Most spiders kept as pets in the UK are tarantulas, although some enthusiasts also keep black widow spiders or other, potentially more aggressive and highly venomous, species. While the latter may require special permits and should be considered by experts only, tarantulas are fairly easy to get hold of. All too often, however, pet spider owners are not well enough informed to really understand the risks of keeping a tarantula. Depending on the particular species, the resulting personal injuries can be serious, even fatal.
Although most of the tarantulas sold as pets are described as non-aggressive, not all of them like being handled. Handling a specimen that hates being touched, or handling a spider too roughly can easily result in even the most placid animal biting. As all tarantulas are venomous to a certain degree, such bites can cause anything from minor irritations to nasty localised swelling, redness and/or pain to lymphangitis (an inflammation of lymphatic channels/vessels) and even death. Anaphylactic or allergic reactions to spider bites may also result in death.
Irritation by tarantula hairs
In addition, some tarantulas can, when feeling threatened, release itch-causing (or urticating) hairs by rubbing their abdomen, where these hairs are located, vigorously. Tiny and barbed, these hairs can work into handlers’ skin and cause irritation and itching. Hairs that make their way into eyes can be particularly painful, as they may cause serious inflammations.
Bacterial, fungal and viral infections
Tarantulas (or, to be more precise, most spiders) are also fairly susceptible to carry/transmit a variety of viral, fungal and bacterial infections. Even if handlers do not actually contract the particular infections, poor hygiene (lack of washing hands after handling spiders) could result in other people at work, school or in public places contracting them.
Spiders are also known to be effective escape artists. Should an unsuspecting visitor suddenly come across a large specimen, their frantic attempts to get away from the animal (especially if they suffer with arachnophobia) could easily lead to injuries by slipping, tripping or falling down stairs.
If you were injured by a spider or an accident caused by a spider, you may be eligible for injury compensation. Personal injury lawyers working for the Accident Advice Helpline can help you to get that compensation. Learn more about claiming for compensation by calling the law firm’s free advice line on 0800 689 0500 or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile.
Date Published: March 12, 2014
Author: David Brown