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My friend has two female Mexican redknee tarantulas.

When he first got them, he handled them on a fairly regular basis, and they were quite docile. However, they are now both more than 10 years old, and it has been several years since he's handled them.

The last time he tried to pick one up, it acted quite defensive, and kicked off some urticating hairs at him.

Is it too late to retrain them to be comfortable being handled?

If not, how should he go about getting them used to being held, without getting bit or sprayed with the defensive hairs?

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It's possible, it'll just take a bit of patience. Tarantulas can't really be tamed like other animals, they're just too primitive. But, you can get them used to your presence, and used to being picked up, which is close enough I think.

The first thing you need to know is how to pick up a tarantula. Since the goal is for the tarantula to be comfortable with you picking it up, it's best to know how to pick it up in ways that won't cause it to be defensive. It's up to you which method you're comfortable with, and which one works best.

If your tarantula is really stressed out by you trying to pick it up right away, you might want to try getting it used to your hand first. Just have your hand present in the terrarium for a few minutes each day, so that it doesn't consider you threatening. then try touching it without it getting defensive. Finally, try picking it up again.

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