Treatments of Tarantula Bites and Related Injuries

Genus Aphonopelma


Treatment of Tarantula Bites and Related Injuries

If you're not a tarantula enthusiast, your risks of suffering a bite by the spider or experiencing the irritating contact of its hairs are minimal. Even if you incur an injury from contact with a tarantula, you will likely suffer no more discomfort than you would from the sting of a bee or contact with stinging nettle. You may still wish to minimize that discomfort.

Treating the Bite

If you suffer a tarantula bite, which, typically, will cause redness, localized pain, swelling and a weal, you should promptly:

  • Wash the site with soap and water to minimize the chance of infection
  • Apply a cool compress or even an ice cube to induce numbness and reduce swelling
  • Apply a paste of powdered meat tenderizer mixed with water to reduce irritation
  • Apply a topical cortisone or Benadryl cream to reduce irritation; and
  • Be alert for symptoms of an infection or allergic reaction (see below).


Treating Hair Contact

If you come into contact with a tarantula's urticating (barbed and mildly venomous) hairs, which can produce intense irritation, especially if they enter your breathing passages or eyes, you should promptly:

  • Be careful not to inhale any of the loose hairs
  • Where possible, apply duct tape or wax to pick up as many loose urticating hairs from your skin as possible
  • Use tweezers to pluck out as many hairs from your skin as possible
  • Apply steroid creams to the affected area for several days
  • Seek medical care if you think you may have inhaled the hairs into your lungs or gotten them into your eyes
  • Be alert for symptoms of an infection or allergic reaction (see below)

You may experience more serious consequences from contact with a tarantula's hairs than from the effects of its bite. According to Dr. Scott D. Fell, writing for the WebMD internet site, you could experience allergic rhinitis (which causes cold-like symptoms such as a runny nose, congestion, sneezing and sinus pressure) should you inhale the hairs into your breathing passages. You could suffer ocular injuries lasting for some time if you get the hairs in your eyes.

Treating Allergic Reactions and Infections

You should seek medical care if you experience allergic reactions such as:

  • Abdominal cramps and nausea
  • Chest tightness and breathing trouble
  • Headache
  • Rash (hives), or
  • Headache, especially if accompanied by anxiety


Cambridge Encyclopedia Tarantula
BIRDSPIDERS.COM, Rick C. West, Arachnologist
Barron's Tarantulas and Other Arachnids, by Samuel D Marshall, Laura Barghusen (Illustrator)
National Wildlife magazine, "Natural Inquiries."
National Health Museum, Access Excellence; Terrific Tarantulas; Robert J. Wolff, Ph.D.
Live Science Internet site, "Tarantulas Spin Silk From Their Feet, Too," Jeanna Bryner
mysticwicks internet site
WebMD internet site
Mayo Clinic

by Jay Sharp

Common Questions About Tarantulas

Are tarantulas poisonous?
How can I keep tarantulas out of my home and yard?

Tarantula Appearance, Anatomy, Habitat and Prey
Health and Medical Disclaimer


More pictures of Tarantulas by Kenton Elliott at Calico. They were photographed on Main Street at Calico Ghost town in California.

Watch video of a Tarantula and a Tarantula Hawk.

Health and Medical Disclaimer

The information provided on this web site and by this web site through content provided by Authors or third party providers, and in other sources to which it refers, is PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease.

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