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Can a tarantula get used to being handled?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Chat' started by UralOwl, May 15, 2012.

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    Try telling a large parrot owner that only dogs can bond emotionally with humans. Let us know how far you get with that. For that matter, horses, cats, primates, rats, and even wild animals like bears and lions have been known to show strong loyalty to humans. Just because animals don't bond with YOU doesn't mean they don't bond with anybody else.

    I realize tarantulas aren't nearly as emotionally complex as even the lower vertebrates, but they don't have to bond emotionally to tolerate handling well. Several of my spiders don't show any discernible aversion to handling. I certainly don't think they enjoy it, but they don't care either way, so why bother "protecting" them from it? I like it, and they don't dislike it, so there's no logical reason not to handle them. To a spider, it's just another part of the environment, like plastic plants, artificial lighting, and the big metal tongs that deliver meals right on schedule.
     
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  2. Absolutely! (Click or right-click the thumbnails to see larger images.)

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    Did you miss this part, "...(but probably without so large an affect on civilization)...?"

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    You REALLY need to get yourself a few Brachypelma albopilosum, Aphonopelma anax or hentzi, Grammostola pulchra, and even perhaps a few Avicularia avicularia, and start treating and handling them like friends rather than potential adversaries or mobile paperweights. Your overwhelming association with the Old World species and lack of in-depth experience with the New World species has left you with a strange gap in your knowledge and experience with tarantulas as a whole.

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    And, you are missing out on one of the most fascinating and endearing aspects of arachnoculture.

    We can fix that!


    “Don't be afraid of spiders! Spiders are you friends! Sorry, that was confusing wording. All you friends are secretly spiders! Better.”
    - Welcome To Night Vale
     
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  3. Mavet

    Mavet Arachnopeon

    I was also going to mention birds, but PlaidJaguar beat me to it! My cockatiel is pretty mistrustful of people she doesn't know, and even within my immediate family members, I'm clearly her favourite person. I'm the only one she cuddles or snuggles with, and she'll even fall asleep on me while I give her neck rubs. :)

    Even animals that are clearly not domesticated at all, and that people don't normally associate with social behaviour, can surprise you. I once had a juvenile monitor lizard (3-4 feet long) run up me (they can run ~25kph, so hoo-boy was that interesting!) in the process of seeking refuge from a little girl who had rushed at, and startled, him in her excitement. Having been raised by myself and my colleagues since hatching from his egg, he must have been satisfied that I was 'safe' so to speak.

    Also, we seem to have tunnel vision when it comes to thinking about emotion and intelligence in animals, in that we tend to restrict ourselves to thinking only about vertebrates, because that's what we are, obviously. But let's not forget that cephalopod intelligence can rival that of many vertebrates, and most invertebrates (pretty much all) haven't been studied NEARLY as thoroughly as most vertebrate animals have. So the possibility of there being other big-brained inverts out there is pretty decent depending on who you ask.

    Just food for thought. :geek:
     
  4. Poec54

    Poec54 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    USA
    Why don't you tone down your attitude. I said no other animal bonds as strongly to people as dogs. Not that no other animal does. Dogs have been doing it for 15,000 to 30,000 years; they have a head start over everything else. How many times do parrots die trying to save their masters?

    ---------- Post added 11-19-2013 at 11:12 PM ----------

    Jumping to conclusions there. I've had Brachypelma and Aphonopelma for many years in the past and currently have G. pulchra, G. pulchripes, B. albopilosum, A. chalcodes & some Avics. In spite of their docile natures, I still see no reason to grope them. Why exploit their good nature?
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2013
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  5. No jumping to conclusions. I already knew you'd had them. But, did you read the rest of the sentence?

    That's an easy one: So we can learn something else even more remarkable about them.


    I saw a spider in my bathtub, so I got a tissue, and very, VERY carefully burned the house down.
     
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  6. You also said "most have little if any loyalty." That was the statement that rankled me.

    I fail to see how it's relevant to the discussion that dogs have been domesticated the longest and therefore have the deepest bond with humans. It's true, but it doesn't mean we should stop domesticating all other species just because they can't hope to catch up to dogs.

    I don't need my spiders to save me from a fire, or comfort me when I'm sad--that's what my dog is for. I know spiders will never achieve dog-like levels of companionship and emotional complexity. I do think it would be nice, however, to give tarantula domestication a shot and see what can be accomplished.

    Why not? If it doesn't bother them, what's the harm?
     
  7. vespers

    vespers Arachnodemon

    Dogs lick their butthole, then try to lick your face. With "friends" like that, who needs enemies? :tongue:
     
  8. goodoldneon

    goodoldneon Arachnoknight

    Anyone who has ever owned an African Grey Parrot cant tell you they can be every bit as affectionate as a dog, if not more so. They are incredibly intelligent and express a huge range of emotions - more than most dogs I've ever had.
     
  9. Poec54

    Poec54 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    USA
    Domesticating animals means turning them into soemthing that doesn't exist in the wild, either physically, behaviorally, or both, either thru hybridizing or selective breeding. Why would anyone even consider doing that to tarantulas. It's not good for the hobby, or for the prospects of maintaining the genetic integrity of the various species. It's one thing to produce plants with bigger yields, and livestock that can feed more people. But to try to alter tarantulas, as if what occurs in the wild isn't 'good enough', certainly has a ring of arrogance about it. What's the goal of domesticating in your mind? To make animals cuddly and affectionate? To change and 'improve' the dispositions they've carefully evolved over millions of years of survival, so they can sit in your lap in your living room? That's what you want to 'accomplish'? Is this what you want to do to nature? As the domonant species on this planet, we have killed off almost all of what threatens and competes with us, do we want to turn the remainder into cuddly little pals? That's just a continuation of mankind's lack of respect for nature. 'We can make it better'

    ---------- Post added 11-20-2013 at 09:07 AM ----------

    Yes and no. From an evolutionary point, we are an incredible success. We went from 5,000 people in Africa 50,000-60,000 years ago, to over 7,000,000,000 now, that dominate the planet. That's success almost beyond imagination. Where we dropped the ball was respecting the world we came from. We've destroyed and changed so much. That's an embarrassing failure, inexcusably so.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
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  10. You make very valid points, Poec. But there's already some speculation that captive bred tarantulas are more adaptable and hardy than their wild caught counterparts. I don't want to drastically change any tarantulas, but breeding them for greater adaptability and lower stress levels (which is linked to docility in higher animals), would reduce the number of tarantula deaths and make them much easier to keep. My favorite genus is Avicularia, and they're particularly prone to dying. Making them generally hardier would be a plus in my book.

    That said, I understand where you're coming from in regards to preservation. We humans are quite prone to trampling and destroying everything we come into contact with. We've done many wonderful things as a species, but none of it comes close to equaling the damage we've caused. So I don't fully disagree with you on this point, and I definitely respect your opinion.
     
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  11. Poec54

    Poec54 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    USA
    I just think we've destroyed, damaged, and manipulated far too much of nature as it is, and need to think long and hard before we take on new projects contorting things to suit us. We really should respect what's left and try to keep it intact. Who wants a world where everything's been domesticated and relying on humans to maintain them? Let animals keep their instincts and live as nature intended them to, before this one greedy, egotistical species took over the planet and started changing everything.
     
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  12. BobGrill

    BobGrill Arachnoprince

    I think it's okay to handle some of the more docile NWs as long as you don't do it too often. It's just one of those things that should really be kept to a minimum. On the other hands as most of us will agree with, OWs should never be handled. Unfortunately as poec54 pointed out recently, it only takes a quick search on google or youtube to see a image/video of someone handling theirs.
     
  13. The evolutionary stand point of US humans is HIGHLY debatable I fail to see what anyone accomplished with this example. When it comes down to it if the owner wants to handle go for it. Just know the risks (if there is any).
     
  14. Poec54

    Poec54 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    USA
    We have short attention spans and were side-tracked by Stan's analogies to a bevy of domesticated animals. But we're back on track now, yes sir we are. No more fooling around. And Stan, both hands on the wheel please. You've clipped enough mail boxes and garbage cans on the way down.
     
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  15. vespers

    vespers Arachnodemon

    Oh, uh, what is this thread about again?


    Not to mention we're all a bunch of dorks and weirdos to some degree. So subjective threads tend to get a little "out there". I mean, we do keep bugs in boxes, after all. Of all the hobbies in the world to take up, we chose this one...
     
    • Clarification Please Clarification Please x 1
  16. Elytra and Antenna

    Elytra and Antenna Arachnoking Old Timer

    USA
    Down with the humans!
     
  17. Poec54

    Poec54 Arachnoemperor Active Member

    USA
    My grandmother had a collection of glass figurines (swans, etc). Are you suggesting we bail on spiders and go for something like that? Only maintenance is dusting. But then, some of those old ladies might have gotten into heated disagreements over them...
     
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  18. vespers

    vespers Arachnodemon

    Sure, why not? Glass swans probably require more attention than keeping most tarantulas.:laugh:
     
  19. Elytra and Antenna

    Elytra and Antenna Arachnoking Old Timer

    USA
    How much habitat is destroyed in the production of glass swans and what is the carbon footprint for the furnace or torch required? How much habitat is lost to making houses big enough to hold glass swans and other human trinkets? Which is better for the environment, a glass swan collection or a tarantula collection? I am sure tarantulas can get used to being handled but I don't think they recognize the handler in any way except in the physical act of picking them up (how fast or rough the person is).
    (I was joking earlier, I really like humans.)
     
  20. Taylorthepinktoe

    Taylorthepinktoe Arachnopeon

    Well I'm holding my pink toe at this moment, he's a baby one and is very chill . Although he's a little skiddish, he loves to be held he sometimes lays on my sleeve for hours just chilling and not moving. He's getting more use to my hand . Just be careful because lucky me , mine isn't jumpy as much as people say theirs is . He can be a little jumpy but mostly is just a really great friend to have around.
     

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