Handling Question

Lumberguy

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
141
I've got a somewhat rookie question regarding tarantula handling: I've read that if you're going to handle your Ts, you should get them acclimated to it by holding them and getting them into the habit of handling before they are adults, so they are "used to it."

This is all well and good, and sounds like sound advice ;) but my problem lies in the juvenile Ts themselves: my Ts, though docile species (brachys and grammostolas) are way too jumpy to handle safely until they are in premolt, when they really shouldn't be handled anyway. I can't really do the hand cupping method on them being just about 3" because they're too small in my opinion to do it safely (and I've never had the experience of cupping a T and I don't want to do it the first time on a T i'm worried about crushing). Any time I try to coax one onto my hand or the like with a gentle brush or some such, they automatically attack, thinking it's food, and I give up the attempt.

For those of you that handle all sizes of tarantulas, I just wanted to get your input: how do you deal with jumpy juvenile Ts in order to handle them, or do you just wait til they're bigger and not worry about acclimation? (on a side note, I never have this trouble with slings, only with juvies when they hit around 2.5+", and I haven't had an adult yet, but I have handled my friend's mature male rosie, so my issue seems to be just with these "teenage" Ts)

Thanks for your input! :worship:
 

KoriTamashii

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 21, 2009
Messages
420
Be prepared for the flood of 'Don't handle them' replies... lol.

Honestly, the easiest way is to just do it. Do it sitting on the floor, in a space where if they do manage to skitter down, they won't vanish instantly. The more you do it, the more (in theory) they'll get used to it, and you'll also learn how to handle each specific jumpy T. It's a learning experience for both of you! {D
 

mcluskyisms

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 16, 2009
Messages
843
Also its worth mentioning that tarantulas temperaments can change from moult to moult, sometimes a tarantula you have become accustomed to handling will moult and seem like a totally different tarantula....

If your handling the best way to test to tarantulas temperament is to touch its back legs lightly with a paintbrush and depending upon the tarantulas response you will have a fair idea whether its a no go (ie kicking hairs, spinning round and threat posturing = no go)

:)
 

sharpfang

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Messages
913
Handling

I rescently met a T that looked like a friendly variety.....{PZB} Nope! I don't think it was, now {D {"tapped" Me} I tempt fate :rolleyes:

Have never been bitten in 12 on-N-off years, of working closely w/.

I have met some Hobbyists who have yet to be tagged, in 15-30 years, some.
{I expect to be bitten eventually...}

Some sites and peoples advice will lean towards, Not, Handling your T's....Which is Safest ofcourse....and Less, Interactive as well :cool:

....Experiences/Opinions from individuals, w/ different T's vary, very much :D

I enjoy holding most of mine....and do Not assume that the Tarantulas enjoy it, although, it can be stimulating for them. And I do feel that, they get "Used" to it.

Many Humans, do Not get "Used" to it - GL w/ your Tarantula Experiences :)

- Jason
 

Fran

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
1,533
Theres no scientific fact that "proves" that tarantula will get used to your handling.
Theres no training with this animals.
 

Arachnethegreek

Arachnopeon
Joined
Jul 2, 2010
Messages
41
Theres no scientific fact that "proves" that tarantula will get used to your handling.
Theres no training with this animals.
However there has been scientific study showing roaches can learn from their environment, and consider the brain size and comparitive composition (roaches with a delocalized brain system and tarantulas with a notable brain as a singular organ, it woul be a stretch of the imagination to think they can learn behaviours. Anecdotally people have claimed for years that captive born and raised t's are orders or magnitude less defensive than WC specimens. So from a logical biological aspect, learning and behavioural training seems to be likely, nut as Fran said, unproven.
 

Fran

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 8, 2007
Messages
1,533
However there has been scientific study showing roaches can learn from their environment, and consider the brain size and comparitive composition (roaches with a delocalized brain system and tarantulas with a notable brain as a singular organ, it woul be a stretch of the imagination to think they can learn behaviours. Anecdotally people have claimed for years that captive born and raised t's are orders or magnitude less defensive than WC specimens. So from a logical biological aspect, learning and behavioural training seems to be likely, nut as Fran said, unproven.
People claims, as Im sure you would know, doesnt mean much in science.

Learning from their enviroment, and getting "used" to handling which is different every single time...Is a stretch.
 

killy

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
249
For those of you that handle all sizes of tarantulas, I just wanted to get your input: how do you deal with jumpy juvenile Ts in order to handle them, or do you just wait til they're bigger and not worry about acclimation?
Lumberguy, I share your interest and curiosity in handling.

I got drawn into this hobby when I saw an adult smithi sitting calmly in a human hand, then, same day, had an adult male pulchripes sit calmly in MY hand.

Since that time, my experience with handling my own vast collection of tarantulas (okay, 8 ...) has been of a tentative, experimental nature. All of them are either slings or juveniles. So far, of those that I have handled, none seem to be particularly comfortable with it. They react in varying degrees, from closing up within themselves in the passive/defensive posture, to staying on the move as if to say "I'd rather be anywhere but here," to outright "I'm outta here, dude," like my versi did the one and only time I handled him (he leaped off of my arm into a dark corner of the room and I had a heck of a time getting him back ... lesson learned!).

That's why I am fascinated to read posts, and see photo-evidence, from those handlers that have forged the bond between human/tarantula - I know it has been done, because, as I say, I've experienced it myself - with other people's tarantulas!

And that's also why, when I do have a positive handling experience with one of my Ts, I'm as excited as a little kid at Disneyland.

It brings up all kinds of questions:
- is the positive handling experience a function of the Ts age?
- is it a function of the frequency of handling (conditioning)?
- does it really come down to individual tarantulas (I keep reading that b vagans is a docile species, but I wouldn't go near mine without a lion tamer's whip and chair!)?
- maybe it has to do with environment, or even climate, or season?
- does a tarantula ever really appreciate the handling experience (because in my opinion, it should always be the Ts choice, albeit with encouragement, to climb onto my hand) ?
- or is it just a matter of "tolerance" on the part of the tarantula?

I know that there are those that say "never!" but I feel that an open-and-shut attitude like that withholds one from the fulfillment, and deeper understanding and appreciation of an alien species, that one procures from the encounter. It could, for example, change the attitude of a certain lady that I know, who lives in a tarantula-inhabited canyon, and who openly admits that she aims to kill tarantulas with her car when she sees them on the road.

The positive handling experience is what I'm after, and I'm always grateful to posters that open up the discussion with successful handlers that share their knowledge and observations.
 

Lumberguy

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Jan 26, 2009
Messages
141
Lumberguy, I share your interest and curiosity in handling.

I got drawn into this hobby when I saw an adult smithi sitting calmly in a human hand, then, same day, had an adult male pulchripes sit calmly in MY hand.

Since that time, my experience with handling my own vast collection of tarantulas (okay, 8 ...) has been of a tentative, experimental nature. All of them are either slings or juveniles. So far, of those that I have handled, none seem to be particularly comfortable with it. They react in varying degrees, from closing up within themselves in the passive/defensive posture, to staying on the move as if to say "I'd rather be anywhere but here," to outright "I'm outta here, dude," like my versi did the one and only time I handled him (he leaped off of my arm into a dark corner of the room and I had a heck of a time getting him back ... lesson learned!).

That's why I am fascinated to read posts, and see photo-evidence, from those handlers that have forged the bond between human/tarantula - I know it has been done, because, as I say, I've experienced it myself - with other people's tarantulas!

And that's also why, when I do have a positive handling experience with one of my Ts, I'm as excited as a little kid at Disneyland.

It brings up all kinds of questions:
- is the positive handling experience a function of the Ts age?
- is it a function of the frequency of handling (conditioning)?
- does it really come down to individual tarantulas (I keep reading that b vagans is a docile species, but I wouldn't go near mine without a lion tamer's whip and chair!)?
- maybe it has to do with environment, or even climate, or season?
- does a tarantula ever really appreciate the handling experience (because in my opinion, it should always be the Ts choice, albeit with encouragement, to climb onto my hand) ?
- or is it just a matter of "tolerance" on the part of the tarantula?

I know that there are those that say "never!" but I feel that an open-and-shut attitude like that withholds one from the fulfillment, and deeper understanding and appreciation of an alien species, that one procures from the encounter. It could, for example, change the attitude of a certain lady that I know, who lives in a tarantula-inhabited canyon, and who openly admits that she aims to kill tarantulas with her car when she sees them on the road.

The positive handling experience is what I'm after, and I'm always grateful to posters that open up the discussion with successful handlers that share their knowledge and observations.
This is Exactly why I got so into this hobby - before my first semester of college there was a biology prof. taking peoples' pictures with tarantula in hand if they were willing to pick up the tarantula on their own (it was a B. smithi) and that thing was the most docile thing I've ever held in my life. I want that experience with all of mine and my girlfriend's Ts eventually, because we have all species that are reportedly great handling Ts (G. pulchras, a G. pulchripes, B. smithi, and B. emilia) and, like you, they are all slings / juveniles that we've grown from slings.

Your post sums up everything I was trying to say in my original post so much more elegantly than I was able to state it, and I hope lots of people see it and share their experiences.
 

Pociemon

Arachnoangel
Old Timer
Joined
Mar 25, 2007
Messages
911
Lumberguy, I share your interest and curiosity in handling.

I got drawn into this hobby when I saw an adult smithi sitting calmly in a human hand, then, same day, had an adult male pulchripes sit calmly in MY hand.

Since that time, my experience with handling my own vast collection of tarantulas (okay, 8 ...) has been of a tentative, experimental nature. All of them are either slings or juveniles. So far, of those that I have handled, none seem to be particularly comfortable with it. They react in varying degrees, from closing up within themselves in the passive/defensive posture, to staying on the move as if to say "I'd rather be anywhere but here," to outright "I'm outta here, dude," like my versi did the one and only time I handled him (he leaped off of my arm into a dark corner of the room and I had a heck of a time getting him back ... lesson learned!).

That's why I am fascinated to read posts, and see photo-evidence, from those handlers that have forged the bond between human/tarantula - I know it has been done, because, as I say, I've experienced it myself - with other people's tarantulas!

And that's also why, when I do have a positive handling experience with one of my Ts, I'm as excited as a little kid at Disneyland.

It brings up all kinds of questions:
- is the positive handling experience a function of the Ts age?
- is it a function of the frequency of handling (conditioning)?
- does it really come down to individual tarantulas (I keep reading that b vagans is a docile species, but I wouldn't go near mine without a lion tamer's whip and chair!)?
- maybe it has to do with environment, or even climate, or season?
- does a tarantula ever really appreciate the handling experience (because in my opinion, it should always be the Ts choice, albeit with encouragement, to climb onto my hand) ?
- or is it just a matter of "tolerance" on the part of the tarantula?

I know that there are those that say "never!" but I feel that an open-and-shut attitude like that withholds one from the fulfillment, and deeper understanding and appreciation of an alien species, that one procures from the encounter. It could, for example, change the attitude of a certain lady that I know, who lives in a tarantula-inhabited canyon, and who openly admits that she aims to kill tarantulas with her car when she sees them on the road.

The positive handling experience is what I'm after, and I'm always grateful to posters that open up the discussion with successful handlers that share their knowledge and observations.
Very well written, could not have said it better myself:clap:
 

CAK

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
Nov 17, 2009
Messages
299
Also its worth mentioning that tarantulas temperaments can change from moult to moult, sometimes a tarantula you have become accustomed to handling will moult and seem like a totally different tarantula....

If your handling the best way to test to tarantulas temperament is to touch its back legs lightly with a paintbrush and depending upon the tarantulas response you will have a fair idea whether its a no go (ie kicking hairs, spinning round and threat posturing = no go)

:)
I just want to reiterate what Mclusky said. For example, I have an A.seemanni that was the most docile thing in the world. She would allow me to interact with her pretty much any way I wanted. She would even play dead if rolled over. It was the cutest dang thing to show people.... Then it happened.... She molted and after two weeks of hardening, she turned into the spawn of satan! She snaps at EVERYTHING near by! She is also lightening fast which doesn't help things.

Just be aware of temperment changes.
 
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