Tarantula Bite Treatment: What To Do If You're Bitten By A Tarantula

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key point

  • There are more than 2,800 species of tarantulas, and they are a large member of the tarantula family.
  • Tarantulas don't usually bite unless they are constantly provoked or cornered.
  • Their bites are usually not dangerous to humans, so don't panic if you are bitten by one of them.
  • An allergic reaction to tarantula venom is possible, the most serious allergic reaction being anaphylaxis. Symptoms vary, but many people will notice a swollen and itchy red bump. If symptoms do not improve, seek medical help.

While most people love the closeness of their pets, it's best to leave wild animals alone. Interacting with wild animals such as tarantulas and snakes carries risks ranging from scratches and bites to contracting animal-borne diseases.

One of the most frequently asked questions about human-wildlife interactions is what to do if you are bitten by an animal. Let's find out everything there is to know about tarantula bites and treatment.

What is a tarantula?

most dangerous spider
Tarantulas are large, hairy members of the tarantula family.

© Cornel Constantin/Shutterstock.com

Tarantulas are large, hairy members of the tarantula family. There are more than 2,800 species of tarantulas. Most of them vary in appearance, but share several common characteristics. For example, most species are nocturnal predators.

Tarantulas rely on their excellent eyesight to locate prey and avoid predators, and their ability to camouflage for hunting and protection. Tarantulas do not spin webs, but prefer to chase prey over short distances or to ambush prey near burrow entrances.

They are usually black, brown, or gray with light orange or tan stripes on their bodies that radiate from the center of their backs. They measure between 0.4 and 1.38 inches (10 and 35 mm).

Tarantulas are considered beneficial because they play an important role in controlling insect and other pest populations.

Where Do Tarantulas Live?

Tarantulas are found all over the world, living in a variety of habitats from coastal to inland ecosystems. These include moist coastal forests, alpine meadows, scrubland, woodlands, suburban gardens and people's homes.

Their habitat depends on what kind of tarantula it is. Some have specific habitat needs, such as mountain herb fields or gravel beds alongside streams. Others are in arid regions, and they live in turrets. Still more are "vagrants," who migrate from one habitat to another.

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With more than 200 species of tarantulas native to North America, it's not uncommon to see tarantulas in many households. The largest tarantula species in the United States is Hogna carolinensis , the state spider of South Carolina.

How Long Do Tarantulas Live?

In general, tarantulas live for 1-2 years, often up to 3 years. Their lifespan varies by tarantula species, sex, and environment. Male tarantulas don't live as long as females, usually around a year, and many die shortly after mating.

The resilience and ability of tarantulas to adapt to their environment helps them survive in the wild, fending off predator threats and food shortages.

In captivity or as pets, tarantulas can live up to 3 years longer than wild tarantulas.

Are tarantulas dangerous?

raging tarantula
Tarantula bites are not considered dangerous to humans.

©Brett Hondow/Shutterstock.com

Tarantulas will not bite unless constantly provoked or cornered. They are very timid creatures and prefer to flee from humans rather than attack. Also, their bites are not considered dangerous to humans, so don't panic if you are bitten by one of them. However, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to tarantula venom. Their fangs can cause swelling and itching.

The venom composition of tarantulas remains unknown, and they are associated with necrotic arachnids, but there is no acceptable documentation. Some studies have shown that tarantula venom does not cause skin necrosis. One of the main reasons for the limited research on tarantula venom is that there is very little exposure to tarantula bites.

However, reports from most parts of the world indicate that tarantula bites result in skin lesions. For example, a well-documented case of a 20-year-old male being bitten by a tarantula demonstrated erythematous skin with ulceration after the bite.

In rare cases, tarantula bites can cause the most severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. This can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Therefore, it is important to observe a victim of a tarantula bite for several hours for signs of an allergic reaction.

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What are the symptoms of a tarantula bite?

tiger tarantula
Tarantula bites are similar to other insect bites.

© HWall/Shutterstock.com

Tarantula bites are very similar to other insect bites. Signs and symptoms vary from person to person, but many people typically notice the appearance of a swollen and itchy red bump. In most cases, unless you see a tarantula biting you, you probably won't be able to determine what bit you.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms after being bitten:

  • headache or dizziness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • sweating
  • fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Muscle spasms or tightness around the bite site
  • itching
  • Weakness or uncontrollable shaking
  • growing lump
  • a red line extending from the bite

If symptoms do not improve, seek medical help immediately.

How to Treat and Treat a Tarantula Bite

If bitten by a tarantula, take the following steps to lessen discomfort:

  • Wash the bite site with soap and warm water.
  • Apply ice packs or cold compresses to the wound to reduce swelling and pain.
  • Take anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling. Antihistamines may also help reduce itching.
  • Avoid scratching the bite, as this may increase the risk of infection.
  • Continue to observe the wound for several hours for any signs of allergies or anaphylaxis.

Contact your doctor if you notice any warning signs of an allergic reaction, such as trouble breathing, tongue swelling, and persistent wound swelling. Your doctor may:

  • If secondary infection is suspected, antibiotics are prescribed.
  • Prescribe stronger antihistamines to relieve itching.
  • In rare cases, a doctor may recommend surgery if the wound is deep and has a severe long-term infection that continues to worsen despite treatment.
  • Tetanus vaccination is recommended for added protection.

control tarantula

According to the pest control experts at Pest Guide, tarantulas are generally not aggressive. This means they will only bite if they get close to your skin or feel threatened. Therefore, the best way to prevent a tarantula bite is to avoid touching it.

If leaving them and keeping them out of sight as much as possible isn't an option, you may need to figure out how to get rid of tarantulas from your property.

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Taking simple precautions can help prevent tarantula bites, especially in areas with the highest tarantula populations: remove clutter and trash from your home and eliminate hiding places. Avoid firewood piles behind the house, and seal all cracks and gaps around pipes, attics, and many other places. Consider removing furniture sofa covers and long curtains that touch the floor, as they may hide tarantulas.

Take the following steps to help control tarantula activity in your home:

  • Vacuum your house every day for at least a week.
  • Always make sure that all screens and weatherstripping elements around windows and doors are secure.
  • Use airtight plastic storage containers to keep tarantulas away.
  • Use sticky traps to monitor tarantula populations in buildings.

Never crush a tarantula; given how fast they are, you could get bitten if you miss it.

Tarantula vs Tarantula

Tarantula vs Tarantula

© AZ-Animals.com

What if the spider that bit you wasn't a tarantula but another species? Could it be a tarantula? Although they are relatively harmless to humans, they are all notoriously dangerous.

It's easy to confuse the two, but the main differences between tarantulas and tarantulas are their size, hair length, and color.

Tarantulas can be up to 1.2 inches long, which is smaller than tarantulas, which can grow up to 2-4 inches. The hair on the body of the tarantula is shorter than that of the tarantula. Tarantulas are light brown, while tarantulas are dark brown, black, and other colors, depending on the species.

Additionally, the eyes of tarantulas are usually larger and more pronounced than those of tarantulas, which are often covered by hair. For more help distinguishing between the two spiders, visit here.


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featured image

Tarantulas will not bite unless constantly provoked or cornered.

© viktori-art/Shutterstock.com

about the author

jeremiah wright

I have seven years of professional experience in the content field, focusing on nature and wildlife. Besides writing, I also enjoy surfing the Internet and listening to music.

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  1. Spider identification, available here: https://spideridentifications.com/wolf-spiders
  2. , available here: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream/handle/10919/97165/ENTO-346.pdf?sequence=1