How far do hairs fly?

Annie3Ponies

Arachnoknight
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Inches? Feet? If using 16 inch forceps to do tank maintenance, do I still need gloves? And how far away is the face safe?

THanks!
 

cacoseraph

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feet, definitely way more than inches

i'd say a big T. blondi can cast a dense cloud for 3-4 feet and i bet 1% of the kicked hairs can get to 6 feet. the density should drop off fairly quickly the farther you get from the cage, though
 

musihuto

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mmmm... yes.
precisely why i'm not getting one of those until i have a seperate room dedicated to arachnids!

further question: if a blondi kicks hair at you, how do you protect against inhaled hairs? drop to the ground and roll away? (seriously) or do you guys wear respirators with fine particulate filters when around these things?

cheers! :D
- munis


feet, definitely way more than inches

i'd say a big T. blondi can cast a dense cloud for 3-4 feet and i bet 1% of the kicked hairs can get to 6 feet. the density should drop off fairly quickly the farther you get from the cage, though
 

Bigboy

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Urticating hairs act a lot like dust. Given disturbance in the air they travel as far as the breeze that acted on them can carry them be it from your hand mucking wround in the tank or an animal sniffing a bit too close. You certainly don't need an entire room for hair control, though that would be a delightful excuse to transform that room you've been eying into your own personal recreation room. As far as exposure goes, you kind of just have to grin and bear it. Benedryl helps with the itching but only time makes it go away. Serious reactions should hint that you may need to see a doctor about something a little more powerful.
 

Cirith Ungol

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16ft forceps should certainly help ;)

I'd say that the hairs arn't really a big problem if you only take it easy arround the T, prepared it (by tank thumping) for when you have to go in (or feed it just before you go in), clean up slowly and carefully and then leave. Just put on some good, long sleeved gloves and a respirator. Make sure to not wave about with your equipment after cleaning and wash the gloves before pulling them off.

My blondi has never even tried kicking. Maybe because I'm just so extremely skilled and godlike at what I do... or (also very very likely) we have hit the right combination of care and temperament ;)
 

Code Monkey

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It's feet but, as mentioned, it's a function of density being negatively correlated with distance from spider butt. I just wear normal latex gloves and use 8" tongs for manipulating stuff. I'll often get a few hairs that manage to land on my upper arms or, worse, the back of my neck, but that's quite tolerable in spite of how sensitive I am to urticating hairs (if I skip the gloves I'll have very swollen fingers for days).

If I had a time machine, I'd make sure I'd been wearing gloves for the past two decades so I wouldn't be so sensitive now.
 

cacoseraph

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If I had a time machine, I'd make sure I'd been wearing gloves for the past two decades so I wouldn't be so sensitive now.
^ i have a feeling i am going to rue this as advice not taken in a ten-year or so
 

Natemass

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maybe im just lucky but i was dealing with a large t.blondi at work and he was kicking hairs at me and my hand was inside the cage and i didnt feel a thing. ive actually had a few ts kick hairs at me and ive never had any irration to the uricating hairs. i think its due to me being made of steel.;P
 

Code Monkey

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maybe im just lucky but i was dealing with a large t.blondi at work and he was kicking hairs at me and my hand was inside the cage and i didnt feel a thing. ive actually had a few ts kick hairs at me and ive never had any irration to the uricating hairs. i think its due to me being made of steel.;P
Sensitivity will increase over time. You may not have much of any reaction now, but keep in mind that the proteins coating these hairs are intended to provoke an intense (immune) response in the haired. Although when I started I at most got a mild itch that faded after a few minutes, after 20+ years of repeated exposure, a single hair from pretty much any species will cause a small welt to rise in my case that lasts hours. A really good hairing to my arms and I'll bust out in a rash that will extend over my shoulders onto my neck and back. If I handle things right out of the tanks and grind some hairs into my fingers they'll be swollen for days.

Needless to say, I never try to irritate any of my new worlders. If I do handle, it is only on sparse occasions and I stick mainly to Avicularia or individuals who have proven themselves to be calm and not unleash a cloud of hairs at the first disturbance.

Anybody who boasts they don't have reactions hasn't been at this long enough ;)
 

ctsoth

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Honestly, my tarantula knowledge is in the "noob" category, but I think it is incorrect to say that sensitivity will increase over time........ I am a beekeeper and some people become extremely resistant to the pain and itching of bee stings over time and others become more and more sensitive to the sting over time... I am not familiar with the specifics of urticating hairs, I just think that it is possible that some people may become more, or less, resistant to the effects of the hair over time.....
 

Cirith Ungol

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Honestly, my tarantula knowledge is in the "noob" category, but I think it is incorrect to say that sensitivity will increase over time........ I am a beekeeper and some people become extremely resistant to the pain and itching of bee stings over time and others become more and more sensitive to the sting over time... I am not familiar with the specifics of urticating hairs, I just think that it is possible that some people may become more, or less, resistant to the effects of the hair over time.....
CM is by far the only one who's had that happen to him. To my knowlage you can basically ask most long time NW keepers on this board and they'll tell you the same thing.
 

rknralf

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I have to agree with CM. When I first started keeping tarantulas years ago, I had little or no reaction to the urticating hairs. Now, I can usually count on days of itching if I get haired. A good example is recently I sent off a couple N. carapoensis and an A. geniculata for breeding. Just the act of packing the spiders left my hands and arms covered with hives. I itched for several days before the reaction subsided.
 

Annie3Ponies

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Thanks everybody, although my tiny collection of 4 have not yet been observed kicking at me, I know its going to happen, and I am going to start wearing gloves.
 

Code Monkey

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Honestly, my tarantula knowledge is in the "noob" category, but I think it is incorrect to say that sensitivity will increase over time........ I am a beekeeper and some people become extremely resistant to the pain and itching of bee stings over time and others become more and more sensitive to the sting over time... I am not familiar with the specifics of urticating hairs, I just think that it is possible that some people may become more, or less, resistant to the effects of the hair over time.....
Venoms are not intended to provoke an immune response, they have functions like causing pain, paralysis, or even cell lysis, but immune responses are a happenstance occurence. The proteins coating urticating hairs have evidently been selected to provoke an immune response. While it would not be impossible that a small percentage of people never become sensitive (just like there are some people who don't react to mosquito bites), the overwhelming majority of people are going to follow right down the biological path the urticating hairs have been selected to provoke.

Let's use our heads: If urticating hairs did not provoke increasingly worse responses, would they have been preserved and so heavily modified throughout tens of millions of years if all they did was cause a tickle unless they wound up in the eyes? They are a biological weapon whose efficacy increases over time. Maybe the young couati eats a couple of dozen tarantulas over his first year, but by the time he reaches his second year his throat nearly swells shut and he stops eating them. Maybe newbie T keepers scoff at long timers and expose themselves to hairs with impunity, but by the time they reach their tenth year in the hobby they're wearing respirators and promising themselves they'll never buy another Brachypelma ;P
 

Code Monkey

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This thread is scary :(
How is it scary? If you keep a cat, you know that many humans will develop allergic reactions to antigens in their saliva and at some point you may have to part ways with your feline friends, either because you can no longer stand to be around them or someone close to you cannot. If you keep venomous snakes, you know you need a genuinely escape proof tank and handling implements that let you eliminate the risk of a bite. If you keep new world tarantulas, you know that you need to minimise exposure to their urticating hairs to avoid painful skin irritation.

It's not scary, it's just what it is.
 

RottweilExpress

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Listing one scary thing doesn't eliminate another, but thank you for trying :eek:
I will surely look for better routines here after. Going "omg that's sooooo cute" when my baby NW's kick hairs at me is not necesserely the best option anymore.

Good thing the latest batch was baboons.
 

dtknow

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What about your eyes then? It seems with hairs flying around like that some are bound to get in your eyes. I hear they can cause serious problems then.
 

Cirith Ungol

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What about your eyes then? It seems with hairs flying around like that some are bound to get in your eyes. I hear they can cause serious problems then.
Yes, always protect your eyes if there is any risk that you might have some hit you there. Though I wouldn't bother during a calm and safe cage cleaning if you work carefully and slowly. But if you have a notorious hair kicker inside that tank while you're working I'd put something on for protection. What I do before a substrate change for example is to spray water on the substrate surface so that hopefully the hairs get bound to it before I start messing arround.

...and they can cause great irritation in the eyes. Don't rub your eyes if you've been hit (wherever you've been hit). Change your clothes, wash up/scrub any affected areas. If you've been hit in the eyes, don't even think of rubbing them. It's up to you if you wanna go see a doctor, but I'd recommend it!
 

Code Monkey

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I've been haired in the eye once. It wasn't pleasant, and it took several days to return completely to normal, but I didn't seek medical help and was fine. My take is that the hair in and of itself is only going to cause some intense inflammation and irritation, the catch is that it creates a situation ripe for a secondary infection. If you did get hairs in your eye and there was any sort of discharge, I'd go see a doctor, otherwise, you might as well pop some Advil, put some Visine it, and tough it out. Of course, I'm the guy who's only gotten stitches once in his life and has numerous scars to testify to that approach :)
 
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