The best tarantulas for beginners are typically the ground dwellers, such as the curly hair tarantula. They tend to move more slowly, which makes any necessary handling easier. The pink toe tarantula is often cited as a good tree-dwelling tarantula to keep, but it’s not a good first tarantula overall. In general, tree-dwelling species are more challenging to care for because they’re quick and agile, making handling difficult.
In general, handling tarantulas is not recommended except when necessary, such as moving the spider out of its enclosure for cleaning. In that case, it’s best to coax the spider into a small container for transport, rather than moving it in your hands.
Tarantulas are generally docile, which is why some people do allow their spiders to walk on their bodies. However, tarantulas will bite if they feel threatened, and their bites are venomous. A few species that usually aren’t kept as pets have venom that can make people extremely sick or kill them. But for most species, the toxicity of their venom is much like that of a bee or wasp. It can cause a nasty local reaction that includes pain, redness, and swelling, though some people can have more serious allergic reactions that require prompt medical care.
Another concern with handling tarantulas is skin irritation from tiny barbed hairs on their abdomens.1 If they feel threatened, the spiders often release these hairs, which can work their way into your skin and cause itching and irritation. Plus, if the hairs get into your eyes, they can cause serious inflammation. So be careful not to rub your eyes while doing anything with the spider and its enclosure, and wash your hands well afterward. Moreover, do not allow children and other pets to come in contact with the tarantula.
While their defense mechanisms somewhat complicate their overall ease of care, tarantulas are still fairly straightforward to maintain. And they’re a good choice for people who want a quiet animal that doesn’t require much attention. Expect to spend a few hours each week on feedings and cleaning. Then, you simply can enjoy observing this unique animal. A tarantula is generally at its most active when it’s hunting live prey. Otherwise, it typically will spend a lot of time in a seemingly restful state.