Tarantula Attack!

Well, that’s a little misleading. Yes, my salmon pink bird eater kicks hairs like crazy, but he didn’t get me directly. There was a cleaning incident.

How did it happen?

I was cleaning out his cage completely, thinking about moving him into a larger enclosure so I don’t have to get so up close with him every feeding. Having successfully removed him from it, I proceeded to carefully scraped the substrate into a bin using tongs. I didn’t have any gloves to protect me from hairs, so tried to use other utensils.

This worked well until I moved to the sink in order to do some scrubbing. I rinsed the container only for about two minutes before grabbing a new sponge. I keep bits of a larger economy sponge cut up for cleaning T cages. I use them in a disposable manner on my new world enclosures, so I know there were not urticating hairs already hidden in this one.

I filled the little 8 x 8 ExoTerra Breeding Box with water and plunged in with sponge in-hand. Within seconds, I felt a prickling sensation. It was the kind of feeling that I wasn’t sure if I was imagining because I was thinking about hairs still being in the box, or if it was real. The prickling was that mild.

What does it feel like?

After everything was back in its proper place, I still felt a burning/itchy/prickling sensation on my right hand. It really wasn’t bad, but more like I’d just finished peeling a bunch of roasted peppers for green chili.

Over the next day, it remained somewhat irritating off and on, but not unbearable and at a level I could comfortably ignore the mild urge to itch it. The second morning, I woke up to find the areas on my hand were red and one spot had tiny blistering. There was no increase in discomfort, so I continued to ignore the injury and let my body keep working to fix it.

I am lucky to have not received a direct injury from this tarantula. It is considered a pretty bad one to get kicked by. I believe this has to do with the physical size of the hair as the species gets quite large overall. On Arachnoboards, other T keepers have reported that getting kicked by a juvenile tarantula is much less significant than getting kicked at by a mature one. I assume this has to do with both size and quantity of hairs available.

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