Yes, tarantulas bite. Like all spiders, they bite to kill their prey. So, of course, they will bite you in self-defense and sometimes by accident. Fortunately, if you live in the United States, where the North American species reside, tarantula bites are very low risk.
And if you bought a tarantula as a pet from a reputable pet store in the United States, a bite properly cleaned should not be a hazard to you.
But telling mom tarantula bites are rarer and not dangerous won’t guarantee she’ll let you keep one as a pet. So start out by asking if you can keep a black widow spider or a Brazilian wandering spider in your bedroom.
Tarantula bites: Rare and hard to earn.
Tarantula bites are rare because of their terrifying appearance to most people. Most of us feel an instinctual compulsion to back away from them the second we see them. Touching and handling a tarantula? Yep, nope.
We’d rather play Twister with a porcupine than let a tarantula walk up our arm.
This aversion keeps many people from ever suffering tarantula bites, and it protects the tarantulas too.
Often confused with the huntsman spider, the tarantula however does not deliver any venom when it bites humans.
Why tarantulas bite.
In the wild, tarantulas only bite when they feel threatened. If you encounter one, just back off and leave it alone. Tarantulas do not chase people. You will not be bitten if you do not try to play with it or pick it up.
With a pet tarantula, you are safer than if you had a dog. Having said that, many experts in the field of pet tarantulas recommend they never be held. But, if you insist, grip it between the second and third pair of legs with your forefinger and thumb. If lifted quickly and so that all eight legs come off the surface at the same time, the tarantula will stop moving and offer no resistance.
Pet tarantula owners face one common if minor, hazard. The hairs on a tarantula’s abdomen can cause eye and nasal inflammation and sting rashes. Wash your hands and face after handling a pet tarantula.
Good advice about treating all spider bites. Some spider bites can make you feel or become sick, causing you to sweat or become dizzy. Bites may also become infected or cause a severe allergic reaction in rare cases. Get immediate medical help if you have severe or worrying symptoms after a spider bite.
Spider pages: Learn how to identify and avoid these spiders.