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First Aid for Tarantula Bite

Last updated March 3, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Tarantula Bites are wounds or reactions caused by contact with a tarantula. Tarantulas are large hairy spiders found all over the world.

What is Tarantula Bite?

  • Tarantula Bites are wounds or reactions caused by contact with a tarantula. Tarantulas are large hairy spiders found all over the world
  • There are about a thousand species of tarantula. Some species of tarantulas are kept as exotic pets in homes
  • Tarantulas are not reported to be venomous to humans; however, some tarantulas can inflict a painful bite. The condition may be serious, if a severe allergic reaction develops in the individual

What are the Causes of Tarantula Bite?

Tarantulas generally bite on provocation (while defending their habitat), which may be unintentional or inadvertent, or when they are surprised suddenly. Some species of tarantulas are known to display warning behavior prior to biting humans or larger animals.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Tarantula Bite?

The signs and symptoms of Tarantula Bites are generally mild. However, in case of an allergic reaction, the following may be noted:

  • Skin rash at the bite site; itching sensation
  • Swelling and redness at the bite site
  • Blurred vision
  • Puffiness of face, lips, and eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Decrease in blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Severe shock; collapse

How is First Aid administered for Tarantula Bite?

First Aid tips for Tarantula Bites:

  • Clean the bite site with soap and water
  • Put a wet, cold cloth or an ice pack on the bite site
  • Elevate the limb, if bite is on the extremities
  • Consider taking antihistamine for allergic reactions and aspirin or acetaminophen to relive pain
  • Seek medical advice, before giving any kind of medications to children
  • Seek immediate medical help in case of a severe allergic reaction
  • If possible, take the tarantula (or parts of it) to the healthcare facility for identification

Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions.

Who should administer First Aid for Tarantula Bite?

The individual who is affected, or someone near should administer initial first aid, following which one should seek medical help.

What is the Prognosis of Tarantula Bite?

  • The prognosis is dependent on the type of tarantula involved, location of bite, the severity of reaction, and the overall health of the individual
  • In most cases, the prognosis of Tarantula Bites is typically good with suitable treatment. Individuals with severe allergic reaction may take longer to recover

How can Tarantula Bite be Prevented?

Tarantula Bites may be prevented by:

  • Avoid playing with or handling tarantulas; avoid placing them on your arm, leg, or other parts of the body
  • Avoid being outdoors at night in forested areas
  • Use pest control in areas where the tarantulas are found in large numbers
  • Use insect repellent such as DEET, if necessary
  • Wear clothes that cover the entire body while outdoors in the evenings or at nights
  • Avoid wearing clothes or shoes that have been lying around undisturbed for a while, without first inspecting them thoroughly
  • Do not reach into dark nooks/corners/recesses of the house with your bare hands/foot
  • Do not let clutter accumulate in various parts of the house (such as in the cellar, garage, closets, etc.)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency help number), if the condition is serious or an anaphylactic shock develops in the individual
  • Administer antihistamines, if the individual has an allergic reaction

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 27, 2017
Last updated: March 3, 2018