Are Tarantulas Venomous?
Tarantulas can bite and their bites are venomous.
However, for most species, the toxicity of their venom is much like that of a bee or wasp. It is most likely to cause a nasty local reaction including pain, redness, and swelling.
However, people can have an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to spider bites in the same way that some people react to bee stings, and this reaction can be fatal. Also, there are few species which have a stronger venom that could potentially be fatal or at least make the bite victim quite ill.
Another concern with regards to handling tarantulas is irritation and itching from special hairs found on some new world tarantulas. These tarantulas possess what are called “urticating” (itch-causing) hairs on their abdomens, which they can release by vigorously rubbing their abdomens if threatened. These tiny hairs are barbed and can work their way into the skin and cause itching and irritation.
If these hairs get into the eye they can easily penetrate the eye and cause inflammation. Be very careful not to rub your eyes after doing anything with the spider and its cage until washing your hands and don’t get in too close to look at your spider. If you get some hairs on your hand you can try blotting them with tape and then washing well. Topical cortisone cream might also help with the itching.