Q:

Do tarantulas bite?

A:

Quick Answer

Tarantulas can and do bite people. However, they only bite when they feel threatened, and only as a last resort. Most tarantulas in the Americas have barbed hairs that they use defensively before biting. Species from other parts of the world lack these hairs and are more aggressive.

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Full Answer

Tarantulas make threat displays and attempt to flee before biting a human being. Even when they do bite, they often perform "dry" bites, or bites that lack venom. Venom is adapted for subduing prey and is not often used as a defensive measure. While the effects of tarantula venom vary widely by species, those native to the United States do not have venom that is dangerous. Their bite is comparable to a bee sting. Other species, such as the African tarantula Pelinobius muticus, can cause strong muscle cramps and hallucinations.

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