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B.vagans safety question from newb.

Discussion in 'Brachypelma' started by Tabitha, Nov 23, 2018.

  1. Tabitha

    Tabitha Member

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    Hi all, so I got a brachypelma vagans, Regan,
    I’m a novice so I’d like to ask about the safety of this species, I’m a little freaked out because I just read for this species the hairs have got barbs that if you get them in your eyes you go blind and you can only get them out via surgery! That’s what the article said anyway.
    So first of all I won’t be handling any of my Ts, and when I come to transfer or remove a molt or do any work with them it will be gloves, goggles and mask, inc tongs, so I’m careful and becoming even more careful, but is this information correct, I realise they all have urticating hairs but does this extreme warning apply to all and for some reason they highlighted this species? And if I make sure I wear safety equipment is there a risk that the hairs can still float around? When I remove a molt I don’t walk with it, I remove and put straight into a pot and put a lid on,
    Or is it so remote I am o.k, I’m going to take no chances though.
    Dave Jay likes this.
  2. Enn49

    Enn49 Moderator Staff Member Premium Member 3 Year Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    Almost all New World Ts have urticating hairs on their abdomens but they vary in the adverse effects they have on us humans, I believe the Lasiodoras are amongst the worst. I have several Brachypelmas and they rarely, almost never, kick hair but you can see them doing it with their back legs so you can take precautions if you catch them, like shutting your eyes.. It is wise to use tongs to remove the moults.
    If you move slowly so you don't startle them you should be safe without full battle armour.
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  3. WolfSpider

    WolfSpider Well-Known Member

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    As an ophthalmologist, I can tell you that there are CASE REPORTS of tarantula or caterpillar hairs making their way into and even through a cornea. But please understand......this is crazy rare. You have an equal chance of your dog licking you and killing you. As Ennie said, modest precaution should protect you. Exuvia cannot “flick” hairs, but the hairs are present, so gloves and a pair of glasses should suffice. Much more common is skin sensitivity to hairs: notorious itchy species are Nhandu, Liasadora, Theraposa, and Trixopelma.

    BTW, I am familiar with at least 300 T keepers. Not a one that I know of has been haired in the eye.
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  4. Tortoise Tom

    Tortoise Tom Well-Known Member

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    I have B. vagans and many others. I handle their molts in my hands and I don't wear glasses gloves or any other equipment when doing maintenance or re-housings. After decades of handling and caring for dozens of Brachypelma, Grammostola, one Avicularia, and more currently several months of working with dozens of different species, including all but one of the ones mentioned by Enn and Wolfspider, I've experienced zero problems with urticating hairs.

    I also know a lot of other tarantula keepers, and I've never heard of anyone else having any urticating hair problems either.

    It seems to me like the article you read greatly exaggerated the potential danger. Rest easy. Enjoy your awesome new spider!
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  5. Nunua

    Nunua Well-Known Member

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    Previous answers tell everything you need to know about your concerns and all I can do is to second them.
    No need to worry about the urticating hairs to cause an accident in daily basis - Pretty much as long as you're not sticking your face next to the tarantula butt and then spook the creature to make it flick hairs, there is nothing to worry about.
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  6. Tabitha

    Tabitha Member

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    Thank you ALL, I knew of course the risk of urticating hairs before purchasing these creatures but when I read the extra info on the vagans I did wonder if I had something more than I should cope with so I am so pleased and further educated which is wonderful, it’s all greatly eased my mind, for the vagans but for all of them, none of mine are showing any flicking behaviour except one time, and I got out of there quickly, I’m taking no chances however lucky I have been previously,
    I wonder why this article I had read specifically mentioned vagans, anyway, your information and advice has greatly completely put my mind at ease, so much so I went and bought myself a cyriocosmus elegans,
    Now I understand more fully the safety aspect or risk assessment I can put my new plans into practise and add another 6-8 vivs in my bedroom,

    Haha an arachnophobe that will now share her bedroom with 18 tarantulas! How did that happen?

    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR COMMENTS, ADVICE AND SUPPORT!

    I’m also adding a picture of Penelope the pentaloris.
    77BA3288-7502-475D-9D46-50774EB9B9A4.jpeg
  7. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member Premium Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    It's best to mist molts with a spray bottle before removing them or transfer them to water as soon as they are retrieved if they have urticating hairs.

    If you've ever dealt with small amounts of fiber glass, you've seen essentially the same thing. If the hairs bother you, sensitivity varies wildly, then using a face mask or goggles is just fine.

    They won't disturb your tarantula more then otherwise it would be without them.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
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  8. Tabitha

    Tabitha Member

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    Thank you @Whitelightning777 yet another excellent tip,so helpful, I wouldn’t of thought to do that, I saw a video on YouTube of a man that picked up a molt with forceps and carefully walked from the spiders enclosure to a table and just walking with this skin made the hairs fly up, he was a long term keeper I think but got caught out, I think it was the theraposa with their super bad hairs but he showed his torso covered in red marks, even though he had been wearing a shirt, the hairs had got through and caused this reaction that he said lasted for weeks so ever since watching that I get my molts straight in a pot then soak.
    Presumably if you were making alterations to an enclosure, without spider in there, just as an extra precaution you could damp down the substrate incase there’s hairs that might float around in there? Maybe no need as you are wearing gloves?. Just a thought.
    Many thanks for the excellent tip.
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  9. Whitelightning777

    Whitelightning777 Well-Known Member Premium Member 1,000+ Post Club

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    I do sometimes lightly mist stuff in my T stirmi enclosure when I'm fixing damage she tends to inflict, same with my L klugi cage.

    Of course, you have to have either a moisture loving or at least one that is indifferent to moisture.

    None of mine have this problem, but some species are highly averse to moisture.
    Dave Jay likes this.