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Hair-Shooting Tarantula Gets Revenge on Owner

Written by PETA | January 8, 2010

Pop quiz:


What are urticating hairs?(polls)


If you answered A without checking out the Wiki page, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that you already read about the man in Leeds, England, who was cleaning his tarantula’s tank when he was shot in the face with urticating hairs early last year. The incident left the man with a red, watery, and light-sensitive eye for months, and now doctors are urging people to wear eye protection when handling their spiders.

We’ve got even better advice: Never buy tarantulas or any other exotic animals in the first place. Tarantulas and other animals such as hedgehogs, lizards, and macaws who are purchased as pets suffer from the overwhelming stress of unnatural confinement and loneliness, so it’s no surprise that they often lash out at owners who are usually unaware of their complex needs. Tarantulas are highly intelligent animals who build tented shelters, and they’re compassionate—mother tarantulas are known to starve themselves so that their offspring can eat. They shouldn’t have to spend their lives trapped in tanks.

If you’re looking for an animal companion, visit your local animal shelter—and if you ever run into an eight-legged friend around the house, catch him or her humanely.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • Aviara says:

    Unfortunately, tarantulas do not have the neurotransmitters required to have deep emotions. Yes, mothers of some species will allow their offspring to eat first, but this is mere instinct for species preservation. Females of many species also do not hesitate to consume their mates once breeding is successful. While housing a tarantula improperly can cause some degree of stress, and more importantly will have health implications, it will not make the spider “sad” or “lonely”. Likewise, the tarantula was defending itself, the urticating hairs were not revenge on its owner. This article is a good example of anthropomorphizing an animal, but in know way shows that tarantulas are unsuitable pets. For the right person, tarantulas are actually a great pet, as many species adapt well to captivity.

  • N/A says:

    I must disagree.Tarantulas don’t register “Payback.” It saw a huge animals presence looming over it.Thats like if godzilla suddenly leaned over you.If you had pepper sprayI GUARENTEE you will use it. AnywayI approve of the PETA neauter and spay program.And the anti fur one.But this is one of the policies I disagree on.Many exotic animals can lead wondeful lives with good care.I have 2 lizards and want a scorpion.They don’t mind the space.I handle them and they don’t bite or thrash.

  • Michele says:

    Cooper did you actually click the link with “humanely” in it? Then you would see what PETA is talking about. I have one of these nearby at all times…

  • Cooper says:

    Define “humanely”.

  • roxanne says:

    Karma is great.

  • shannon says:

    I read the article. The guy was an idiot for not transferring the spider to a temporary enclosure while he cleaned the main one. Spidey was startled by the movement didn’t like the glass cleaner being sprayed and acted in defense to get the “threat” to go away. Depending on the species and the individual’s temperament it’s not too hard to transfer them to a clean deli cup with holes punched in the lid as a temporary enclosure until the vivarium is clean. New substrate clean water dish rocks hiding place etc.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    With all due respect I’ve heard about many pet guardians being very attached to their hedgehog companions.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    I did not need to read the article to know what urticating hairs on a tarantula can do. I learned that by being trained by a professional in animal care as part of a veterinary assistant course offered by our local Regional Occupational Program. I also learned how to clean and sanitize veterinary offices and exam rooms prepare operating rooms for surgery wash and sterilize instruments bedding and surgical towels administer medication bathe and groom all types of creatures proper nutrition for many different species of animals and other things too numerous to mention. Anyone thinking about a career with animals should take a course like this they are usually offered free by the local school districts in California.

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    I’ve neverheard of this story at least I don’t think I have but this is the reason why undomesticated animals should be left in the wild.

  • sarah says:

    this was not revenge i used to work with turantulas he probly startled the spider and it in turn flicked its hair at him. turantulas are not social creatures and they will kill there offspring faster then you can say spiderlings. they dont move much so its not like a tank is not enough space for them infact they mostly make there nests and hide.

  • mary w. says:

    “animal companion” the word shows it already a friend not a thrill to live with

  • shannon says:

    I think the important thing here is RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH! Anyone even remotely interested in a tarantula should learn that there are hundreds of species out there and several of them possess these utricating hairs. I have a Chilean Rose Spider and have had her for almost 6 years. I researched for 3 months prior to bringing her into my life. And yes I have to wear gloves when I clean out her vivarium because she leaves hairs when she lays down silk while she prepares to eat. I can say from experience that itching hands are a royal pain. For those who are deadset on a tarantula seek out captivebred specimens from a reputable source that places the spider’s welfare over profit.