ArachnoHazard

    ArachnoHazard Arachnopeon

    Ma, USA
    I’ve had a sling run up my arm right after I put it in a new enclosure.

    That’s the closest I ever plan on getting to “handling a tarantula”.

    And I agree that the habituation angle is mostly for our benefit and not the T’s. They’re pretty smart but at the end of the day, they’re invertebrates and not cats; their version of habituation is going to be much, much, simpler than a more complex animal’s. They wouldn’t allow for much, if any, variation in that routine for it to count as “the same routine”. It’s not like a rabbit where as long as it’s the same time of day and more or less the same stimuli, they understand “this is how this will go”.
  4. AngelDeVille

    AngelDeVille Fuk Da Meme Police Arachnosupporter

    Siegfried and Roy handled wild animals for many years and all was well, until it wasn’t.
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  5. Tearsacid

    Tearsacid Arachnopeon

    I believe that tarantulas can develop habits based on repeated stimuli that will give a somewhat predictable outcome just like in nature. Similar to many other inverts. They will never learn, be able to distinguish you, or get "tame" over time. If you have a group of spiders kept in darkness & a similar group kept in a bright room, most of the ones kept in darkness will flee when hit with a flashlight while most of the other half kept in the light will seem calmer & unphazed by the light. Its just learned behavior based on circumstantial situations. Each tarantula has a different temperament & reacts a certain way to stimuli but I do believe that some T's can develop what we may interpret as a calmer temperament when it comes to handling. There are risks involved in everything.
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  6. Wow that’s amazing. When you met him, did he happen to mention anything about this particular subject?
    Luckily my friends are all arachnophobic so they enjoy the looking but not touching!

    I have handled a few T’s mainly my Avics, I don’t handle my terrestrials. The Avics have literally walked onto my hand when I’ve been doing maintenance and that’s usually when they new to an enclosure and they are still in the investigative stage, as I noticed once they are settled in and put down webbing they are very reluctant to leave their homes.
    I have never ushered a T onto my hand or gone into an enclosure purely to handle a T.

    If somebody is experienced and has a particular T they know well and is used to handling and being handled, as long as it’s done safely I see no problem with it. If you handle then you have to accept you may get bitten, you can read their moods to a degree but my biggest worry is outside variables. Noise, doors opening/closing, dogs barking, a sudden sneeze, children squealing or simply how you would impulsively respond to an actual bite. My avic avic is very docile but she has a tendency to suddenly jump from the enclosure onto me! It sometimes makes me jump a little!

    A very good point.

    Haha I’m not trying to be controversial. I just read loads; and on this particular hot topic what I read was so the opposite to what I’ve always been taught, I couldn’t let it go. So I thought I’d bring it to the theatre of conflict to get all of your opinions.
    Sometimes it goes against me though. I can have a tried and tested system that works for me, then I’ll find something else out that causes me to doubt my practice, so being a newbie I always ask the good people of AB. This board has helped me so much it is always the lead I follow.

    I wasn’t going to start handling my T’s based on this paragraph, and I haven’t been a keeper long enough to bring any kind of experience through my own observations!
    I’ve always been somebody whose never satisfied with an answer, I want to know why the answer is the answer!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2018
  7. FrDoc

    FrDoc Arachnobaron Active Member

  8. JanPhilip

    JanPhilip Arachnoknight Old Timer

    As people here have already pointed out, it hasn't been strictly proven that you can habituate, let alone train, a tarantula to do anything. However, I do not know if anyone has actually ever tried to either, so it might be possible. On the other hand, with the calm new world terrestrials in question, it is not really necessary. You can handle them easily without any training. Most people here are against handling, but I personally do not agree with this stance. I do not regularly handle any tarantula, but I do some times handle them for a bit when transferring them. I have not seen any evidence that they take any harm from it and I really enjoy interacting with them for a short time. However, this is not something I would do with nervous spiders, spiders prone to kicking hairs when disturbed, or spiders with likely potent venoms.
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  9. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    Those that handle spiders for show 'how much docile they are' to arachnophobe (?)* persons, are show off clowns without even a single clue about the basic: pure instinct animals can not being docile. Never.

    *There's no chance, absolutely no chance, that a real arachnophobic person would stay somewhat near to someone with a 'huge', hairy spider in the hand/s. No chance.
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  10. I’ve been very lucky. I don’t handle my T’s deliberately and Ive never had any of my 14 new world terrestrials kick any hair! Haha!

    You gotta love the whirlwind!

    To be fair the part about showcasing T’s to the non believers I believe is pure tripe! I would never feel compelled to stress or endanger any animal for somebody else’s pleasure and it surprised me that it encouraged such practice. It was more the theory of taming that tickled my interest.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2018
  11. Andrea82

    Andrea82 Arachnoking Active Member

    I actually think this thread is going rather well and controlled. There have been handling threads that were a trainwreck, with mods having to step in and shutting it down.
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  12. JanPhilip

    JanPhilip Arachnoknight Old Timer

    I do not think anyone is suggesting putting putting a tarantula straight in the hands of someone with severe arachnophobia. That would likely make the situation even worse. A friend of mine has the problem and it is a huge accomplishment for him to even visit my place (1 room apt ~ 50 spiders and a bunch of other animals). However, it can be a step in the treatment, after observation etc. There was a very interesting segment on a new type of exposure therapy for arachnophobia on Norwegian television a few years ago. They showed how they treated sever arachnophobia by exposing patients step by step to large house spiders in a glass jar. Somehow the method worked so well for some that they went from escaping the room when beeing told there was a spider near by, to staying, staying and looking, touching the jar, holding the jar, opening the jar and in some cases even holding the spider. The last step was mentioned as beeing quite important. So I think it is sometimes a good thing, it gives you a feeling of control and accomplishment. But it does obviously not have to be done with a tarantula.
  13. Haha! Like I said in my original post, I don’t handle my T’s this isn’t my opinion, I’m just interested in other peoples take on it.
    I haven’t been in the hobby long enough to have observed any learned behaviours from my T’s. I have handled T’s unintentionally mainly Avics when they climb out and onto my hand, but have never actively gone to handle one. No subjects on here should insight any kind of rioting, surely this is what the board is for, to exchange information, help others learn, seek advice and challenge, that’s how anything progresses.
    Unless somebody puts up something utterly ridiculous about their husbandry or is just plain rude, I see no reason why people should get het up.
  14. StampFan

    StampFan Arachnobaron Active Member

    I talked to Stan at the reptile expo here 2 or 3 weeks ago. He sometimes has a table set up here just to give people their first exposure to tarantulas. He has to "borrow" a tarantula as he doesn't have a collection anymore (on the road in his RV, so often crossing the border). He had some other cool true spiders here under glass as well, a couple of black widows, etc.

    I did not talk to him specifically about handling, but there are literally dozens of his older posts here plus his web page that I'm sure you'll get his detailed thoughts. It is still easily the most thorough book published on tarantulas and has gems of knowledge throughout, even if folks disagree with some of the information. Same with the Hancock and Hancock book. Excellent reference manuals when you need a second opinion or just food for thought.

    The one thing Stan told me is how much the hobby has changed (at least here in Canada) in that most people now get into it with slings/babies and raising their own as opposed to years ago when folks would mostly buy adults spiders. And the next revision of the book will likely reflect this.

    One of my favorite thoughts from the book is Stan's opinion about mixing substrates - the mix will always take on the best AND worst qualities of each substance. So his conclusion (if people both to read through it all) is typically just pick peat moss or coco fiber and run with it for the most part....
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  15. Andrea82

    Andrea82 Arachnoking Active Member

    'utterly ridiculous about their husbandry or is just plain rude,'
    This happened a lot ;)
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  16. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    I was talking in general about arachnophobia. You know, I think (since forever) that a lot of people, worldwide, thinks to be arachnophobic, but they really aren't... they just prove fear, they feel disgust etc about spiders (and 8 out of 10 often about other random bugs in general).

    So happens that, again worldwide, a lot of people support 'public handling of spiders' as a sort of 'cure' for that, but thing is that a real arachnophobic person wouldn't even stay in the same room where a pet rock 'rose hair' is inside a double KK with chains all over the enclosure, like my cousin :)
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  17. I’m going to read the Hancock and Hancock book, thank you for the advice.
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  18. FrDoc

    FrDoc Arachnobaron Active Member

    This one is particularly sedate, isn’t it?
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  19. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    Yes it has been proven. Every animal ever tested can be trained, i.e. habituated or conditioned, even worms. There are book about the topic, scientific textbooks, and plenty of them. Just google 'invertebrate learning'.

    The thing that's questionable here is not whether a tarantula can be trained but whether a tarantula is able to grasp a rather complex concept like 'handling'. I seriously doubt that.
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  20. Garth Vader

    Garth Vader Arachnohipster Arachnosupporter

    Sure they could, whilst having a panic attack or a dissociative stress response! :troll:;)