Handling

Megan 03

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Messages
6
I recently purchased a a. metallica, I would like my new T to be comfortable with handling but I do not want to stress her. What is the best way to introduce handling to her? I am not set on the idea, I will be totally satisfied with this pet staying in her cage but It would be nice to be able to take her out every once and a while.

Also I have a B. smithi on the way and I would like this one to get comfortable enough for my step children to hold on occasion. I understand that each T will have his/her own personallity and temperment and I am not going to push this if my t is upset about it. Would introducing handling be any different for this speices, aside from the speed factor of the av. ?
 

killy

Arachnoknight
Old Timer
Joined
May 20, 2009
Messages
249
... What is the best way to introduce handling to her? ...
I have been careful to allow my spiders to "choose" to climb onto my hand as they probe the "outer space" beyond their enclosures - gentle nudges with the bristles of a paintbrush help steer them in the right direction - this has usually resulted in very positive handling experiences. It's the spider making the ultimate decisions, so no menacing or threatening movements on my part are involved.

I also let them choose where they want to go once they're on-board (I'm always careful that this takes place in a safe location and environment). This can get dicey sometimes - like last weekend, I got a "new" a avicularia (new for me, that is - he's about 1 1/2 ") and let him loose on my left hand while holding a camera in the right - well, avicularias are fast movers, and before I could re-direct him, he was on my shoulder, then crawling across my back ... I had to patiently wait for him to return to my shoulder so I could manage his movements again ...

Allowing them free-rein has it's disadvantages too - sometimes they get so comfortable they just stop dead in their tracks and chill, and I get cramps in my hands/wrists/arms holding the position so as not to disturb them!

I'm glad you've made the decision to handle, and to handle correctly - let us know what you find out!
 

Kent

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 12, 2010
Messages
0
Freaky I was just about to post a similar question I'm new to the t club and have a Mexican red knee witch i handle and 2 slings how often should you handle your ts without it being unpleasent for them and is there any signs that they enjoy the handling.
 

captmarga

Arachnobaron
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
340
I've had tarantulas for many years. Mostly just the hentzi (Tx or OK Browns). Wild-caught, slings and mature. I also worked in a chain pet store in college, and we had a local breeder that brought in Ts (Blondis and other assorted, including one cobalt blue at one time).

Fang, my very first T, was a mature female hentzi. She did not mind being handled. She did not flick hairs, she never gave a threat response. If I opened the cage and put my hand in flat (it was a 10-gallon tank) she would walk over to it and walk on or sit on my hand. She would ride on my shoulder, she would sit on my chest if I laid in bed and read a book. She seemed to enjoy being stroked on the abdomen with a paint brush. She would react like a cat - arch up, and stand up on her toe-tips. I handled her frequently, and many people got over their fear of Ts with Fang's very gentle ways.

I handled the spiders that came in the pet store - except when they made it quite clear they should not be touched.

Georgie, my recently departed MM hentzi, was fine with being picked up. If he seemed nervous, or "off" - then no-touchy.

I always try and gauge by the way they react. Daily, minute-to-minute. A paintbrush is a good tool. I place it gently in front of them to see their flight or fight response at that moment. If they aren't up to having anything near them, they will let you know. A gentle stroke with the brush will let you know if they are going to move, crouch, flick - or as in my darling Mae West (Earth tiger) scare the heck out of you with 3/4" flashing fangs!

Not all spiders CAN be handled. Do some seem to enjoy it? Well, not mind, for certain. I always felt Fang was unique, and that I was probably putting more into the "enjoy" than there was, but she and I spend many hours reading books, or watching TV with her quite content to use me as her perch.

Marga
 

Megan 03

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Messages
6
I read the recommended link, which I found very informative. I decided to start off easy so for the first time today I went to pet my avic and she barley flinched as I gently brushed my hand on her back. Hopefully her calm manner will continue as I try to condition her for handling. My biggest concern with her is escape, she seems quite speedy and I wouldnt want her loose.
Thanks for the tips!
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,659
If you cup the T(get it to walk into a large deli cup/ something similar) and then move it to the floor you will face less defensiveness, if you had any/ would have had any.

Then let it crawl out onto the floor and then put a hand in front of it, and let it crawl onto the hand. Some slight light encouragement with a paintbrush, or chopstick can be used to 'herd' it in the direction you want it to go. Once it is on your hand you can lift it a little bit and then let it walk from hand to hand. A. metallica can be a tad skittish, but if it does dash you should have the aforementioned cup handy. Generally they calm down after a few minutes of going from hand to hand. When you are doing the hand to hand though, pass the hand you are switching to under the hand holding the T. Air currents can cause them to startle, so also be sure to watch your exhales, because a burst of air from you exhaling can cause them to startle and dash. We actually turn our heads and breathe out just to be safe.

The biggest thing that I personally noticed about handling was if I was calm, it tended to be calmer, even the skittish ones.(well not all, P. murinus just had to get tired) Practice makes you feel calmer about doing it, so if you are choosing to handle that is a way to make it easier on the T. I have had to stop handling now, so my husband (Mr. Gone) handles every once in awhile, but does not make a concerted effort to do so. If the T feels like coming out during cleanup, or in an enclosure change, he does handle and we don't mind the impromptu runway walk and photoshoot!:D
 
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Megan 03

Arachnopeon
Joined
Oct 2, 2010
Messages
6
PHOTOSHOOTS!! That is one of the reasons I want calm handleable T's. I really enjoy taking pictures, I have taken a few nice ones of my friends T but I wanna 'shoot' my own
 

curiousme

Arachnoprince
Old Timer
Joined
Dec 11, 2008
Messages
1,659
I realized that I didn't say the most important thing to do when handling is to keep it low to the ground to prevent falls/ harm from falls.:)
 
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